David Obura (PhD)
 Dr Obura is the coordinator for CORDIO East Africa, supporting activities in mainland Africa and Indian Ocean island states, including research, monitoring and capacity building of coral reefs and coastal ecosystems. A primary focus is the implications of global and local threats to coral reef health and their long term prospects and provision of socio-economic benefits. With the future of coral reefs in serious question, their role as an indicator of impending changes to other natural and human-dominated ecosystems is increasingly critical, to prepare for and mitigate future disasters. He received a PhD from the University of Miami in 1995 on coral bleaching and life history strategies, which has developed into a primary research interest in climate change, coral bleaching and resilience of coral reefs. Other areas of work include the development of participatory monitoring and research tools with artisanal fishers in East Africa, and remote-reef surveys such as in the Phoenix Islands, central Pacific, and in the central and western Indian Ocean. David chairs IUCN’s Coral Specialist Group and the Climate Change and Coral Reefs working group.

For further information, see my following profile pages on:

Professional networks: LinkedIn

Research networks: ResearchGate, and Google Scholar

Social media: Twitter 


Melita Samoilys (PhD)
Melita is a co-Director of CORDIO East Africa based in Kenya. She has worked in coral reef and fisheries research, management and conservation in East Africa, elsewhere in the Indian Ocean and also in the Pacific and Red Sea. She has also contributed to fisheries policy development in Australia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and Somalia, and to regional marine policy development in the Western Indian Ocean. Her focus in CORDIO is research on fish community structure and behaviour to understand climate change and fishing impacts on reefs; improving artisanal fisheries management; and training of managers, researchers and fishers. Her areas of experience are the reproductive biology of groupers and spawning aggregations, marine protected areas, community – based coastal management and alternative livelihoods for conservation solutions.

Melita is currently on a two year visiting Research Fellowship in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford, working with Professors Alex Rogers and Mike Bonsall looking at the impacts of climate change and fishing on coral reefs in the western Indian Ocean.

Melita’s MSc and PhD were from Queensland University and James Cook University, in Australia. She is a member of: three IUCN’s Species Specialist Groups – Groupers and Wrasses; Shark; Snapper, Seabream and Grunt; the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)’s Developing World Working Group, the Society for the Protection of Reef Fish Spawning Aggregations (SCRFA) and the Editorial Board of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Journal.

Current contact details:

Research Fellow

Ocean Research & Conservation Group

Department of Zoology

University of Oxford,

New Radcliffe House, Oxford OX2 6GG

mob: +44 7393622355



Kennedy Osuka (MSc)
Kennedy Osuka (MSc)” style=”fancy” open=”no”] Kennedy is a research scientist at CORDIO East Africa working under Fish and Fisheries program. Having worked with CORDIO since 2010, he has developed great interest in artisanal fisheries research, coral reef resilience, management and conservation. He holds an MSc. in Marine and Lacustrine Science and Management from the universities of Vrije Univesiteit Brussels, Ghent and Antwerpen (Belgium) where he studied the linkage between the benthic structure and fish functional groups distribution in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO). He has contributed in the development of responsible fisheries and building resilience to climate change policies on small-scale fishery of Kenyan coast. His specific areas of proficiency accrued over the years are data management and analysis, fisheries monitoring and capacity building of fishing community through education and awareness. Kennedy aims at improving artisanal fisheries management in Kenya and WIO at large. He is a member of WIOMSA
Mishal Gudka (MSc)
Mishal joined CORDIO as an intern and gradually advanced to the level of a senior scientist assisting with regional coral reef bleaching monitoring and reporting, as well as Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) reporting. He has an MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation from the University of East Anglia, and has previous experience in marine conservation having worked in Zanzibar and Shimoni, focusing mainly on cetacean research and conservation. He is hoping to develop his knowledge on marine science and research related activities, and develop his statistical analysis skills. He enjoys being out in the field (or ocean in this case) conducting surveys, and learning new identification techniques.
Clay Obota (MSc)
Clay joined CORDIO as an intern working under the FADs project and gradually advanced to a research assistant  working on Marine Biology/Ecology, Fish population dynamics, Fish stock assessment & Fisheries management. Prior to this, Clay an MSc Fisheries holder from Pwani University worked with Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute on various fisheries with more emphasis on Fin fish taxonomy and systematics, aquarium fisheries and was part of the team that developed the Kenya Marine Aquarium Fisheries Management Plan. He has also worked with Eco Ethics International-Kenya as a Project Officer (Integrated Sustainable Marine Artisanal Fisheries Project supported by Swedish Society for Nature Conservation).

