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 Managing Director at Sussex Dolphin Project, 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 a Director at Sussex Dolphin Project and has 25 years of business and marketing experience.
He joined the project as a communications volunteer in early 2020 and is now responsible for our operations and communications, helping to drive awareness of the cetaceans we research and the range of work we carry out in and around the Eastern English Channel.
Outside of Sussex Dolphin Project, Lloyd is a Conservation Consultant, the Communications Coach for Conservation Careers and Operations Director at Blue Planet Society.

Ellie Webb

Ellie is a Director at Sussex Dolphin Project and leads our partnerships programme. She explores opportunities to grow the project’s partnerships portfolio and manages existing relationships with local businesses, allowing us to further fund our vital work. Ellie 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. 

James Milton

Originally starting out at the project as an Administration volunteer, James was promoted to Project Support Officer in October 2022. He supports the Managing Director, 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 heading up the education part of the project. 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 is the Vice-Chair of the Sussex branch of Butterfly Conservation. In November 2023, James was very honoured to have been chosen for the David Streeter Wildlife Champions Award, presented by Sussex Wildlife Trust, for “outstanding contributions towards the wildlife and environment of Sussex”.

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 particular working on bottlenose dolphin research.

Victoria’s main aim for SDP research is to expand the database 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.

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!