Our Board

Board Member


Dr Kate Charlton-Robb

Founding Director – Principal Researcher

Dr Kate Charlton-Robb (Howard) has over 14 years’ experience researching the dolphins in coastal Victoria and was the primary researcher that formally described and classified the Burrunan dolphin. Kate is the worlds-leading authority on the Burrunan dolphin and has biopsy sampled 130+ dolphins across south-eastern Australia; attended over 40 cetacean strandings and have conducted over 30 necropsies on deceased animals; analysed skull and external morphology; conducted applied genetics; and has been involved in numerous University based applied research programs relating to isotopes, acoustics and contaminant loads of the dolphin in this region.

In addition, Kate is currently a Research Associate at Museums Victoria and lectures into several genetics and conservation based subjects at Monash University. Her efforts in the Burrunan’s species recognition have seen major media coverage from international agencies such as National Geographic, BBC The World, NBC USA; Australian agencies such as The Age, The Australian, Herald-Sun, major TV news networks; children’s shows such as Totally Wild and SCOPE. Kate is committed to applied research with real conservation outcomes and has successfully nominated the Burrunan dolphin for Victoria’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act listing, which will see greater protection for the species across coastal Victoria.


Graham Robertson

Advisory Board Chairman

Graham Robertson is an experienced, successful and recently retired Managing Director who has 40 years of business experience across various FMCG industries, 23 years of which were leading Australia and New Zealand operations of global and locally owned businesses as a Managing Director.  Graham has extensive multi-discipline marketing, sales, finance and general management skills across diverse industries and in diverse business environments including business start-up, business re-structure and change management, and business development and growth.He has also had extensive international business exposure as a member of global CEO leadership teams, in particular Asia as part of Asia Pacific management teams.

Graham has more recently provided consulting services and advice in the areas of leadership development pathway programs, leadership development coaching for “top team” management and “emerging” leaders, together with strategic thinking, planning and execution. He is also on several SME Advisory Boards providing a valuable sounding board for business owners and their CEO’s on strategic planning, people, leadership development, financial, business development and marketing issues.  He is also a member of the Lighthouse Foundation Finance Sub-committee and the Remuneration Sub-Committee.


Professor Ross Thompson

Research Advisor

Professor Ross Thompson is Chair of Water Science and an ARC Future Fellow in the Institute for Applied Ecology at the University of Canberra. His research is in the area of community and ecosystem ecology, with an emphasis on the study of biodiversity, food web structure and the restoration of landscapes. Ross’ fundamental research is in food web ecology; seeking the rules that determine how natural communities assemble and persist.His applied research addresses the ways in which food webs can be influenced by climate change, toxins and invasive species, and how we can restore and protect biodiverse communities in human-impacted landscapes. Ross has led multidisciplinary research projects with ecologists, hydrologists, social scientists, economists, policy makers and management agencies. He maintains a strong interest in science communication and education.


Adrian Howard

Board Member

Adrian Howard has been involved with marine mammal research, rescue and conservation for over 20 years.  Adrian’s vast experience has involved working on numerous projects associated with both pinniped and cetacean species, in Australia and overseas. Adrian is currently the Precinct Manager of Carnivores and Ungulates at Melbourne Zoo and has worked with numerous species in the Zoo, including seals.Adrian has extensive experience with marine response, assessment and disentanglement, has attended hundreds of marine mammal strandings and rescues and is a founding member of the Victorian Cetacean Stranding Network. He has helped deliver community conservation projects and messages for a variety of organisations and is passionate about the care, conservation and understanding of marine mammals.


Roger Kirkwood

Board Member

Dr Roger Kirkwood has over 25 years of experience researching marine mammals and sea birds in Australia and further afield. Roger is currently a Senior Seal Researcher with the Institute for Marine Resources (IMARES), Wageningen University, Netherlands. Roger is also an Honorary Lecturer in the Faculty of Science and Technology at Macquarie University. Roger has made a significant contribution to marine mammal research and conservation with over 1000+ citations of his 50+ publications.Roger’s recent book “Fur Seal and Sea Lions” investigates the evolutionary ecology, biology, life-history, behaviour, conservation status, threats, history of human interactions and latest research on otariids of southern Australia. Roger has been to Antarctica numerous times, including 10 stints as a researcher with the Australian Antarctic Division and as an expedition leader to Antarctica across 10 seasons.