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Meet The Reef Teach Team

Get to know the Reef Teach leadership team, we're a fun-loving and friendly bunch but very committed to our work on the Great Barrier Reef and marine conservation world wide.

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Get Wet And Wild With Reef Teach

Living and working on the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns makes for an amazing lifestyle, doing what we all love everyday is the icing on the cake and being able to do our work with such a great group of professionals and friends is "living the dream".

Our numbers vary seasonally with volunteers and interns as well our core staff, keep an eye out for us around Cairns and say hello.

Gareth Phillips - Reef Teach

Gareth Phillips

Principal Marine Biologist
Chief Clown Fish Wrangler

Gareth owns and runs a Great Barrier Reef (GBR) research and education organisation within the GBR World Heritage Area, Reef Teach (est. 1992), for the past 9 years. Gareth has spent 10+ years on the Reef and in that time, he has spent more than 2000 days and completed over 5000 divers on the Reef, delivered over 350 lectures, presentations, speeches and guided thousands of people. Mostly recently he has become one of the first people to be named a Master Reef Guide.

Gareth believes inspiring, positive, accurate information is the only way to conserve not only the Great Barrier Reef but all of the natural world around us.

Natalie Phillips - Reef Teach

Natalie Phillips

Business Manager
She Who Must Be Obeyed

Natalie is the true boss at Reef Teach, despite what Gareth may think! As one of the directors and the only non-biology related staff member, Natalie has a tough job, she makes sure that everyone is in the right place at the right time!

With a mixed heritage of South African, Greek and Swiss, and a background in photography and travel, she also fell in love with the Great Barrier Reef when she moved to Cairns. She is an avid diver and tries to get in the water whenever she can, if you see her on one of these trips, make sure you point out her favourite fish, the amazing Moorish Idol.

Abby Stevens - Reef Teach

Abby Seymour

Senior Marine Biologist
Leading Fish Whisperer

Abby has had a love of the ocean since day one. If she ever went missing as a child, you could guarantee to find her somewhere near fish, even if it was the fish counter in a supermarket! That passion continued throughout her life, becoming a diver at 15, a dive master at 19 and a dive instructor at 22.

Abby studied Animal Behaviour at University in the UK, focussing on fish behaviour. After moving to Egypt to work in the Red Sea as a marine biologist, she completed her Master’s degree in Science Communication over the next few years. She moved to Australia in 2013 and has worked for Reef Teach ever since. Her favourite animal in the world are sharks and she doesn’t care what kind! As long as it has teeth and a fin, she’s happy.

Cara McMeel - Reef Teach

Cara McMeel

Marine Biologist
Sea Slug Charmer Extraordinaire

Cara was born in Scotland and raised in New Zealand. At age 18 she moved to Australia to pursue her passion by doing a Marine Biology degree as New Zealand waters were a little cold for her. This was followed by a Masters in Natural Resource Management as she was fascinated by the way things were run and how she could help. She originally came to Cairns to escape the winter weather of Adelaide but immediately fell in love with the reef and decided to stay!

She has been diving since age 18 and despite the cold, you could never get her out of the water in her hometown in New Zealand. She is passionate about all things marine biology related, with a special love for the beautiful Nudibranchs.

Squidley T Baloney - Reef Teach Underwater Drone

Squidley T Baloney

Underwater Drone / ROV
Marine Stalker & Secret Squirrel

This Reef Teach pilot project is a partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation , with support from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the drone has been donated by Sofar Ocean

Gethin Phillips - Reef Teach

Gethin Phillips

Future Marine Biologist
Giant Clam Trainer

Gethin is the youngest member of the Reef Teach team. The son of Gareth and Natalie, he is following in their footsteps by having already given his first reef talk at school at the age of 6!

Gethin loves nothing more than being in the water and is counting down the days until he can do his dive certification. He gets a little intimidated by the larger fish on the reef as they are nearly as big as him but his favourite thing to see is the spectacular giant clams!

Storm - Reef Teach Customer Liaison


Customer Liaison
Crumb Vacuum & Kitchen Guard Dog

Actings as the focal point for all customer problems, questions or concerns, Storm will steal your heart and given the opportunity, your doughnuts!

When not waiting patiently for Abby to return from the reef, Storm can regularly be found guarding the kitchen or patrolling the visitor centre ensuring everyone is in their place and every place is crumb free.

Acknowledgement Of Country
Reef Teach acknowledges, recognises and respects the Elders, families and forebears of the the Bama Peoples – the Aboriginal rainforest people who are traditional custodians/owners of the lands that cover our region. We also acknowledge, recognise and respect other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who call our region and the Great Barrier Reef their home.