The DIVING talks 2021 group of speakers will bring to the table exciting and new content to share and discuss with the international diving community. This list will be updated periodically.
Ahmed Gabr has an extraordinary story that no one else on this ocean planet can tell. It is a story that deepens the understanding of man in the underwater world and how he explored that unknown deepest space.
On 18 September 2014, Ahmed Gabr marked the diving history when he used open-circuit scuba to dive to the depth of 332.35 metres in record time, 12 minutes! Solo, in the pitch-dark cold water and crushing pressure, he met the challenge, but the celebrations would have to wait; surviving the 13+ hour journey back up to our world involved following his strict decompression schedule of graduated stops and breathing from 92 mixed gas tanks.
The rest of us mere mortals watching were left astonished and wondering… “How did he do it? Why did he do it?” and “what type of person does this?” Authenticity is what makes Ahmed Gabr exceptional, and backed by his training as a Special Forces Officer, Combat Diver and Technical Diving Instructor, he was already a strong performer in individual and team contexts. Ahmed understood that this high-stakes mission required an effective team that would harness the expertise and talents of diverse people, generating the synergy necessary to challenge the previous long-standing record achieved in 2005.
I am a deep-sea ecologist, specialized on benthic ecology.
I have a PhD in Ecology and Biosystematics from the Universidade de Lisboa since 2001. At present, I am a senior scientist at OKEANOS- University of Azores. In 2003 I won the prize IMAR – Luiz Saldanha, and in 2006 I was a “scientist inside a newspaper” at the Daily newspaper “Jornal Público”. In 2016, I was one of the 100 women science in Portugal. In the same, here I had the honor to give the Ciencia Viva Christmas talk about the deep-sea at the D. Maria National Theater.
Since 1993, I study the deep-sea. I participated in more than 25 expeditions, and acted as chief scientists on several ones. I dove inside submersibles up to 2300 meters and worked with different types of submarine robots. I managed many scientific projects related to hydrothermal vent ecosystems, trophic ecology of deep-sea systems, benthic ecology, biodiversity, and conservation.
I am part of the Portuguese science council of Natural Science from the Portuguese Science Foundation. I am an expert of the Deep sea ecology group from ICES and recently was appointed Commissioner at the Sargasso Sea Commission.
Ana’s desire to become a marine biologist stemmed from wanting not only to learn more about the Ocean, but also to work towards its conservation. As she grew, so did that passion, and in 2010 she traveled to Mozambique to participate in a whale shark and manta ray conservation project. It was there that she had her first encounter with a manta ray and its curiosity immediately intrigued her.
In 2011, Ana moved to the Azores Islands to start her MSc degree. Once there, she realised that this was one of the few places in the world where Sicklefin devilrays (Mobula tarapacana) gather in large groups. These unique aggregations made the Azores the perfect place to study them and so she founded Manta Catalog Azores. This project has allowed her to collect photo-ID and occurrence data on Mobulid rays for the past nine years, with the precious help of divers and dive operators as citizen scientists. The results of this project will allow us to learn more about the mobulid species visiting the Azores every summer and ultimately assist in the design of effective conservation plans aimed at protecting their populations in this remote region of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Diver since 1999, specialized in underwater photography and video, has won several national and international awards.
The taste for deep dives, unexplored wrecks and caves, lead Armando Ribeiro to create the 1st team of technical divers that use closed circuit rebreathers (CCR) in Portugal. Created in 2004/2005 the In-Silence Dive Team has as main objectives the development of CCR diving, the exploration off deep shipwrecks and caves on the Portuguese coast and the participation in international diving expeditions. Armando quickly became one of the first serious advanced expedition divers in Portugal, taking part in numerous adventures with some of the world’s best technical divers.
His most recent project aims to explore, obtain cave’s cartography and capture in video the biggest springs in Portugal. This exciting adventure was recently renewed by the discovery of new galleries that open the door to new challenges due to the greater depts and distance that can be achieved. The expeditions and projects impact, through the publication of articles in diving magazines and the national and international public projection of their videos, had a strong recognition in the national diving community, being already a reference in all expos and events related to technical diving.
Belen is a GUE instructor since 2017, and a passionate technical and cave diver for more than 10 years. Her passions are exploring the underwater world, especially the rarest and remote sites, together with the documentation in all aspects: imagery, survey, topography and mapping and science. Belen has dived all around the world, in all five continents, including caving above the arctic circle.
She is also a member of GUE Training council, shaping the future of technical and cave diving, Belen contributes the several diving publications in Spain and the USA, and belongs to several cave diving exploration groups.
