Heike Vester

photo taken by Johanna Hanno

Heike Vester, photo taken by Johanna Hanno, Norway 2014

Biologist / Founder / Director of Ocean Sounds
specialized in social behaviour & bio-acoustics of marine animals

Born in Germany, studied Biology in Berlin and moved to Northern Norway in 1998.
1999-2003 Master thesis in Arctic Biology and Physiology at the University of Tromsø.
Moved to Henningsvær / Lofoten in 2004 and founded Ocean Sounds in August 2005.
Since 2003 studies the behavior and communication of Orcas in northern Norway.
Since 2006 studies all whales and dolphins in the Vestfjord.
2008-2010 Scientific Tourism project in Patagonia, Chile.
Since 2012 teaches Animal Behavior and Biology of Marine Mammals  (Marine Mammal Biology (BI227) at the University of Nordland in Bodø and supervised bachelor and master students.
Currently, works on a PhD on the vocal behavior of killer whales and long-finned pilot whales in Lofoten – in cooperation with the Cognitive Ethology Group at the University of Göttingen in Germany, the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization.
Since 2015 whale and dolphin research and conservation in Raja Ampat in cooperation with Papua Paradise Eco Resort.

..her main interest is to preserve life on this planet by trying to minimize human destruction…

Tobias Kostial

OceanSounds 2nd director photographer, tour operator (, he started working with Heike in 2010 and has now (2014) joined the charity.

 Patrick Griffin

Joined Ocean Sounds in July 2014, is now working as skipper, field research assistant, graphic analysis, 3D Visualiser and Sailing Instructor. He lives in Ireland and helps Ocean Sounds in Lofoten and Raja Ampat 2015.

Astrid Tonka Maehner

Digital Illustration - ©Astrid-Tonka

Digital Illustration – ©Astrid-Tonka

Graphic design, web & illustration. She lives in Germany and made all graphic medias including the website for Ocean Sounds.

 Karolein Noack

Joined Ocean Sounds in 2011 and helps as crew and field assistant and is responsible for social media, she has a background in social sciences (Master in Social Science) and lives in Lofoten.

 Madita Zetzsche

German, came for the first time to Norway in 2006 for holidays and met Heike & Ocean Sounds and has been an assistant since. During her summer breaks from school she helped Oceans Sounds during 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014. Her work with Ocean Sounds inspired Madita to learn more about bio-acoustics and she volunteered at the archive for animals sounds / HU Berlin.
She is now studying Biology at the University of Berlin and assists with the Orca Project of Ocean Sounds and the MPI in Göttingen. She is working on the OceanSounds Killer Whale Photo-ID project.

„As I always wished to be one with the waves -OceanSoul- “

 Felipe Matos

Brazilian who moved to Norway in 2008, got a bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Nordland in Bodø in 2013, and is now coursing a Master in Marine Ecology at the same university. His project in partnership with Ocean Sounds is to study distribution of Marine Mammals in the Vestfjorden from 2006 – 2014 using data acquired by Heike Vester, and correlate this data with sea temperature, fishing, whale hunting, sonar activity, and seismic surveys.

The goal is to monitor marine mammal abundance and see how human activity may or may not have influenced whale distribution in the fjord, and how it changes over time.
His project is supported by Lofotrådet / Bo i Lofoten!

“Distribution of cetaceans in Ves1jorden, Norway, and possible impacts of seismic surveys”
Master thesis by Felipe Matos, Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, University of Nordland
May 2015

Ellyne Hamran

Ellyne Hamran-2014

Ellyne Hamran-2014

Has always loved the ocean since she was a small girl growing up in southern California. She decided to pursue her passion of marine biology and moved to Norway in 2010 to study a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology at the University of Nordland. She started working with OceanSounds in 2012 on her bachelor thesis on Killer Whale Photo-ID and completed her degree in 2012. She further pursued working with OceanSounds on her master thesis studying the vocal behavior and distribution of the Atlantic white-sided dolphins in northern Norway. Her project was supported by Lofotrådet / Bo i Lofoten!.
She completed her Master of Science Degree in Marine Ecology in 2014 at the University of Nordland: Distribution and vocal behavior of Atlantic white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus acutus) in northern Norway.
She continues working for OceanSounds on Atlantic white-sided dolphins.


Tom vanEe 


Student of environmental conservation and management, in the Netherlands, is assisting Ocean Sounds in the field (since 2014) and helps with Photo-ID and video analysis.

 Klaus Ammon


Board member, lives in Germany and is our man for paperwork, marketing, photography, fundraising and all other things that come up.


Scientific Cooperation


Dr. Kurt Hammerschmidt, Cognitive Ethology Group, German Primate Center and University of Goettingen, Germany.


Network Dynamics Group at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics & Self-organization in Goettingen, Germany. Prof.Dr. Marc Timme,  Dr.Sarah Hallerberg ; Dr. Jan Nagler, Florencia Noriega.


Prof. Dr. Jarle Nordeide, University of Nordland, Bodø, Norway.


Fabien Bourlon, Center for Scientific Tourism, CIEP, Chile.


AMBAR, Cetacean Research Biscay, Spain.


MAREFA, The Marine Research and Education Fund of Andenes, Norwegen.


Fredrik Broms, Humpback whale fluke project, AkvaplanNiva Tromsø, Norwegen. We share our photos and sighting information whit Fredrik since 2010.


Dr. Charlotte Cure, CEREMA Dter Est, Regional Laboratory of Strasbourg, Acoustic Group, France. Long-finned Pilot whale Research in the Vestfjord since 2013.


Dr. Patrick Miller, (Reader) Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU), University of St. Andrews, UK.
Long-finned Pilot whale Research in the Vestfjord since 2013.