Team

Sussex Dolphin Project is run by a mixture of staff and volunteers. The team is based at Shoreham Port in Sussex, UK.

Thea Taylor

Thea is the Sussex Dolphin Project Head, overseeing the running of our research, awareness and education programmes. She is a marine biologist who has always had a huge passion for marine mammals, focusing her university dissertation on Harbour porpoises off the South coast.

Thea has been lucky enough to volunteer with marine mammals all over the world, from Scotland to the Falkland Islands, researching the distribution and abundance of cetaceans in the Atlantic. She also gained valuable practical experience working as a research assistant and wildlife guide for a Scottish-based marine wildlife watching company engaging with local universities to monitor the cetacean populations in the Moray Firth, focusing on Bottlenose dolphins.

Thea is particularly interested in ecosystem-level restoration aimed at protecting target species, while also encouraging people to connect with their coastline, which can benefit the health of the individual as well as the health of their environment. 

Lloyd Gofton

Lloyd is our Operations and Partnerships Manager and has twenty five years of business and marketing experience.

He is responsible for developing our partnerships and making sure the project runs smoothly.

Lloyd also manages our communications campaigns, including our social media profiles and is focused on building Sussex Dolphin Project’s community across the county and beyond.

Outside of the project, Lloyd is a Communications Consultant, specialising in conservation, the Communications Coach for Conservation Careers and Operations Director at Blue Planet Society.

James Milton

Originally starting out at the project as an Administration volunteer, James was promoted to Project Support Officer in October 2022. He supports our project Head, Thea, with many responsibilities that crop up in the day-to-day running of the project. He is a training environmental biologist at the University of Sussex who has a real passion for protecting biodiversity within our undisturbed habitats, as well as restoring it as naturally as possible in those areas where humans have caused disturbances.

He has the responsibility of managing our exciting terrestrial rewilding project, Shoreham Port’s Conservation Corridor as well as being on the lookout for funding opportunities. He also orchestrates our quarterly newsletter and helps manage volunteers.

James has a keen interest in scientific research and believes that we should discover as much as possible about an ecosystem and its species before making impactful decisions. He is a butterfly enthusiast who has worked in lobster conservation in Scotland and has biological research experience in using the mapping software, QGIS, and the statistical software, R.

Victoria Hope

Victoria is a Marine Biologist who joined Sussex Dolphin Project in 2021 as our Head of Research.

She has over 10 years of marine conservation experience. Having previously volunteered, interned and worked for various organisations. Most of which have focused on cetacean identification, data processing and analysis. In particuar working on bottlenose dolphin research.

Victoria’s main aim for SDP research is to expand the data base so that more knowledge and insight can be gained on the ecology and behaviour of the cetaceans along the Sussex coast. So far she has created and implemented a Land watch programme alongside Hannah for volunteers and members of the public across Sussex. Increasing the efforts and therefore, data in our citizen science programme.

Her happy place is outdoors and in particular on a boat observing marine mammals, where you will find a big grin on her face.

Hannah Elms

Hannah joined the research team in 2021 but has been involved ad hoc in the project since 2018. With a background in photographic art, Hannah career switched in 2016 and has just gained a degree in ecology and conservation from the University of Brighton. 

A self identified whale and dolphin obsessive, Hannah has spent time monitoring cetaceans in the UK as well as rhinos in South Africa! She completed her final dissertation on Sussex bottlenose dolphins mapping hotspots and dolphin abundance along the coast. She was also very fortunate to experience an impromptu bottlenose dolphin sighting whilst walking along Hove prom one morning! 

With SDP, Hannah wants to continue her research identifying what influences Sussex cetaceans and  what drives them to our coast. She understands the importance of having a rich dataset and is a champion for the value of citizen science in aiding research, especially with such a large study area to cover! One of her many favourite aspects of being a part of SDP is championing the citizen science programme, training keen volunteers to collect data and guiding on the Seven Sisters boat trips.

Billy Jenner-Murphy

Billy is our Lead Wildlife Guide and another of our marine biologists, having completed his degree in 2017. Post studying he spent time abroad volunteering on various conservation programmes around Australia and Asia. In the summer of 2020, he became a regular speaker on our weekly Sunset Cruises and has since become a certified marine guide under the World Cetacean Alliance’s official training programme. 

Billy particularly enjoys engaging with the public to raise the awareness of the positive work happening in marine conservation, as well as encouraging people to lend a helping hand to our project. He usually saves his ramblings for the boat, but you can also find him on beach cleans, Bio Blitzes and other SDP events.

Billy was captivated by nature from a young age, and this passion continues to burn bright. When he is not wading through rockpools, he is walking in the countryside with his camera, capturing birds and mammals in their natural habitat through his lens.

Ellie Webb

Ellie volunteers as the Partnerships Officer at Sussex Dolphin Project, working with our Operations and Partnerships Manager to explore opportunities to grow the project’s partnerships portfolio and manage existing relationships with local businesses, allowing us to further fund our vital work. She is an experienced fundraiser, and outside of her role at Sussex Dolphin Project she is a Partnerships Manager for a national charity.

Ellie has had a passion for marine conservation from a young age, having been lucky to spend lots of time by the coast and out on boats growing up. When she’s not working she’s using any opportunity to be outside, usually walking in the countryside or swimming in the sea. 

David Gill

David can recall seeing Harbour Porpoises off Lancing beach when he was young. This started his lifetime interest in cetaceans. His journey has taken him around the World meeting whales and dolphins all along the way – from Scotland in the north to New Zealand in the south. Every time he encounters these wonderful creatures he is filled with awe.

David recently trained as both a Marine Mammal surveyor and a Cruise Conservationist. This ensures he can continue to travel and talk to guests about the cetaceans and the wildlife they will see on their voyages.

When David discovered the work of Sussex Dolphin Project he wanted to use his skills and expertise to support our work. His role as the Education and Outreach officer focuses on visiting schools and colleges, talking to interest groups and raising awareness about the Project.

As a former teacher, company director and wildlife education officer David wants to inspire his local community to learn more about what’s going on just off their beaches – so they too can experience that same awe!

Harry Eckman

Harry is the CEO of the World Cetacean Alliance.

He is an international animal welfare specialist with over 20 years’ experience. As the Co-founder of Change For Animals Foundation (CFAF) and a consultant for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Harry has worked with hundreds of locally based animal protection organisations around the world. His work has included providing guidance and support on strategic thinking, planning and capacity development for animal welfare NGOs; stray dog and cat population management; campaigning to end the dog and cat meat trades; lobbying to end wildlife in captivity and the illegal wildlife trade; incorporating human behaviour change concepts into animal welfare and management programs; community and stakeholder engagement; and improving welfare standards in shelters and veterinary facilities. 

Today, Harry is CEO of the World Cetacean Alliance, the world’s largest marine conservation partnership. He has a lifelong passion for the ocean and its protection. Protecting not only cetaceans, but their environments, the communities they live alongside, and the places they all call home. Harry was born in London but lives in Portugal with his wife, 3 cats and a dog. 

Steff Eaton

Steff is the Chief Operations Officer at the World Cetacean Alliance.

She spent her childhood on the beaches in Brighton and Hove before moving to London for 10 years in her twenties to build on her experience as an office manager.

After 10 years and a successful move into higher management for business operations, she decided to return to the seaside and moved back to Sussex to start a family with her long term partner, Ronny.

In 2020 Steff joined the World Cetacean Alliance as the Chief Operations Officer and spends her days working across the organisation, building the infrastructure, dealing with all the finances; managing the international partnership and supporting our project leads with their exciting plans.