The Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines (LAMAVE) is the largest independent non-stock non-government organization dedicated to the conservation of marine megafauna and the marine environment in the Philippines. We strive for conservation through scientific research, policy and education.

OUR mission 

Conservation through Research and Education

Our primary objective is the conservation of marine biodiversity in the Philippines. Using proven and novel scientific data collection methods, we research the abundance and habitats of cetaceans, whale sharks, turtles, shark and rays in the Philippines.  We strive to identify imminent threats facing these species. Our local and international researchers and volunteers work closely with local governments, communities, businesses, and tourists to ensure the conservation of large marine animals through science, education, and advocacy.  The scientific data we gather is used to advise local governments on conservation policy and legislation, to counsel local and regional authorities on sustainable tourism, and to empower local stakeholders to better protect the unique biodiversity in Philippine waters.


The Philippines is located in the center of the Coral Triangle, the ‘global center of marine biodiversity’, an area which is home to 1000’s of marine species especially large marine megafauna. Over 200 species of sharks and rays, 26 species of whales and dolphins, 5 species of turtles and the dugong are all found within Philippine waters. However, many of these species are now listed as threatened or endangered due to a degradation of their natural environment, unregulated fishing practices, incidental capture and pollution. 

Our story

Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines (“LAMAVE Research Institute”) was founded in 2014 by the Filipino members of the research team to develop social responsibility and build local capacity.  Before 2014, LAMAVE was a project of Physalus, a non-stock non-profit organization registered in Rome, Italy (TIN 97507360580). Today both organisations contribute to marine conservation in the Philippines. LAMAVE Research Institute collaborates with local and national authorities and works in cooperation with communities to ensure our continued conservation work in the Philippines, while through Physalus we work to raise awareness for marine conservation in Italy and empower early career researchers to build capacity and advance professionally. 



LAMAVE would be nothing without its dedicated and passionate team.  United by their drive for conservation many of our team are experts in their field, with a focus on science and communication. While LAMAVE specialises in research, all media, (including this website), was produced in house thanks to our communications team. Interested in joining the team? Click here for open vacancies.

Executive Directors

Alessandro Ponzo LAMAVE Executive Director

Dr. Alessandro Ponzo 

Executive Director

Sally Snow LAMAVE Executive Director

sally snow

Executive Director 

Jessica Labaja LAMAVE Executive Director

Jessica Labaja 

Executive Director 

Gonzalo Araujo LAMAVE Executive Director

Gonzalo Araujo

Executive Director 

Project Leaders

Ryan Murray LAMAVE Project Leader

Ryan Murray

BRUV Project Leader

MJ Lamoste LAMAVE Project Leader

Mary Jane Lamoste

Apo Island Turtle Project Leader


Emer Mccoy

Donsol Whale Shark Project Leader


Joshua Rambahiniarison

Bohol Fisheries Project Leader


Our funders and collaborators:

Our work would be impossible without the commitment of our funders and the expertise and support of our collaborators.


Watch the video below to see how we integrate scientific research with community outreach.