Asha de Vos

Marine biologist. Educator. TED Senior Fellow. Fuelled by curiosity, driven by nature.

I am a marine biologist and educator with a strong affinity for marine mammals. Armed with degrees from the Universities of St. Andrews, Oxford and Western Australia I aim to increase the conversation about conservation through innovative outreach tools, strong international collaborations and good quality science.

My main research focuses on the blue whale populations around Sri Lanka and forms the first long-term study on this species within the northern Indian Ocean. Currently a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California Santa Cruz, I am working with a team of scientists to try to mitigate the impact of ship strike on this unique population of blue whales.

I author regular submissions to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and serve as a member of IUCN's Cetacean Specialist Group. I publish both scientific and non-scientific articles on all things marine. I am a TED Senior Fellow and a Duke University Global Fellow in Marine Conservation. I have engaged in research and presented my work in the Maldives, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the US. To this end, in June 2012 I was selected as a panelist for the Oceans themed Sustainable Development Dialogue at the UN organized Rio+20 summit in Rio de Janeiro. My work has been showcased internationally by Channel 7 Australia, CNN, the BBC and the New York Times and globally in the print media. I run a blog at as part of my commitment to sharing knowledge and engaging more people in marine conservation.

I coined the term 'The Unorthodox Whale' based on many years of research on the blue whales around Sri Lankan waters and a realisation that they were simply - different. I first presented the concept of 'the Unorthodox Whale' to the world at the TED2012 conference in Long Beach, California.