Dr Tess Gridley

Founding Director of Sea Search, Operations Manager and Principal Scientist

My core research interest lies primarily in acoustic communication in cetaceans. This area of research is under-represented in southern Africa and feeds directly into both behavioural and applied ecology. I have experience leading acoustic and visual surveys and research focused on answering fundamental questions related to conservation statuses (i.e. population abundance, distribution, habitat use and genetics). This information generated through my research feedback into specialist reports which contribute to Environmental Impact Assessments and ultimately environmental management. Work in recent years has been based in Namibia, running the Namibian Dolphin Project, where I’ve been focusing on Heaviside’s and bottlenose dolphin ecology and acoustic behaviour. Building on our successes in Namibia, myself and partner established Sea Search research and conservation in South Africa, which encompasses research undertaken in Southern Africa on charismatic marine megafauna.

In 2018 I founded the African bioacoustics community to help develop networks and grow capacity in the bioacoustics research field across the continent. Together with a dedicated team of early career scientists, we have run three successful conferences, as well as multiple science communication and outreach activities such as a regular list serve, public and school talks and freely available online media accessible to all.

I am also a working mother, balancing a strong drive for learning, new experiences and personal and professional growth with the needs of myself and my growing family which includes 2 young children, a prominent bump, ageing dog and 3 teenage ducks!