The Team

Five National Geographic Explorers team up to study the global reach of the saltwater aquarium fish trade

Shannon Switzer Swanson

Shannon is a waterwoman, photojournalist, and social ecologist from San Diego, California. Her research blends theory and practice from the fields of anthropology, psychology, and marine ecology to address today’s most pressing marine conservation issues. Shannon works with coastal communities in Southeast Asia and Oceania to understand how they can most effectively manage their resources to sustain both prosperous livelihoods and a healthy environment. As a PhD student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University she explores new research methods using film and photography to engage community members as active participants in the research process.

Andrea Reid

National Geographic Explorer Andrea Jane Reid is a PhD Candidate in fish conservation biology who loves spending her time in the water. Andrea received her first National Geographic grant to study the invasive Nile perch and native haplochromine cichlids in the Lake Victoria basin of East Africa. Her next grant brought her and fellow Explorer Mikayla Wujec to the Solomon Islands to study the status of bumphead parrotfish inside and outside of marine protected areas (MPAs). Now, Andrea divides her time between tracing the ornamental fish trade with Reef to Aquarium, and tracking the fate of Pacific salmon bycatch following their capture and release in the Pacific Northwest. Her research connects fish biology with the human dimensions of aquatic threats and conservation.

Caleb Kruse

Caleb grew up in Colorado Springs and was first exposed to coral reefs when he started a 90-gallon saltwater aquarium filled with fish and coral (including a Blue Tang). This inspired a love of coral reefs and motivated him to study Earth Systems with an emphasis in Marine Biology at Stanford University. He has a passion for field work, and has conducted research in Sri Lanka on heart physiology of an amphibious fish, worked on a small coring expedition in southern Patagonia to study paleoclimatology, studied coral coloration while sailing a tall ship through the Line Islands, and researched coral bleaching at the Stanford Medical School. After college he created the National Geographic sponsored Ice Cream Expedition to drive an Ice Cream Truck across America, and worked with National Geographic on the Highest Road Expedition in the Indian Himalayas. He currently works with the virtual reality hand tracking company Leap Motion.

Mikayla Wujec

National Geographic Explorer Mikayla Wujec is a storyteller, climate researcher and burgeoning drone pilot. After growing up enjoying Canada’s many unique lakes, rivers and streams she pursued Geography and Biology to better understand and protect all things aquatic. She's became heavily involved in the environmental sector, including as a research consultant to international conservation organizations, a LEED-certified ambassador for sustainability in institutions of higher education and, as a sustainability consultant to Fortune 500 companies. Now, she’s shifted focus to addressing the largest challenge and opportunity of our time - climate change. Mikayla has also led marine conservation projects in Fiji, Hawaii, the Solomon Islands, Philippines and Indonesia with her research partner Andrea Reid.

Justin Deshields

Expedition Role

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