Michael was the Chief Executive Officer of the Save Our Seas Foundation from 2012 to 2019, which allowed him to merge decades of experience in science, conservation and education and his lifelong passion for conserving sharks and the oceans. Born in land-locked Switzerland along the shores of Lake Geneva, Michael’s love for the ocean transcended his personal geography. He attended the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and graduated from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland with a BSc in Zoology.
His initial field experience with sharks began in 1995 at the Bimini Biological Field Station in the Bahamas. He then spent the next decade studying the population and ecology of white sharks around Dyer Island in South Africa. In 2002, he founded the White Shark Trust to support research, education and conservation projects focused on white sharks.
His genetic, tagging and finprinting studies were integral in discovering a link between South African and Australian white shark populations. This work was a major factor in the decision to list white sharks on CITES in 2004. Michael’s research and conservation efforts have been featured in numerous television documentaries including BBC, National Geographic, and Discovery Channel and publications including Science, Nature, BBC Wildlife Magazine, and Africa Geographic. In 2006, Michael co-authored South Africa’s Great White Sharks (Struik Publishers) with the photographer, Thomas P. Peschak.
Michael taught bilingual high school and IB level Biology, Mathematics and Physics classes in Lausanne, Switzerland, and worked for South African Explorer, Mike Horn on the Pangaea Expedition, assisting Young Explorers worldwide to establish environmental and social projects.