Zuzana Buřivalová, Ph.D.

DR. ZUZANA BUŘIVALOVÁ is a conservation scientist with a goal to find ways to equitably protect tropical forest biodiversity. An Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she is affiliated with the department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology, The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE). As Principal Investigator of the Sound Forest Lab, Zuzana leads a group of researchers using soundscapes – all the sounds that can be heard in a landscape – to understand the health of rainforests. The Sound Forest Lab collaborates with NGOs, governments and local communities to design research projects that can help on the ground. 

In her research, Zuzana looks for ways to protect biodiversity in tropical forests, both forests that are used by people, for example for logging, and forests set aside for conservation, from national parks to small community-protected areas. She uses new technologies, such as soundscape analysis, where traditional field methods aren’t enough. Zuzana also collaborates with the environmental news platform Mongabay on understanding which conservation strategies succeed and fail in tropical forests. 

Zuzana originally is from a small village in the Czech Republic’s Moravian Karst. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at Oxford University, and her MSc in Environmental Science at the University of Geneva. She received her PhD from the ETH Zurich in Switzerland and then worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton University. Zuzana feels privileged to have worked in the tropical forests of Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Borneo and Gabon, and she takes every opportunity to share her love for rainforests and their soundscapes, such as through an illustrated soundscape e-book for children. Zuzana is the recipient of the 2023 University of Wisconsin–Madison Bassam Z. Shakhashiri Public Science Engagement Award and Nature Journal’s 2021 Nature Research Award for Driving Global Impact.

Emma Camp, Ph.D.

DR. EMMA CAMP is a marine biogeochemist, corals expert and Team Leader of the Future Reefs Program within the Climate Change Cluster at the University of Technology Sydney, where she is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow. The Future Reefs Program unites coral ecophysiologists, molecular scientists, biologists, and analytical chemists to study how environmental change shapes coral fitness and survival. Emma’s research ranges from organism scale molecular signatures to broad scale ecological interactions, and specializes in advancing technical solutions to support innovative scientific capacity to help preserve and re-build “healthy reefs.” She co-founded the Coral Nurture Program, a new approach for caring for the Great Barrier Reef initiated by a partnership between tourism and science.

Since 2013, Emma has received or been shortlisted for 30 awards, including the 2022 Lewis Pugh Foundation Coral Champions List, the 2021 Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher, 2020 Next Generation Leader by Time Magazine, 2020 L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Fellow, 2020 STEM Women’s Game Changer as well as Max Day Award from the Australian Academy of Science, and 2019 Rolex Awards Associate Laureate and Tall Poppy Science Award from the Australian Institute of Policy & Science. In 2018, she was named a Young Leader for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. A National Geographic Explorer, Emma is passionate about the involvement of women and girls in STEM and wants to engage society with research so that more people can become part of the solutions required to protect the planet. 

Emma completed her Ph.D. in marine biology at the University of Essex, England, her BSc in environmental science and chemistry at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, USA, and her MSc in environmental management and business at Sheffield Hallam University, at the end of which she set up her own Environmental Consultancy Company, GAIA Environmental Services LTD, specializing in impact assessment and Environmental Management Plans.

Alifa Bintha Haque, Ph.D.

ALIFA BINTHA HAQUE is a marine biologist focusing on conserving sharks and rays in the global south context. Alifa earned her Ph. the Nature-based Solutions Initiative in the Department of Biology, Oxford, with the support of a Bangabandhu Scholarship. Her research, “Towards a socially just sustainable fishery preserving sharks and rays in the Bay of Bengal,” aims to prepare a sustainability model (replicable for similar contexts in the Global South) for threatened species of sharks and rays in close conjunction with the fishing communities. It places a locally-driven, bottom-up approach from academic literature to action, a narrative absent in the current management regimes. By creating a platform for research-based conservation actions that emphasize collaborating and building trusted relationships with local fishers and traders, she has empowered them to innovate and create sustainable approaches to conserve threatened sharks and rays in the Bay of Bengal. 

Through this platform, Alifa and her team have established the largest regional dataset on diversity, fisheries and trade, discovering highly threatened species of sharks and rays, including 15 new records. She also initiated a coast-wide campaign debunking the cancer-curing myth, reaching more than 6000 fishers and providing live-release training in group meetings using audio-visuals, culturally-appropriate murals, printed materials and time. She is developing a pilot for technological innovation, “FishSafe,” an audio-visual device to record by-catch events at sea that will also act as a non-monetary and sustainable incentive to initiate an organized live release and self-regulated catch monitoring. 

