Meet the Naturalists
MEET THE NATURALISTS: PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES, POLYNESIA
LESLIE BISSEY, NATURALIST
Leslie Bissey, Ambassadors program naturalist for Jean-Michel Cousteau, grew up along wetlands of the Mediterranean in France, in the town of Martigues. The bays and the sea were her and her family’s playground for diving, surfing, windsurfing and sailing. From her first immersion, Leslie knew she wanted to work for the protection of the coast and the sea. Leslie followed her Bachelor’s from the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography by a Master’s in Coastal and Ocean Management (Paris/Montpellier). Coral reefs in Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia benefited from Leslie’s work and technical expertise, as well as Australia, and the temperate ecosystems of New Zealand. With new perspectives, Leslie returned home for a position managing a marine reserve in the South of France, in Les Calanques National Park. Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment Program is an opportunity for Leslie to share her passion for the ocean and all of its inhabitants. Just like Jean- Michel and his father, Jacques Cousteau, she hopes her audience will learn to love the ocean as well, and act for its protection.
NICOLE BORISKI, NATURALIST
Nicole Boriski, naturalist for Jean-Michel Cousteau onboard the M/S Paul Gauguin, hails from College Station, Texas. Nicoles’s university study abroad program concerning, in part, sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica, sparked a keen interest and passion for tropical waters and all of their inhabitants. After completing a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Studies and Spanish at Texas A&M University, Nicole traveled throughout Latin America and discovered the magical world of scuba diving the tropics. Nicole's skills underwater were sharpened even more in work that followed travels; she began teaching students in California's coastal kelp forests at the Abassadors program on Catalina Island. She now works as an assistant director for this program when not on board the Paul Gauguin. In a calendar year you may find Nicole on the Paul Gauguin, or exploring the kelp forest ecosystem with students on Catalina, or teaching experiential science to young students in San Francisco. All are exactly what Jacques Cousteau would have wanted.
ESTELLE DAVIES, NATURALIST
Estelle was born on the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus and now lives in Hong Kong. She has her Masters degree in Tropical Marine Ecology from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, a BSc in Marine and Environmental Science from St. Andrews University in Scotland, during which she spent her junior year on exchange at the University of California at Santa Cruz. In 2004, Estelle received a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) in Biology from King’s College, London. Estelle joined Ocean Futures Society in 2005 and spent five years lecturing on board Regent Seven Seas Cruises, where she inspired and educated guests and crew on the marine environment around the globe. She has also worked as a Resident Marine Biologist in the Maldives, Bonaire, and Australia and on Marine Conservation projects in Belize, Madagascar and along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. She has served as a Cousteau Naturalist on the Paul Gauguin in French Polynesia since 2006.
LAURA BRANDS LEULIER, EDUCATION ASSOCIATE/NATURALIST
Laura first fell in love with water on a trip to the Everglades, immersed in the most crystal clear water she’d ever known. With a taste for the far-flung and unique, at twenty Laura headed to Madagascar for studies in coral reef conservation. Her studies continued in Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, including French language studies. As a naturalist for Ocean Futures Society since 2000, Laura thrived at teaching tropical marine ecology in the South Pacific onboard cruise ships. Other ship-based naturalist work took her to the icy waters of the North Pacific and Cape Horn, into the turquoise Mediterranean and Caribbean. Ocean fish species, seabirds, and their conservation became her specialty. Now at Ocean Futures’ headquarters in the South of France, Laura directs the Tahiti-based Ambassadors of the Environment program which takes place on the m/s Paul Gauguin, and also works along side Jean-Michel Cousteau on environmental advocacy, education and conservation projects on the French-Mediterranean coast.