When she is not underwater, she spends her time designing launch vehicles, satellites and underwater communications systems.
Prof. Costantino Balestra (Ph.D.) studied neurophysiology of fatigue then started studies on environmental physiology issues. He teaches physiology, biostatistics, research methodology, as well as other subjects. He is the Director of the Integrative Physiology Laboratory and a full-time professor at the Haute Ecole Bruxelles-Brabant (Brussels) and Université Libre de Bruxelles. He is VP of DAN Europe for research and education, past President of the European Underwater and Baromedical Society.
A professional diver since 1994, Cristina is an ocean and cave explorer, a shark expert, a speaker, writer and conservationist. Among her qualifications, she is a Course Director, an advanced cave diving instructor and a mixed gas and rebreather instructor and she shares her time between teaching at professional and technical levels, working with sharks, exploring and mapping underwater cave systems and education.
Cristina is known for her special relationship with her local sharks and her passion for promoting the protection of all sharks in the world.
Her current projects include shark photogrammetry and identification of sharks’ mating and birth areas, creating interactive and 3D cave maps, photography and videography of these uncharted areas in the Bahamas.
In 2019 she founded the nonprofit People of the Water www.pownonprofit.org organized to widen the conduction and distribution of training, education, research, and studies relating to water, ocean and environmental issues, affecting both the people and the animals of said environments. After twenty-sevens years in this career she is still diving and pushing the boundaries of our knowledge. Cristina has been inducted in the Women Divers Hall of Fame, the Explorers Club, the Ocean Artists Society and she is a Platinum Pro 5000 recipient.
Dr. Edie Widder is a MacArthur Fellow, a deep-sea explorer and conservationist. A world authority on marine bioluminescence, Edie has racked up hundreds of dives in deep diving submersibles both as passenger and pilot. She has helped develop new tools for deep sea exploration that have produced many observations of animals and behaviours never seen before, including the first video of a giant squid filmed in its natural habitat (filmed off Japan in 2012) and in July 2019 the first video of a live giant squid filmed in US waters, less than 100 miles south of New Orleans. She has also spearheaded the development of water quality monitoring systems and new methods of mapping pollution. In 2005, in order to help protect the ocean she loves, she helped found the Ocean Research & Conservation Association. ORCA is dedicated to the study and protection of marine ecosystems and the species they sustain through development of innovative technologies, science-based conservation action and public education. In 2021 Random House published Edie’s book, Below the Edge of Darkness. A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea, which the New York Times book review described as a “thrilling blend of hard science and high adventure”.
From December 2018, I’m the Vice-Rector for research and internationalization at Lusofona University in Lisbon.
I’m a Professor of Ecology and Marine Biology. I am mostly a marine biologist with 25 years of professional experience. I have obtained in September 2001 my PhD in biology from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Since then, I have coordinated or worked on several international research projects in marine biology. I’ve also authored or co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed papers, mostly on marine biology issues.
In June 2011, I finished my duties as an advisor to the former Portuguese Secretary of State for Humberto Delgado Rosa’s Environment. I was a member of his cabinet since May 2009, where I was responsible for marine, fisheries and conservation issues.
In 2012, I also became a SCUBA diver instructor.
From 2013 to 2017, I was a programme manager at Gulbenkian Oceans Initiative (GOI), a five-year program of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation with a vision of protection, conservation and good management of the oceans and marine ecosystems towards an ecosystem services’ approach.
Immi Wallin is an ichtyonomist and General Manager of underwater operations company SubZone Oy. She has over 30 years’ experience of scientific technical diving and underwater technology. She is the skipper of SubZone’s own research vessel.
Immi is an ROV pilot and sonar technician as well as technical diving instructor trainer with over twenty years of experience. She has extensive experience of developing wreck documentation techniques and underwater habitat survey techniques.
She has conducted numerous expeditions within the Baltic Sea that have resulted in discovery of totally pristine shipwrecks that she has gone on to documented and identified alongside her skilled and dedicated team.
These include man-of-war and trader wrecks from 18th and 19th century, submarines and other warships from the WW1 and WW2 eras as well as other wrecks with incredible historic backgrounds.
Growing up on the shores of Great Lakes fostered a natural curiosity of the unexplored for Jeff Lindsay; learning to dive in 1990 lead to a lifelong desire to visit and photograph the unknown and forgotten.
With an almost limitless number of shipwrecks nearby, a natural progression into technical diving was required for the more remote and deeper locations; photography was a way for him to bring the experience to individuals who were not able to visit these challenging sites.
