Sri Lanka’s Ocean Girl Asha de Vos Wins the Women of Discovery Sea Award for 2018

Dr. Asha de Vos

Dr. Asha de Vos, the world renowned  Sri Lankan marine biologist, ocean educator and a pioneer in blue whale research in north Indian ocean has been awarded the prestigious WINGS WorldQuest Women of Discovery Sea Award for 2018!

The WINGS WorldQuest Women of Discovery Awardswere established in 2003 to recognize extraordinary women making significant contributions to world knowledge and science through exploration. The WINGS WorldQuest was founded by Milbry Polk and Leila Hadley Luce way back in 2003 to shine light on the under-recognized discoveries and accomplishments of women explorers, promote women working in the field sciences, and inspire the next generation of pathfinders. To date, WINGS has honored over 70 extraordinary explorers through its Women of Discovery Awards and Fellows Program and provided more than $500,000 in research and field support.

These five intrepid explorers will be honored and inducted as WINGS WorldQuest Fellows at the Women of Discovery Awards Luncheon on April 25, 2018.

women of discovery
Winners of the The WINGS WorldQuest Women of Discovery Awards for the year 2018. From the top left , Dr.Nergis Mavalvala, Thandiwe Mweetwa, Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, Dr.Eleanor Sterling and Dr. Asha de Vos

Along with Dr. Asha de Vos, Dr. Nergis Mavalvala who is a scientist from MIT that carried out ground breaking research on gravity waves, Thandiwe Mweetwa who is a senior ecologist and community educator with the Zambian Carnivore Programme, Dr. Nalini Nadkarni who is a pioneer in research work on  life in the canopy of the forests in Costa Rica and the Pacific Northwest, and Dr. Eleanor Sterling, who is a Jaffe Chief Conservation Scientist, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC), American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) were also honored with the Women of Discovery Awards for 2018.

Dr. de Vos founded Oceanswell, Sri Lanka’s first marine conservation research and education non-profit. “The Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project,” which commenced in 2008, is the first long-term study on blue whales in this region and is Oceanswell’s flagship project. The research de Vos conducted through this project has led to many key research publications and is used to inform policy at the local and global level. She spent many years in academia with degrees from the University of St. Andrews, University of Oxford and the University of Western Australia. She is the first and only Sri Lankan to have a Ph.D. in Marine Mammal research, the first Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation from Sri Lanka, and also the first National Geographic Emerging Explorer from this small island nation. She is also a TED Senior Fellow, an Ocean Conservation Fellow at the New England Aquarium, a Duke Global Fellow in Marine Conservation, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Her life’s work is to change the current marine conservation model, protect this unique population of blue whales and inspire the next generation of ocean heroes from all corners of the globe.


About Sisira Kumara

Sisira Kumara works as an Editor (News and Web) for The Sri lankan Scientist Magazine and the The Sri Lankan Scientist Media Organization. A graduate in Agricultural Biotechnology Mr. Sisira mainly covers local and international science news including latest findings and events.

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