Naturalist icon Naturalist

Melissa Heres

Melissa Heres is a diver, captain, marine biologist, and hydrographer. Growing up on a farm in a landlocked portion of Germany, she explored the natural world surrounding her which translated into a fascination with the sea and travel.

She began her career by becoming a diver at 16 and fell in love with the underwater world and nearshore tropical environments. Melissa received a B.S. in Marine Biology at the College of Charleston, where she studied abroad in the British Virgin Islands and sparked her interest in coral reef ecosystems. After graduating, she spent time in the Florida Keys working on coral restoration projects and spent her spare time becoming a Divemaster. She then moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands, where she specialized in educating study abroad students & locals about the wonders of coral reefs and nearshore tropical ecosystems through land-based tours, diving, and snorkeling excursions. During her time in the Turks & Caicos, she published a scientific paper concerning coral disease prevalence among the reefs of the islands, and published articles about various aspects of the natural world in the national magazine of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Times of the Islands. Melissa then moved to Key West and the Dry Tortugas where she further worked with corals, mainly coral reef restoration and coral disease intervention, as well as working as a Divemaster during her free time.

Currently, Melissa has combined her love of the ocean and travel and is working as a hydrographer, mapping nearshore environments around the US for the purpose of safe navigation for all mariners. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, surfing, and all activities near or on the water. As a naturalist with Lindblad Expeditions, she hopes to teach fellow explorers about the wonders of the natural world while igniting a passion for conservation.