He’s been invited on numerous expeditions as team photographer and his biggest thrill is visiting a wreck or cave and capturing some, small part of its essence in a photograph
JILL HEINERTH is an underwater explorer, writer, photographer, speaker, and filmmaker.
A pioneer of technical rebreather diving, she has led expeditions into icebergs in Antarctica, volcanic lava tubes and submerged caves around the world.
Jill is the first Explorer-in-Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Her book, INTO THE PLANET, has been lauded by the Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, and the New York Times. Jill is a Fellow of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, Underwater Academy of Arts and Sciences, Women Divers Hall of Fame, National Speleological Society, and the Explorers Club which awarded her with the William Beebe Award.
João Neves started cave diving in 1983 (yes, a true dinosaur) and since then has been exploring caves in Portugal, Spain, France, Yucatan (Mexico), and a bit around the globe wherever caves exist. He is the leading explorer of Almonda Spring (17 km) still ongoing, Dueça Spring system (7km), Anços Spring system (-85m) and Ansião Spring (ongoing) and Quebrada Spring to name just a few. He was cofounder of the Portuguese Caving Federation.
Having also a soft spot for underwater archeology, he participated in a few historical wreck excavations and in archeological cave sites, with a few notorious findings.
Mix gas diver since 1987, he was a early laucher of mixgas diving in Portugal and Europe. He has been an Instructor Trainer with TDI and Portugal RO since 1996 to this day.
He is also a trained commercial diver, ORV pilot and hyperbaric chambre operator. In 2000, combining his cave diving skills and comercial diving knowledge, he launched and led the very successful comercial diving intervention “Operação Metro”, following the accident that flooded several kilometres of the subway tunnels under the Tagus river, allowing to identify the rescue and rebuild actions that would ultimately recover the tunnels.
For the last seven years he has been developing ROV and CCR technologies. He is an active collaborator on the development of the Poseidon CCR rebreathers. He has recently promoted a EU funded R&D project on an innovative bailout rebreather that he will be presenting at the DiveTalks event.
José Pinto is a researcher and assistant professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto. He has a degree in Computer Science from the Faculty of Sciences and a Master in Computer Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering (both from the University of Porto).
He started investigating underwater robotics in 2005 when he joined FEUP’s Laboratory of Underwater Systems and Technology (LSTS). At LSTS, he helped develop all the software to support autonomous underwater and aerial vehicles.
He has extensive experience in operating aerial, surface and submarine robots. At the moment, he is responsible for onboard autonomy and coordination of multiple robots.
Mark Powell is one of the UK’s best known technical diving instructors. He has been involved in diving since the mid 1980s, has been teaching since 1993, and holds the rank of technical instructor-trainer for TDI.
Mark’s true passion is wreck diving and it is his exploration of deeper wrecks that led him into technical diving. Mark has served on the National Executive of the SAA, as well as being its technical diving advisor. He currently represents TDI/SDI at British Safety Diving group meetings and he is also a member of the BSI committees defining standards for diver training and diving equipment.
He also writes a monthly column in Sports Diver, which covers all aspects of technical diving. Mark is the author of the best-selling book Deco for Divers, which allows the average diver to fully understand the principles behind this fascinating and critical aspect of diving.
First-Lieutenant Michael Santos has a degree in Physical Education and Sport from the Setúbal Polytechnic Institute and a Postgraduation in Sport Management.
Joined the Navy on a contract basis in September 2000, having attended the Basic Officers Course at the Naval School. In September 2009, having attended the Naval School Complementary Course for Officers, he became part of the Navy permanent staff. In September 2019, he participated in the promotion course to Senior Officer at the Military Institute University.
For about five years, he has been Head of the Maritime Rescue Service of the Instituto de Socorro a Náufragos, where generally coordinates the Lifeboat Stations and the Maritime Rescue Device.
He is responsible for elaborating technical guidelines regarding the lifeboat crew operation, preparing studies and defining technical/ operational requirements related to the rescue equipment and means of rescue and, carrying out training and evaluation and training of the lifeboat crew.
He counts with three Medals of Naval Cross, Medal of Exemplary Behavior Grade Copper and several praises at the military level.
Natalie L Gibb’s passion in life is underwater cave exploration and conservation.
With her exploration partner Vincent Rouquette-Cathala, she has led her team to discover over 20 previously unknown cave systems in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, mapping more than 80 kilometers of cave passageways.