Alifa has a BS in Zoology and MS in Fisheries from the Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. As a Commonwealth Scholar, she pursued an MSc in Biodiversity Conservation and Management at the School of Geography & the Environment at the University of Oxford, where she is now a Ph.D. candidate. An Edge of Existence Fellow and National Geographic Explorer, Alifa was selected for the 2023 cohort of the Edinburgh Ocean Leaders Programme and awarded the best student presentation at Sharks International 2022 for her talk, “Can fishers be the conservation heroes we need them to be?”

Cristina Mittermeier

CRISTINA GOETTSCH MITTERMEIER (“Mitty”) is a marine biologist, storyteller and pioneer in the field of conservation photography. Hailed as one of the most influential conservation photographers of our time, she has dedicated her entire life to protecting the world’s oceans and wild places – inspiring millions of people to do the same. In 2005 Cristina founded the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) to provide a platform for photographers working on environmental issues, coining the phrase “conservation photography.” In 2014 she co-founded SeaLegacy, a non-profit organization using strategic communications at the intersection of art, science, and conservation to protect and rewild the ocean for the benefit of biodiversity, humanity, and climate within our lifetimes.  

Cristina’s work has been published in hundreds of magazines and media outlets, including National Geographic, TIME, CNN, McLean’s, The Men’s Journal and O. Her Limited Edition Prints are in private galleries and public exhibitions around the world. She is a Sony Artisan of Imagery and aligns with Rolex’s Perpetual Planet initiative on collaborative efforts to preserve the natural World. In 2021 she was featured in Welcome to Earth on Disney+.  She has been honored with many awards, including the Smithsonian Conservation Photographer of the Year Award, the Humanity Content Creator Award from HIPA, and the Imaging Award for Photographers who Give Back. In 2021, she received the Seattle Aquarium’s Sylvia Earle Medal and Travel + Leisure’s Global Vision Award and was named one of the 100 Latinos Most Committed to Climate Action. Along with her partner, Paul Nicklen, she was named one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year in 2018.

Cristina received a degree in Biochemical Engineering in Marine Sciences from the ITESM University in Mexico. She attended the Fine Art Photography program at the Corcoran College for the Arts in Washington, D.C.  In 2022, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, honoris causa, from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.  Cristina is a committed impact investor and an influential voice in bridging financial returns while creating a positive social and environmental impact. She has three adult children, John, Michael and Juliana, all of whom are passionate about nature.

Dawn J. Wright, Ph.D., WINGS Lifetime Achievement Award

DR. DAWN J. WRIGHT, a specialist in marine geology, geography and oceanography, is a leader in the development of data science for the oceans. Her research interests include geospatial data science; seafloor mapping, coastal/ocean informatics, and environmental education. She is Chief Scientist of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), where she was appointed in 2011 after 17 years as a professor of geography and oceanography at Oregon State University.

Called “Deep Sea Dawn” for her numerous trips to the bottom of the ocean and over 20 oceanographic research expeditions, she has carried out fieldwork in some of the most geologically active regions of the planet, including the East Pacific Rise, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Juan de Fuca Ridge, the Tonga Trench, and volcanoes under the Japan Sea and the Indian Ocean. In 1991, she became the first female of African descent to dive to the ocean floor in the deep submersible, Alvin. On July 12, 2022 she became the first person of African descent to dive to Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth, and to successfully operate a portable side scan sonar at full-ocean depth. This was accomplished in the deep submersible, Limiting Factor in collaboration with Victor Vescovo and his Caladan Oceanic team. 

Dawn has authored or co-authored more than 180 articles and 13 books on marine GIS, hydrothermal activity and tectonics of mid-ocean ridges, and coastal/ocean informatics. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Her recent advisory board service includes the Science Advisory Boards of NOAA, the EPA, and the Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition, the Science Advisory Council of Conservation International, the National Academy of Sciences Ocean Studies Board, the Science Advisory Board of COMPASS Science Communication, Inc., the EO Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, and many journal editorial boards. She maintains an affiliated faculty appointment within the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. 

Dawn holds an Individual Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Physical Geography and Marine Geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an M.S. in Oceanography from Texas A&M University, and a B.S. cum laude in Geology from Wheaton College (Illinois). Her many interests include road cycling, mountain biking, apricot green tea gummy bears, 18th-century pirates, her puppy Riley, and SpongeBob SquarePants.




Women of Discovery Awards Gala

Date: Thursday, October 12, 2023

Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Location: 583 Park Avenue
New York City

WINGS Global Explorers Forum

Date: Friday, October 13, 2023 More details found here

Time: 10:30am – 6:00pm

Location: Scandinavia House, 83 Park Avenue, New York City