ABOUT US

Atoll Marine Centre was founded in 2012 by locally run NGO Naifaru Juvenile. The centre was opened as a response to so many hatchlings being kept as pets on local islands. By involving and educating the local community this is no longer commonplace in the atoll. 

Our focus since then has shifted from rehabilitating turtle hatchlings to rescuing and rehabilitating adult turtles found stranded or caught in ghost nets. 

We collaborate with local NGO's, marine biologists, local fishermen and resorts to make sure that Lhaviyani atoll remains thoroughly monitored for turtle strandings. We offer a place for injured sea turtles to overcome their injuries and be released back into their ocean home. 

Come and visit our centre, meet the turtles and our friendly staff who will be happy to answer any questions you have!

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OUR TEAM

Photo: Kayla Vieten, @kaylathedronepilot

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Jess Toopitsin

Marine Biologist

Jess’s love for the ocean began later in life on a trip to Papua New Guinea during university. Here she volunteered for Conflict Islands Conservation Initiative  tagging turtles, collecting data, monitoring nests and caring for injured turtles. One month of being in the water everyday and she was hooked. There was no other option than to become a marine biologist! While studying Biology at Macquarie University she worked in the Neurobiology laboratory studying visual acuity in damselfish. She is also an underwater photographer. Taking photos of marine life has its perks- you can get up close and watch animals for hours while they go about their day. During the many covid lockdowns in Australia, she free-dived everyday with her camera in hand at a local dive site in Sydney. Working at AMC is perfect- spending her days caring for the turtles, snorkelling, taking turtles for sea swims.. she feels extremely lucky to be a marine biologist for AMC.

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Natassia Mannina

Veterinarian

Since college Natassia's primary area of interest has always been wildlife, as her goal is to make a difference for them. Throughout her work life she went abroad and shadowed the veterinarian activities in many rescue centers. After more than 8 years working with marine and terrestrial wildlife she decided to expand her knowledge and did her Master in Science of Marine Biological Resources focusing in Marine Conservation and Environmental health. Natassia is always excited to learn new things, this is the way she has chosen to live her life!

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Amie Williams

Marine Biologist

From ocean wallpaper and bedding to making PowerPoint presentations on dolphins, Amie has always been enchanted by the ocean. This has led to her diving and conducting research all over the world. Amie studied Environmental Science at Plymouth University, completing her final dissertation on the effect of Marine Protected Areas on the Belize Barrier reef. Following her degree, she moved to Fiji as a Principal Investigator of a marine conservation program. Seeing the impact of poor waste management led to her postgraduate degree in International Development, specialising in the Environment and Climate Change.  She is particularly interested in the relationship between humans and the environment, leading her to AMC where the human impact on turtles is evident.   

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Kiah Williams

Marine Biologist

Kiah realised she wanted to be a marine biologist while on a holiday here in the Maldives back in 2010. Ever since them she decided it was what she wanted to dedicate her life to. She studied marine biology at Newcastle University while simultaneously acquiring experience as a research assistant for a variety of different marine projects including a period of time here at the Atoll Marine Centre in 2019. Before going to uni she spent a year working for various marine causes, including researching cetacean populations off the north coast of Spain, spending up to 14 hours out at sea every day getting information on resident bottlenose dolphin and migratory whales. She also spent 6 months in the Mauritius studying coral reef sites and helped to initiate a coral farming project and research sites for seagrass monitoring. Kiah loves to be in the water at all times and so, naturally, is a divemaster. She is also hoping to acquire a boat license soon to add to her marine related qualifications. After graduating in June 2021 from her Bachelors, the opening for Marine Biologist here at AMC fell at the perfect time and given her previous time spent here, seemed like a fitting role for her first postgraduate job.