She is a public speaker, author, photographer and videographer, and a member of the Woman Diver’s Hall of Fame. Natalie is co-owner of Under the Jungle, a cave diver training center in Mexico, and a TDI Full Cave Instructor.
A full-time cameraman since 2015, Nuno Sá was part of the team of the BBC series – Blue Planet 2, having been awarded in 2018 with a BAFTA award as well as a Panda award for your participation in this series. The following year he was the main cameraman for the documentary of the National Geographic Wild channel “Europe’s Wild Islands”, and on several high profile documentaries such as BBC “Animal with cameras”, NHK “Islands of the Atlantic” and several others.
Between 2017 and 2019 he divided his time between participation as an underwater cinematographer for major international productions and the production of the first major series about the Sea of Portugal, the series “Sea, the last frontier” in partnership with Oceanário de Lisboa and Fundação Oceano Azul, that is currently being show on chanels RTP1 and RTP3.
Nuno Sá is also part of the Mares ambassador team.
Born in 1965, Oscar is a Medical Director at the Hyperbaric Medical Unit in Hospital Pedro Hispano.
Diving since 1983, more than 5000 lodged dives.
Paulo Costa took his scuba diving course in 1995 and started doing is own research on naval disasters shortly after, when he realized hardly anyone knew how to answer his questions about shipwrecks and their identities.
As a History graduate, he has since then focused his research on contemporary shipwrecks in Portuguese waters, mainly from the Age of Steam and both world wars. He is interested in the ships’ identification and history and how shipwrecks, as underwater cultural heritage, relate with memory, local and oral history, and the communities of users of the sea, like fishermen and scuba divers. He firmly believes that the research for shipwrecks, its study, preservation and dissemination of results must engage the local communities.
Certified as an open circuit trimix diver his interest in iron and steel shipwrecks has led him to dive in places like Scapa Flow, Gibraltar, Malta or Cyprus, among other spots.
At Diving talks 2021 he will present the result of his research about the first ship to sink in Portuguese waters due to the collision with a German mine in 1916, a shipwreck that today lays at the Lisbon’s harbour entrance, 80 meters deep.
Peter Girguis is a Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He studies the physiological and biochemical adaptations of marine animals and microbes to their environment, their role in biogeochemical cycles, and their responses to a changing world. He is especially interested in animal-microbial partnerships, from the microbe-animal symbioses at hydrothermal vents to the gut microbiomes of baleen whales. He also develops novel “open-access” instruments such as underwater mass spectrometers and microbial samplers, with the goal of enabling all stakeholders to have access to such tools.
Professor Girguis received his B.Sc. from UCLA, his Ph.D. from the UC Santa Barbara, and was a Packard Postdoctoral Fellow at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. He joined the Harvard University faculty in 2005. He was a Distinguished Lecturer for the NSF RIDGE2000 initiative, a Merck Co. Innovative Research Awardee, and chair of the National Deep Submergence Science Committee. He serves on several notable boards, including the Ocean Exploration Trust and the Schmidt Ocean Institute. He has authored or co-authored over 90 publications, and his honors include the 2007 and 2011 Lindbergh Foundation Award for Science & Sustainability, the 2018 Lowell Thomas Award for groundbreaking advances in Marine Science and Technology, and the 2020 Petra Shattuck Award for Distinguished Teaching. He was recently named a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator for his research on marine symbioses.
Phil Short has been a professional diver for 30 years logging over 6000 dives with 3500+ hours on CCR.
Phil started as a dry caver and learnt to dive to further this pursuit becoming a British Cave Diving Group Qualified Diver. Phil’s passion is caves and specifically cave exploration, the highlight of which to date has been his part as a lead diver on Bill Stone’s USDCT project to the J2 Cave in Southern Mexico where he spent 45 days underground.
Professionally Phil works as DSO & DOM for several Institutions on Archeological Scientific Diving Projects including the B-24 Tulsamerican WWII Bomber, The Antikythera Mechanism Shipwreck and the 1495 Danish Kings ship Gribshunden.”
Phil is a Fellow of the Explorers Club and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS).
First Lieutenant Daniel Berardinelli joined the Navy in 2006, having a Master’s Degree in Naval Military Sciences at Escola Naval from 2006 to 2012. After finishing his Master’s, he performed the duties of a navigation officer and operations officer aboard Portuguese Navy ships. As an operations officer, he headed several diving operations.
In 2016 he took the specialization of Navy Diver Officer, having obtained the degree of Diving Expert.
