At Blue Resources Trust we aim to promote informed science based decision making to facilitate the sustainable use of marine resources. We believe in promoting education and awareness and encouraging greater participation of local communities in conservation. Our team has extensive experience working in Sri Lanka and internationally, and has built partnerships with numerous national and international organizations. Blue Resources Trust also acts as a platform for scientists and conservationists to expand research and improve marine resource management in Sri Lanka and the greater region.
Daniel Fernando (Co-Founder)
Daniel is currently working towards a PhD at Linnaeus University studying the biology and ecology of manta and mobula rays in the Indian Ocean.
At Blue Resources Trust he helps obtain funds, oversee project operations, leads elasmobranch research, and develops and implements national and international policy to better manage fisheries. He was an Adviser to the Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife of Sri Lanka (2015-2018) and still helps represent the Government at international conventions such as CITES and CMS.
Alongside this, in his role as an Associate Director of The Manta Trust, he is responsible for global mobulid fisheries projects. His work has been highlighted in international documentaries broadcast on ITV (UK) and Al Jazeera English. Daniel is also a member of the IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group.
Nishan Perera (Co-Founder)
Nishan is a marine biologist and underwater photographer with an interest in coral reef ecology, fisheries and marine protected area management. He has previously worked with the IUCN and is currently a member of Project Seahorse.
His current research includes field studies on seahorses, coral reefs and sustainable small-scale fisheries. He is the author of Coral Reefs of Sri Lanka, and has contributed articles and images to the Sri Lankan Airlines magazine Serendib, Explore Sri Lanka, Life Times Magazine, African Diver, Sport Diving Australia and Magazyn Nurkowanie Poland.
Susantha Udagedera (Director)
Susantha is a field biologist from Sri Lanka, with a particular interest in seagrasses, climate change adaptation, and species based ecological studies; all of which provide vital information for the development of national conservation policy.
His childhood ambition in life was to explore nature in a scientific manner to determine how best to sustainably benefit humanity. This led him to complete a Bachelor in Environment Conservation Management at the University of Kelaniya, followed by a Master of Environment Management at the University of Colombo.
Having worked as an international seagrass scientist, he has a strong working relationship with Project Seagrass and the World Seagrass Association. During the past couple of years, Susantha started publishing numerous peer-reviewed research papers and additionally, has been selected as an expert to evaluate Sri Lankan seagrass for the upcoming National RedList. Susantha is also a member of the IUCN SSC Seagrass Specialist Group.
Akshay Tanna (Head of Operations)
Akshay is a SCUBA instructor, sailing instructor and skipper. He has been diving and cruising in South Asia for over a decade and is passionate about the conservation of the marine environment.
A keen mechanic, he oversees Blue Resources Trust's technical operations, manages the research boat, and helps conduct our underwater training programs.
Rosalind Bown (Researcher)
Rosalind is a researcher running the shark and ray fisheries project, and also assisting on the coral and seagrass data collection and analysis. She was also part of the field team for the Global FinPrint project. Rosalind studied marine biology with a focus on oceanography, and is a PADI Divemaster and holds a RYA Powerboat Level 2 license.
Prior to working with us, she volunteered on various marine projects focusing on marine megafauna and fisheries, including the Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project, Southern IFCA, Marine Savers and Archelon.
Gobiraj is a young researcher in the fisheries science field with a passion in marine biology, ecology, microbiology, environmental conservation, and fishery management. He has received training at the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) of Sri Lanka in post-harvest analysis (chemical and micro-biological analysis), aquaculture and aquarium techniques, oceanography and marine sciences, and PCR applications and techniques.
He currently running the shark and ray fishery project in Jaffna and Mutur (Trincomalee), focusing primarily on field data collection and analysis. His ambition is conserve aquatic resources through scientific and socio-economic studies and increase awareness among the local fisher communities.
Buddhi Maheshika Pathirana (Researcher)
Buddhi is a wildlife, nature, and aerial photographer and young researcher in the field of marine science. She has a special interest in marine algology, biology, ecology, microbiology and biotechnology and environmental conservation and has received training at the Medical Research Institute of Sri Lanka in PCR applications and techniques. She is also a member of the Scientific and Technical Research Association (STRA), and the World Association for Scientific Research and Technical Innovation (WASRTI).
She has contributed as a data collector and video producer for a project focused on the Rekawa coastal wetland management which was carried out by a Ph.D. student at the Arctic University of Norway. Her research findings are published in both national and international conference proceedings and journals including the Sri Lankan Association for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Marine Environment Protection Authority, National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency, National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, and MATTER journal of India.
Sahan Thilakaratna (Researcher)
Sahan has a special interest in marine microbiology, algology, aquatic ecology, marine biotechnology, conservation biology, and fisheries management. He has also obtained training from the Medical Research Institute of Sri Lanka in PCR and
molecular laboratory applications. He has published several research articles and presented his findings at national and international symposiums and conferences, and is a lifetime member of the World Association for Scientific Research and Technical Innovation (WASRTI), and Eurasia, Scientific and Technical Research Association.
He was awarded the “Young Research Scholar 2017” by the Global Research and Development Services, to present his research at the 25th International conference on Science and Technology in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Aside from research, he is an actor and script writer, having appeared in movies, teledramas and comedy shows, and recently won first place at the Inter-University short story competition, under the theme of “Social Integration” organized by the the Ministry of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages.
Samara Polwatta (Researcher)
Samara is an undergraduate of the University of Sri Jayawardenepura majoring in Geography. She is passionate about the oceans, and has a special interest in zoobiogeography. Having developed a keen interest in using GIS based techniques in the field of coral ecology, Samara has been an integral part of Blue Resources Trust’s Coral Reef Research and Conservation Project since 2017. In addition to being a certified SCUBA diver, Samara was also a Unilever Spark for the the term 2017-2018 and an AIESECer from 2015-2017.
She has been mapping our primary study site using a combination of techniques including satellite imagery ,underwater videography, and in-water surveys around the reef.
Dinoswaran Balasari (Researcher)
Dino is a research assistant on the Coral Reef Monitoring Program, collecting and analysing data on reef fish landings in the Valaichchenai area. While majoring in Fisheries Science at the University of Jaffna, he developed an interest in nature and seeks to increase his knowledge of marine resources. One of his major roles being our community liaison, he is keen to work with fishing communities to help conserve their marine resources for the future. He has worked as a science teacher in a government school in Batticaloa district and is also a keen film maker, having recently directed his first short film in addition to acting in several others.