Our Team

Name: Amber Mathie
Role: Expedition Leader
Age: 22
Degree: Zoology/Veterinary Med
Year: 4


Amber is a 4th year zoology student, intercalating from veterinary medicine, so is naturally fascinated by disease, and is extremely excited to focus her project on endoparasites and ectoparasites of the common Eider duck. Amber’s interests for her future career lie primarily in equine medicine and surgery, but with a passion for the natural world and conservation, the opportunity to study zoology for a year was too good to miss. The knowledge and skills she learns during the zoology degree and this expedition, she hopes, will allow her to contribute to conservation programmes from a veterinary perspective, at some point in her career.
Amber loves to go horse riding and cycling in her spare time. With an addiction to hill climbs and a love for the outdoors, her and a friend cycled across the Pyrenees last summer! Embracing challenges comes naturally to her and she can’t wait to see what Skalanes has in store, and to share the experience with the whole team!

Xenia is a 3rd year psychology and business student and excited to lead the Iceland expedition with Amber. Curiosity has always been one of her main driving forces as she strives to understand the people and environments around her. With a particular interest in sustainability, animal conservation, research and environmental education, she joined the Exploration Society and was Co-Leader for the Trinidad Expedition 2016. She loved conducting field work of all sorts and is looking forward to aid the projects of this year’s Iceland expedition as well as carrying out her own.

Combining her two subjects and her interest in sustainable tourism and environmental protection, she wants to examine the psychological processes that people experience when choosing to stay in a place like Skálanes. In her spare time, you will most likely see her either with a camera or with a notebook in which she captures ideas for her creative writing. She truly believes that Iceland is a unique country full of beauty and inspiration for both research and creativity and she cannot wait to start the expedition with a like-minded team.

Name: Xenia Stieger
Role: Expedition Leader
Age: 21
Degree: Psychology and Business
Year: 3

Name: Gina Bertolacci
Role: Secretary
Age: 20
Degree: Zoology
Year: 3


Gina was drawn to Zoology due to her interest in nature and the interactions of organisms in their ecosystems. In the future she wishes to work in the conservation field and, to gather the necessary skills for this, Gina participated in a research expedition to Madagascar in 2015 with Operation Wallacea. As well as this she helped organise and fundraise for a research expedition to Islay in the summer of 2016 with the University of Glasgow Exploration Society. Whilst there Gina was able to assist in various honours projects, solidifying her field and teamwork skills. This consolidated her interest in field research and led her to apply for the 2017 Iceland Expedition with the aim to carry out her own honours project.

Gina was raised in rural southern Scotland and she cannot wait to study the wildlife present in a place as remote as Skalanes and learn more research skills for her future career. Gina is particularly keen to base her research on the eider duck colony present at Skalanes.

Catherine is an enthusiastic Zoology student in her third years of studies at the University of Glasgow. Catherine has had a love of animals from an early age, and likes the way Zoology combines both her passion for science and animals. With an infinite curiosity about the natural world she loves the way Zoology can be used to ask questions, find answers, and unravel the mysteries of animals, especially their behaviour. She loves adventure and all aspects of the great outdoors. Catherine wishes to pursue a career in conservation based research, as she feels this application of Zoology is both incredibly important and rewarding.

The 2017 Iceland expedition is an exciting opportunity to expand fieldwork and experimental design skills Catherine has learned from field courses to Millport and Loch Lomond, and voluntary work at Friends of Almondell Country Park. The beautiful landscape of Iceland provides an excellent location for Catherine to carry out data collection for her honours project. With a keen interest in ornithology she is hoping to focus her research in one of the many bird species that can be found in the Skalanes reserve.

Name: Catherine Wright
Role: Treasurer
Age: 19
Degree: Zoology
Year: 3

Name: Rachael Scott
Role: Social Media/Fundraising Coordinator
Age: 19
Degree: Zoology
Year: 2


Rachael’s absolute love of all animals drove her to pursue a career in Zoology. Learning about the variety and beauty of the animal world around us has been an incredible experience for her so far. However, she is very eager to be able to pair this new knowledge with actual personal experience of project work.That is why the opportunity for Rachael to go to Iceland on this expedition is incredibly exciting.

She will be organizing the group project that all team members will be participating in, which will focus on the presence of kittiwake and fulmar populations. As this is Rachael’s first expedition she is looking forward to experiencing the fantastic views Iceland has to offer and enhancing new skills, which will aid her in her future research projects. She is also eager to meet new people and make friends for life.

Marion spent her gap year exploring Australia, New Zealand and Asia, which had her falling madly in love with this beautiful planet – and inspired her to pursue a degree in Geography.She particularly enjoys learning about the diversity of ecosystems and is passionate about motivating people to care more about their environment, which is why she will engage with a project on ecotourism in Skalanes.Marion sees her future in conservation management, so she’s very excited to gain some practical experience in this field during the expedition.She’s also very happy about the opportunity to conduct research on the kittiwake and fulmar populations in Skalanes as part of the group project.

Marion is an absolute outdoor enthusiast, so in her spare time she can usually be found wandering around the Scottish Highlands or the Bavarian alps, always carrying a camera to document her little adventures. Last summer she even crossed the alps by foot.Having said this, Marion can’t wait to see the wonders of Iceland with her own eyes and share these wonderful moments with the whole team, which she is sure will become friends for a lifetime.

Name: Marion Prieler
Role: Logistics Coordinator
Age: 20
Degree: Geography
Year: 1


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