Heleen is a dedicated marine scientist who has both an academic background in environmental research and hands-on experience with marine mammals. She is particularly interested in human impacts on the marine environment.
She obtained her MSc. in the interdisciplinary field of Industrial Ecology where she learnt to integrate technical, environmental, and social aspects to come up with holistic solutions to environmental issues. During her studies, she traveled to Svalbard to learn about the possible impacts of the oil industry on the Arctic marine ecosystem and how these can be mitigated. She specialised in Life Cycle Impact Assessments and worked on quantifying the impacts of marine noise pollution on cetaceans within this framework.
Heleen has experience working as a field assistant for the Alaska Whale Foundation, collecting and analysing data for projects that examine humpback whale health, foraging ecology, and social behaviour. She has also previously volunteered in animal care for SOS Dolfijn, a rehabilitation centre for small cetaceans in The Netherlands, and worked in ecotourism as a naturalist on whale watching boats in New Zealand. More recently, she became a qualified Marine Mammal Observer and Passive Acoustic Monitoring operator.
Heleen was born and raised in The Netherlands but came to Norway over five years ago, drawn by the outdoors. She loves both the roughness and the beauty of the Arctic and takes every opportunity to be out in nature, whether that be through sailing, hiking, or freediving.