Reefscapers is an independent marine consultation company that aims to restore coral reefs in the Maldives and worldwide. It was founded by Thomas Le Berre and Marie Saleem, a couple passionate about the underwater world and in love with the beauty and mystery of coral reefs.
Thomas created ‘Seamarc’ in 2000, now known as ‘Reefscapers’. He first performed audits and environmental impact assessments for multiple projects in the Maldives, from port development to coastal management. However, Thomas quickly realised that coral reefs were being negatively impacted by development and climate change, so decided to explore methods to restore and protect them.
Following several years of researching various techniques, Thomas developed the revolutionary and pioneering coral frame technique that has now been adopted by various coral conservation groups worldwide.
Thomas first partnered with Four Seasons in 2006, developing coral propagation programs at Landaa Giraavaru and then Kuda Huraa. Marine activities were developed, and our Marine Discovery Centres were among the first to open in the Maldives, including the pioneering Fish Lab (set up to breed Maldivian Clownfish in captivity).
Increased guest awareness grew our coral frame sponsorship program, which includes regular monitoring and photography of the growing coral frames, to expand into the largest of its type in the world.
Over the years, Reefscapers has developed partnerships with various resorts around the Maldives, and we have now transplanted more than 8000 coral frames into the ocean, representing half a million individual coral fragments. We have an international team of 20 full-time marine biologists resident in the Maldives, with expertise in coral propagation, marine aquaculture, turtle conservation & medicine.
In 2020, Reefscapers partnered with Sheraton Maldives and the Maldivian Government to create what is now believed to be the largest man-made coral structure in the Maldives. For 2 months, Thomas and a team of dedicated marine biologists worked tirelessly to relocate healthy corals from Gulhi Falhu industrial zone, to give them a second chance on our coral frames (photo).
Reefscapers is looking to expand in the Maldives and grow its network internationally, to keep restoring coral reefs around the world, giving future generations the chance to see the beauty of coral reefs with their own eyes.
Marie Saleem (co-founder & director)
After schooling in the Himalayas, Marie worked for the Maldivian Government as a trainee Marine Biologist and Marine Research Assistant. Following a Marine Science scholarship at James Cook University (Australia), Marie gained a Master’s in Protected Area Management.
Marie worked as a Reef Ecologist at the Maldivian Government’s Marine Research Centre from 1993 to 2009. One of her many projects was the management of shark and aquarium fisheries, and she remains passionately involved with shark conservation to this day. Together with the Pew Environment Group, Marie helped to establish the shark sanctuary in the Maldives, and worked on the Valuation of Biodiversity undertaken by IUCN.
Marie is now a respected international consultant, working on shark conservation with a team of NGOs around the world. The ‘Global Shark Campaign‘ helps governments implement management measures to protect sharks and rays.
Thomas Le Berre (co-founder & director)
French coastal oceanographer and founder of Maldivian environmental consultancy Reefscapers, Thomas has been spearheading the environmental projects in the Maldives since the year 2000.
In 1992, Thomas obtained the Baccalaureat-C (Mathematics & Physics) with distinctions in Vannes, France. He was admitted to the ENSTA ParisTech, one of the French engineering “Grandes Écoles”. While studying there, Thomas took part in several exchange programmes and studied at KTH Stockholm (Sweden) and then at James Cook University of North Queensland (Australia).
Thomas moved to SE Asia in 1999 and has been living and working in the Maldives and Sri Lanka ever since. Along with Marie Saleem, in the year 2000 he founded Seamarc (‘Systems Engineering and Marine Consulting’). As well as running the company (now known as ‘Reefscapers’), Thomas is actively and passionately involved in each project, and continues to develop unique cutting-edge solutions to solve pressing environmental issues.
Sebastien Stradal (marine consultant)
Sebastien gained a Master’s degree in Marine Biology at the University Montpellier (France). This was the fulfillment of a dream kindled by a passion about the marine world that began at a young age growing up in the coastal area of a small city in West Africa.
Sebastien first started his career as an aquaculture technician, with the opportunity of working with varied marine species and multiple productions in Australia, Europe, SE Asia and the Caribbean. More adventures unfolded, as Sebastien went to work as a fish-inspector in the Antarctic and in the Indian Ocean, on fishing vessels targeting tuna and Patagonian toothfish.
After a year at sea, Sebastien went to Thailand to develop coral reef restoration projects for resorts for two years. He then went for one last trip to the Kerguelen Islands as part of a scientific expedition to study the marine life population, before settling down as the Manager of the Marine Discovery Centre, based at Landaa Giraavaru (2014 to 2017).
Always looking for a new challenge, since 2018 Sebastien has been working to protect the marine environment as a Reefscapers Consultant, and continues to develop projects in the Maldives and internationally.
Amélie Carraut (marine biologist)
Amélie grew up by the ocean in the south west of France where she developed a passion for the underwater world. Enthusiastic and motivated, she studied in the UK and obtained an MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity from the University of Exeter.
She started her career as a field supervisor studying a group of chimpanzees in the Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire for conservation and ecotourism. After a year in the forest, she coordinated the communication of a European project to implement sustainable management strategies for skates and ray’s fishery in the North Sea and the Channel.
With a passion and strong interest for corals, Amélie joined the Reefscapers team in 2020. She is now working as our resident Marine Biologist at Sheraton Maldives, managing the coral propagation program, monitoring coral growth, and communicating conservation activities to various audiences.
Sarah Hight (marine communications)
After studying zoology, Sarah decided to become a voice for wildlife and studied a Masters in Science Communication (and Natural History Filmmaking) at the University of Otago. After graduating, Sarah’s thesis film was nominated as a finalist for best student and emerging filmmaker at the prestigious Science Media Awards in the United States. Sarah then went on to work for the film production company NHNZ as a researcher and assistant producer on the award winning show Orangutan Jungle School.
After working in natural history television for almost 3 years, Sarah switched gears and moved into ecotourism where she could be closer to nature. At the Royal Albatross Centre, Sarah educated guests about the importance of protecting seabirds through guided tours, educational workshops and social media content.
When the opportunity to work as a Communicator in the Maldives came up, Sarah leapt at the chance to combine her passion for wildlife with her experience in ecotourism, film-making and science communication. She hopes to use her new role to help raise awareness about the importance of protecting coral and all marine life, into 2021 and beyond …
Martin Whiteley (web dev, photographer)
Fascination with wildlife led to a degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Wolverhampton (UK) and Martin combined a love of photography to study forensics using scanning electron micrographs.
Several IT jobs followed, including the setup and management of inventory control systems for a busy electrical warehouse. A series of promotions at telecommunications company Virgin Media led Martin to a role as Deputy Operations Manager for a large team of IT professionals overseeing the company’s national data centre. This included a year-long project working closely with IBM to design and exhaustively test a disaster recovery plan and technical documentation library.
Following a 3-month global trip, Martin made his home in the Maldives in 2007, initially as a resort Spa Manager, and then since 2011 as the web developer for Reefscapers and Marine Savers.
As a consultant web developer, writer, photographer and social media marketer, Martin’s clients also include/d: Four Seasons, UN-Maldives, Yeoman Group, Atoll Editions, Cosmopolitan-Wrist, Soneva resorts, Hotelier Maldives. He is also pleased to work with and promote several non-profit NGOs in the social & environmental fields.