After majoring in botany for her undergraduate degree, Merel completed her Ph.D in Ecology and Evolution in 2002, specializing in rare beaked whales. She subsequently spent several years studying these enigmatic animals off eastern Canada, before returning to Australia in 2005 to continue her work on Southern Ocean cetaceans. In 2009, she re-trained as a wilderness guide focusing on environmental education and trekking, when she recognized that her true passion lay in reconnecting people with nature. She continues to do scientific research as time allows, and recently discovered a new beaked whale in the tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean. She travels extensively, has led trekking trips in Madagascar and Ethiopia, and also works as a naturalist and guide on small expedition cruise ships. When based in Australia, she works primarily as a bushwalking guide. Merel combines her enthusiasm and passion for the world’s wild places with a burning curiosity to know all she can about them.