Dr. Adriana Vella, Ph.D (Cambridge)
Dr. Adriana Vella, Ph.D (Cambridge) is a conservation biologist well known for her scientific and passionate interest in wildlife and nature. She has dedicated many years to research on marine species in particular. Among the most well known projects is her dolphin and whale research which is known locally as abroad as having been a pioneering project for this central-southern part of the Mediterranean. Scientists and Journalists have come over to Malta to interview and share with her local work and the Maltese Islands have been placed on the Map for Cetacean research due to her dedicated year round work. She has also developed other interesting marine projects on Blue fin tuna, sharks and rays, dusky groupers, turtles, etc. Sustainable development and fisheries, ecotourism, conservation area requirements and conservation of habitats are also of great interest to her.
Though she is a full-time and keen researcher at the University of Malta, Adriana has found the inspiration to establish the NGO BICREF, more specifically the Biological Conservation Research Foundation in 1998 due to the interest shown by the various volunteers that wished such an NGO to be set up so that Conservation Research and Awareness could be given a push forward in professional and dedicated manner. Since then through her instrumental work as both senior academic member of the University of Malta and as co-president of the NGO BICREF, Adriana has seen local knowledge, understanding and appreciation of nature conservation grow.
Due to BICREF's special effort on marine affairs, this NGO has often been called the Maltese Marine environmental NGO, rightly so, but BICREF undertakes terrestrial research surveys in conservation areas as well as marine research surveys along our coasts and even offshore, while joining Adriana's conservation projects.
So many turtles have found their way to the rehabilitation centre through the coordination of Adriana and various BICREF members that many sea-users know that these persons reliably are only one phone call away.
Adriana's scientific research and dedication has been rewarded in various ways by international entities including the Maritime Policy Commission that invited her to act as an “Ambassador for the EU Maritime Policy for Malta” as can be appreciated by looking at the Views from the blue Planet – Maritime Policy Website info. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/amb_detail_3_en.html
Recently the BICREF documentary “Waves of Life” in which Adriana voluntarily worked as director and script-writer, apart from dedicating original footage and photography, won an Award of Merit through the international Accolade Competition for TV feature documentaries.
With two lovely children, Kyle and Kim and a loving husband Joe, Adriana feels that though nothing comes easy in life, her family, life and nature have given her the inspiration and encouragement to live life to the full keeping in mind the need to treasure nature for our dear children too.
Adriana has developed Conservation Biology courses both locally and abroad, and is member of the Conservation Biology Society (European) and steering committee member of the Conservation Biology Society - Education Committee. She has actively participated in innumerable conferences on Conservation and Marine Species Research and is member of the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategies.
With all of this on her plate, Adriana has rarely if ever declined to give an educational talk, interview on tv or radio or write features on newspapers and educational magazines to allow more appreciations of the beauty and needs of our natural heritage, our marine life above all.