The CBMWC Team

Steve Hartley

Steve Hartley, Founder

Steve Hartley, Founder & CBMWC Volunteer

As founder of the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre Steve Hartley has been involved since its conception in 1996. Alongside assisting with the management of the CBMWC as a volunteer, Steve makes a living running the original eco-tourism operation in New Quay, Dolphin Survey Boat Trips that he set up in 1994. He is an experienced skipper with over 35 years experience and is also second coxwain of New Quay Lifeboat.

Steve is a former fisherman and over the years has been involved with numerous research projects concerning the marine life in Cardigan Bay both as a charter skipper and researcher and was involved with the original bottlenose dolphin photo-identification research projects that most of today’s photo-identification work in Cardigan Bay stems from. Steve was involved in helping initiate the designation of the Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation and has carried out a great deal of work over the years to raise awareness of the importance of the marine environment in Wales and the conservation of the species and habitats found within it.

Dr Sarah Perry

Dr Sarah Perry

Dr Sarah Perry, Living Seas Manager

Dr Sarah Perry heads up the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales’ Living Seas Marine Team based at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC). She is responsible for managing the Living Seas team, the CBMWC, managing the scientific research as well as managing and developing the overall work of the Living Seas team.

Sarah has been involved with CBMWC since 2003 when she first came to New Quay as a volunteer and has been involved ever since! Sarah studied Zoology at the University of Liverpool and has a PhD on developing predictive habitat models of megafauna distribution from Aberystwyth University.

Sarah is a marine biologist with a passion for the marine environment and has played a major role in the development of the CBMWC. Previously as Project Manager her work has included redeveloping the CBMWC visitor centre, managing the research work as well as the day to day operations and development of the CBMWC as well as coordinating all the fantastic volunteers involved in the project. Sarah has been involved in studying the bottlenose dolphins and other marine megafauna in Cardigan Bay for over 15 years and has also previously worked for Wildlife Trusts Wales as Marine Campaigns and Advocacy Officer, her work there focusing on Marine Act implementation alongside other well known eNGO’s.

Laura Evans

Laura Evans, Living Seas Wales Project Officer

Laura first joined the CBMWC, Living Seas Team as a volunteer in March 2015, before becoming the Living Seas Volunteer Coordinator later the same year. She was instrumental in helping us to achieve the Investing in Volunteers (Iiv) Award for our volunteering programme in 2017. 

in April 2018 Laura became the Living Seas Wales Project Officer for the south and west Wales area. She is working on our Living Seas Wales project in collaboration with North Wales Wildlife Trust’s marine team.

Laura has always been passionate about marine mammals and the marine environment. She studied Zoology with Marine Zoology at Bangor University, graduating in 2012. After leaving university she spent 7 months as an intern studying bottlenose dolphin behaviour at the BDRI in Sardinia. Laura assisted with land and boat based field work, data entry and photo identification of dolphins.

She returned to university in 2013 to study Animal Behaviour at the University of Exeter, graduating in 2014. Her masters project focused on communication in European fiddler crabs.


Beth Thompson

Beth Thompson

Beth Thompson, Living Seas Engagement Officer

Beth initially became involved with CBMWC in April 2018, whilst taking a year out after graduating with a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford. What started out as a fantastic three-month internship with the Living Seas team, eventually led to her remaining in New Quay for seven-months, where she continued to volunteer and work as a Tour Guide.

During this time Beth made the decision to book a one-way flight to New Zealand, and spend a year travelling, working, and volunteering. This experience provided her with an incredible range of opportunities, including the chance to volunteer with the endangered yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho). As her travels continued, Beth was offered a Field Research Assistant Intern position with Flinders University, and as such relocated to Exmouth, Western Australia, in July 2019. Here she spent three months supporting PhD students in researching the bottlenose and Australian humpback dolphin populations found around the Ningaloo Reef.

Her experiences have allowed Beth to work in both science and general engagement roles (she once ran around the streets of Oxford in a cow mascot costume, in the middle of a heatwave, during a University Open Day!). Beth was very excited to be returning to CBMWC in January 2020 and joined the team as our Living Seas Engagement Officer working on our Living Seas Wales project in collaboration with North Wales Wildlife Trust’s marine team.


Dr Stephanie King

Dr Stephanie King

Dr Stephanie King, Marine mammal acoustician

Stephanie is a behavioural biologist with a primary focus on animal communication systems and how these systems have evolved to help mediate complex social behaviours. She currently works as a senior lecturer at the University of Bristol. Stephanie originally volunteered at CBMWC in 2006, assisting with CBMWC’s bottlenose dolphin photo-identification.

Stephanie completed her PhD at the University of St Andrews on dolphin communication in 2012, and then worked as a Principal Scientist at an environmental consultancy, wholly owned by the University of St Andrews, on projects assessing the impacts of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals. In 2014 she returned to full time research with a post-doc at the Dolphin Research Center (USA), and in 2015 was awarded a five-year Swiss grant (Branco Weiss Fellowship) to investigate the role vocal communication plays in mediating complex social behaviours. Stephanie joined the University of Western Australia as a Research Fellow (2015) before taking up her lectureship at the University of Bristol 2019.

Current projects include a long-term study of the male alliances found in the Shark Bay dolphin population, providing a unique opportunity to understand how vocal communication strategies may have evolved to facilitate male cooperation. Stephanie is a PI of the Shark Bay Dolphin Research.

Dr Simon Allen

Dr Simon Allen

Dr Simon Allen

Simon is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Bristol and the University of Zurich, and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. His interests lie in studying the complex social and foraging behaviours of dolphins, and assessing the impacts of human activities (fisheries, tourism and climate change) on marine fauna in general. Improved wildlife conservation and better management of the ways in which humans interact with wildlife is the end goal.

Simon has a Masters degree on the impact of wildlife tourism on dolphins, and a PhD on abundance, population structure and bycatch of dolphins in commercial fisheries. Simon has an interest in improving transparency and coverage of fishing effort and bycatch in UK waters, improve baseline knowledge of lesser known cetacean populations and move toward innovative solutions to reduce interaction with/bycatch in commercial fisheries.

Simon has thus far published over 50 scientific articles, book chapters and species accounts on dolphins, whales, reptiles and other fauna in journals and texts ranging from the taxon- and issue-specific to the broad (Current Biology, Proceedings of the Royal Society B and Molecular Ecology). Simon is a PI of the Shark Bay Dolphin Research, a keen field biologist, photographer and drone pilot, and holds a general interest in the behaviour, ecology and conservation of wildlife.