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Katya Ovsyanikova

About Katya Ovsyanikova

Marine Biology Presenter & Guide


Katya is a marine biologist and an avid traveler, photographer and conservationist. The daughter of Arctic biologists, she started traveling to high latitudes in her childhood, spending time on Wrangel Island while assisting her parents with their research. That incredible experience made Katya fall in love with the Arctic, inspiring her to learn more about its wildlife and ecosystem.

Katya graduated with a degree in zoology from Moscow State University, doing her thesis on the ecology of sea otters on the Commander Islands in the Russian Far East. Since then, she has participated in a number of research projects, ship cruises and private expeditions in the Russian Far East and the Russian Arctic, including voyaging on an icebreaker through the Northeast Passage, studying sea otters on the Kuril Islands and volunteering for the Far East Russia Orca Research Project on the Commander Islands. The Russian Arctic has become Katya’s second home for many years, during which time she has traveled there every summer to work on ships or conduct research. Over the years, she became fascinated with not only the wildlife but also the history and cultural heritage of these places and expanded her lecturing expertise to this area. She has also done a number of private expeditions in Chukotka and on Wrangel Island, including doing 2 snowmobile trips around the Chukotka Peninsula, taking a boat up the Anadyr River and spending a month on Wrangel Island.

Between 2009 and 2016, Katya worked on expedition cruise ships in the Russian Far East, subantarctic islands and Antarctica. She has been on many expeditions in both parts of the world, exploring some wild places in between those trips.

In her spare time, Katya has also participated in a number of volunteer projects as well as conservation and animal welfare campaigns, mainly in Russia. She also gives natural-history lectures to the public, particularly in Russia, to raise awareness of conservation topics.

After several years of working on ships, Katya returned to academia and earned a master’s degree at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the ecology of killer whales in the Ross Sea. She conducted fieldwork for her thesis at Scott Base, New Zealand’s research station in Antarctica, which offered her the opportunity to expand her research experience to the Antarctic region. In November 2016, Katya started her PhD research at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, studying the acoustics and behavior of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in Moreton Bay, expanding her scientific interests to the subtropical ecosystem.

Katya loves sharing her knowledge of and passion for the Polar Regions, their wildlife, history, culture and conservation with other travelers.