• Floating Foundation

Research Volunteers

Our scientific research volunteers do not need anything other than an interest in science and a desire to contribute to an amazing research initiative. Get to know our volunteers here:

Ana Markic is part of our core crew. As a PhD candidate at the University of Auckland, Ana is

conducting research for the final chapter of her PhD, which focuses on micro plastics. Ana aims to develop improved methodologies for collecting surface, sea floor and coastal samples and for analysing micro plastics moving forward.

​​Antonia has been traveling since graduating from university with a degree in Japanese and

Asian studies and moving to Japan to teach. She’s lived, worked and travelled throughout Europe as an innovations specialist, which brought her to NYC for four years before she made her way back home New Zealand where she now works for an insights agency as a cultural strategist. Antonia’s deep interest in human behaviour and cultural exchange has taken her all over the world – including to our research lab on Infinity!

Bart and Joke left Belgium last year to travel. They spent the past months road tripping

throughout New Zealand in a van that they made into a camper themselves, and will return to New Zealand after their time in Tonga before deciding what part of the world to see next. Bart’s background in project management for an innovations company combined with Joke’s experience in social culture and sustainability makes for a well-rounded team. The couple hopes to launch a niche travel agency soon!

Ella brings both creative and logical thinking skills to our research program. As an architect

working in Perth, Australia, Ella helps design mixed-use buildings. She’s always been drawn to the ocean – both to diving and naval architecture, and will soon takea second trip to Fiji where she’ll contribute to the development of an eco island!

In her role as a research assistant at the Regenerative Medicine Institute in Australia, Lucy

takes on an array of tasks from microscopic photography to conducting dissections or just making sure that the scientists she works with have all they need. Working in a laboratory aboard Infinity Expedition with the Floating Foundation is a whole new scientific environment for Lucy. She is an avid gardener and is working with her husband to construct a tiny house off-grid using recycled materials.


​​Peta grew up on the Gold Coast of Australia and has always felt at home when at sea. She is in her second year of University in Brisbane with a focus on Marine Science and would like to become a PhD specializing in Science Communication. There’s a gap between the scientific world and what gets passed along as common knowledge, and she sees successfully bridging that gap as vital to taking steps toward positively impacting the environment.

Peta went on her first scuba dive at age 11 and was hooked immediately. As part of our research volunteer group, Peta helped gather sediment samples from the ocean surface, sea floor and surrounding coastline. She also helped learn and develop new methodologies for collecting and analysing micro plastics.

Her general enthusiasm for being alive lights up every room she enters, and when she sings, her beautiful voice echoes through the boat and makes everyone stop to listen in awe.

After many years in an office, Whitney left her home-base in Karratha, Australia, in early February to travel the world. She spent time in Indonesia, India, and Nepal before heading

to Thailand where she decided to search out a new travel experience that involved scuba diving but had a purpose behind it.

Her longstanding interest in marine science has grown significantly since coming on board as a research volunteer. Whitney literally dove right in to help despite having little research experience. Her scuba expertise has helped our group to collect sediment samples from the ocean floor which are then analysed for micro plastics in our lab.

Whitney has extended her stay with The Floating Foundation so she can continue learning from Ana and the volunteer team. From here, she will head to New Zealand to weigh her options for future studies in Marine Science!

Jules has always been drawn to the ocean. Growing up, she spent most of her holidays close to bodies of water, so even before she left home on her own at age 17 to finish high school in New Zealand, she knew she would focus on marine biology when she entered University.

After taking a year off to travel throughout Europe, Jules began her studies at the University

of Auckland where she developed an interest in micro plastics. A research project during her second year led her to discover Ana’s first PhD chapter. She connected with Ana for advice on improving her own methodologies, and just a few months later, found herself in Tonga to help Ana conduct her second chapter of her PhD.

Jules has been working as part of the dive team collecting sediment samples from the sea floor. She recently extended her stay with The Floating Foundation so that she can continue to absorb Ana’s teachings and learn as much as possible before heading back to school in New Zealand. She hopes to eventually hone her interest and conduct marine research that will have a significant positive impact on the environment.

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