From 2017 until 2020, he served as the immediate officer of a detachment of sapper divers. During his commission, he executed and supervised several diving operations, within the scope of the maintenance of the ships of the Portuguese Navy fleet, in cooperation with the Hydrographic Institute and the Lighthouse Directorate in the replacement and maintenance of oceanographic equipment, maritime signal buoys and navigation aids and naval search and rescue missions.
From several missions he participated in stands out:
He is currently Head of Logistics and Maintenance for Portuguese Navy Divers.
Born in 1978, speleologist since 1992 and diver since 2001.
In 1992 he joined the team of cavers from AESDA – Association of Underground Studies and Environmental Defense, where he is responsible for the edition of the magazine Trogle and is currently chairman of the board. In Portugal it is known for having discovered, participated and explored the Algar do Bom Santo (most important Neolithic Necropolis), the Roman Mines of Valongo (largest roman mining complex), Algar Palopes (deeper cave in Portugal) among other projects related to archeology, paleontology and biospeleology.
He is a trainer in the technical area of caving and underground photographer.
He has published several articles and participated in national and international congresses of the specialty. In 2001 he started his dive training, currently being CCR Advanced Mixed Gas Diver, Full Cave Diver, photography and underwater archeology.
He is currently responsible for the cave diving department of Xplorasub – Association of Underwater Studies and co-responsible for the exploration of several Portuguese karstic springs.
Sabine Kerkau is a technical wreck and mine diver, Photographer and Videographer. She is member of the Women Divers Hall Of Fame Class of 2019. She has dived several hundred wrecks and mines at depths between 10 and 150m. She is part of the founding team of the “Baltic Sea Heritage Rescue Project” in Lithuania. This project is committed to wreck protection, wreck search, wreck identification and Ghost net salvage.
Sabine regularly reports on her projects in several Magazines, TV Productions and at international conferences.
Sami Paakkarinen is a diver and professional instructor from Finland. Those who know him well would describe him as a dive enthusiast. Born in a city by the sea, he spent his early years by the water. During his younger years, he fell in love with the life above and beneath the water. Sami took his first scuba diving course as soon it was possible, in 1995; and ever since diving has been a way of life for him.
Sami is a technical, cave, and rebreather instructor based in Finland; but he regularly travels the world to teach. When Sami is not teaching, you can find him in some corner of the world seeking out new caves or wrecks. With his teams Divers of the Dark and Nordic Explorers, he has discovered many new wrecks in Baltic Sea and has participated in some of the most challenging cave explorations.
Sami Paakkarinen is also known for his work on the movies Dive Odyssey (2018) and Diving Into the Unknown (2016).
Sylvia Alice Earle, National Geographic Society Explore-in-Residence since 1998, is Founder of Mission Blue, Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, a Founding Ocean Elder, Founding IUCN Patron, Council Chair of Harte Research Institute, advisor to Earth Observatory Singapore at NTU and former Chief Scientist of NOAA.
Author of 240 publications, leader of more than 100 expeditions with years of research at sea and thousands of hours underwater, she has a B.S. from Florida State University, M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University and 33 honorary doctorates.
She researches the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems and development of technologies for access to the deep sea. A speaker in more than 100 countries, subject of the Netflix film Mission Blue, Time magazine’s first “Hero for the Planet,” a Library of Congress Living Legend, and recipient of Carl Sagan, Lewis Thomas, and Rachel Carson honors for science communication, she holds awards for global leadership from the United Nations, Tallberg Foundation, On Cue, and the World Affairs Council. Her other 150 honors include Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, Princess of Asturias Prize for Concord (Peace), TED Prize, Explorers Club Medal, Royal Geographic Society’s Patron’s Medal, and the National Geographic Hubbard Medal.
Ted has served in various executive positions, including CEO, at financial institutions involved in Capital Markets, Banking and Asset Management over a 30+ year business career. He is President Emeritus of The Explorers Club in New York City and has served on numerous for-profit and not-for-profit Boards, currently holding positions with Gannett Co. Inc., Roc Capital, RiskSpan Inc., and Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
DIVING TALKS 2021 will be held in 2021, October 8 to 10.
The Organization kindly asks all Attendees to arrive in the morning of October 8 and travel back on, or after, the afternoon of October 10, so that they do not miss the final session and the awards ceremony for the best presentations of the Call for Presentations and other Talks awards.
Attendees will benefit from special conditions for accommodation on selected hotels close by the Congress venue.
Attendees wanting to arrive before October 8, or wishing to stay in Portugal after October 10, for visiting or a ‘stay and dive’ program, please reach out to our partner, Portugal Dive.