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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Emma Bailey

Marine Biologist

Emma’s love for the environment and wildlife developed at a young age. Growing up on the east coast of Australia, she loved spending time outdoors where she was exposed to a variety of marine life. Emma has always felt a strong connection to animals, her love and passion for wildlife drove her to study Environmental Science and Management, where she majored in Marine Science at the University of Newcastle. While studying at university, Emma worked in South Africa where she collected data on endangered animal and plant species to assist in conservation practices within a private reserve.

Emma feels incredibly grateful to be a marine biologist at AMC, spending her time caring for the turtles and having a positive impact on their life fills her heart with joy. She is looking forward to further developing her knowledge and engaging with the community to create lasting change for our beautiful sea turtles.

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Kayla Rowe

Marine Biologist

Kayla’s love for wildlife and the ocean began whilst growing up in Australia, where life revolved around camping, the outdoors and getting in the water. Whilst in high school she was lucky enough to do work experience with wild bottlenose dolphins in Monkey Mia, W.A, which inspired her to take the career path of a marine biologist. Kayla studied Marine Science and Conservation and Wildlife Biology at Murdoch University in Perth. During her time at university, she became an avid free diver and scuba diver. She was involved in both local and international conservation efforts such as seagrass surveys, flatback turtle monitoring, native wildlife rehabilitation and Asian Elephant conservation, in Thailand. She most recently worked as Marine Biologist on a Killer Whale expedition vessel where she had the opportunity to collect data on orcas in the Southern Ocean and educate passengers about their behaviour. She was awarded an Australian New Colombo Plan Fellowship to relocate to the Maldives to pursue her career in Marine Biology, leading her to AMC. Kayla is not only passionate about marine conservation but also about raising awareness and passion for the natural world. She believes that the position at AMC will provide her with the perfect opportunity to pursue both interests, to create a positive impact on the many environmental challenges that the island faces, while working with the local community.