Heather Koldewey, Ph.D.
Conservation Advisor

Heather is the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) Curator, Aquarium Projects. Heather became the Curator of the Aquarium and Reptile House at London Zoo in 1997 and went on to become Senior Curator of the Aquarium in 2003. At the beginning of 2007 her position changed to reflect her role in the design and build of ZSL’s new aquatic conservation center, ‘Biota!’. Heather has gained extensive experience in aquarium management and the husbandry of a wide variety of marine and freshwater fish and aquatic invertebrate species. She gained experience in aquarium design through the development of the aquatic components of the ‘BUGS!’ exhibit at ZSL London Zoo which opened in 1999. She has built on this ever since, most notably with the development of ‘Biota!’

Following a First Class honours degree at the University of Plymouth, she completed a Ph.D. at the University of Wales (Swansea). Her research established novel, practical genetic techniques to monitor the movement and breeding of trout in English and Welsh rivers for use in fisheries management. She has maintained an active research interest and is a Research Fellow of the Institute of Zoology, publishes regularly in peer reviewed journals and supervises MSc and PhD students.

Heather has worked to advance the role of aquariums in fish conservation globally. In 1998, she facilitated a series of workshops that established the first co-ordinated conservation breeding programmes for fish and aquatic invertebrates in European aquariums. She has co-chaired this initiative (the Fish and Aquatic Invertebrate Taxon Advisory Group under both the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the European Union of Aquarium Curators) since its inception.

In 1996, Heather co-founded ‘Project Seahorse’ and is now Associate Director. Seahorses are used a flagship species to address diverse and complex marine conservation issues. For example, she leads a team of biologists and social workers in the Philippines that have catalysed the creation of 27 locally-enforced marine sanctuaries and the development of an alliance of more than 800 subsistence fishers. Globally, Project Seahorse’s technical expertise led to 169 countries listing seahorses as the first marine fish of commercial importance to be managed by CITES (Convention of Trade in Endangered Species). This was followed shortly after by the first listing of shark species under CITES.

Heather is also currently Chair of the Fish Section of the IUCN Re-introduction Specialist Group, a board member of the Shark Trust and the Project Seahorse Foundation for Marine Conservation Inc., Philippines and a Special Advisor to the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums Marine Fish and Freshwater Fish TAG.