Biological studies have dominated much of his academic and professional life, with Aquarium fisheries research allowing him to satisfy his intrigue on how nature works and how humans can conserve wildlife through knowledge and understanding. He acknowledges CORDIO East Africa for the opportunity to continue conducting research under the fish and fisheries program.

Besides scientific analysis and reporting/writing on Fish biology and ecology, Clay enjoys sporting and singing gospel music.

James Mbugua (BSc)
James joined CORDIO East Africa in 2014 as a Research assistant working under Dr. David Obura on key Mozambique Channel initiatives (MOZALINK & WWF-NMCi); where he is involved in collation of spatially explicit data on marine habitats, ecosystems as well as retrieval and analysis of ocean physical data on winds, sea surface temperature and Chlorophyll a concentration. His knowledge in Geographical Information System has seen him extend significant support to a multiple of projects including the seasonal review of NOAA bleaching products for the coral bleaching alerts, the TNC mangrove baseline structural surveys of Pate and Kiunga, UNDP-SGP (LMMA mapping). He currently oversee the CORDIO GIS and spatial analysis facility. Prior to that he worked as a team leader for National Forest Plantation Inventory funded by the World Bank through the Kenya Forest Service and as a GIS instructor at the Bell Institute of Technology. He is an alumni of Kampala International University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management and a diploma in the same field specializing in GIS and Remote sensing (RS). He has a passion for GIS & RS and intends to sharpen this tools further other than having a great zeal for open water diving.

Lenice Ojwang (BSc)
Lenice joined  CORDIO East Africa in August 2014 as a research assistant and is currently working on a regional project,  “Emerging Knowledge for Local Adaptation” aimed at transforming coastal and marine resource management by linking knowledge and governance to improve the resilience of coastal communities and infrastructure to the impacts of climate change within the context of Integrated Coastal Zone management.  Prior to joining CORDIO, she worked with CO2 balance/ Carbon Zero Kenya Ltd on Gold Standard and Clean Development Mechanism Projects as a Head Community Projects officer for four years and as an Intern with the National Environment Management Authority. Her participation in the second Africa Carbon forum marked the beginning of her special interest on Climate change and involvement in projects that are climate resilient, environmentally sustainable, socially acceptable and economically viable. To her, successful projects are those that not only touch but transform lives significantly in the face of a changing climate. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental science from Kenyatta University with skills in community mobilization, participatory assessment, monitoring and evaluation of projects. Though she likes all raquette games, badminton has a special place in her heart. 
Randal Mabwa (BSc)
Randy joined CORDIO East Africa as an intern, having cleared his studies at Pwani University with a BSc. in Marine Biology and Fisheries. He has since advanced to the level of Research Assistant, working under Dr. David Obura in the Ocean Health Index (OHI) project that seeks to evaluate the health of marine ecosystems and resource use while delivering benefits to humans. He is involved in data analysis and management, reporting and review. He has recently been involved in marine invasive species baseline survey for the Lamu region and seeks to build the connectivity between species distribution and ecosystems health from future monitoring activities.
Overall, he is keen on improving his analytics and management skills with focus on dissemination and use of graphics for science communication. He is also interested in improving research skills in coral reef monitoring, ecology and conservation. He holds a PADI open water certification and enjoys all things ‘in-water’.



Eva Kitaria (CPA, MBA)
Eva joined CORDIO East Africa in August 2014 as a Finance Manager with over 5 years’ experience in accounting & administration from both private, public and multinational organizations in Kenya. She has worked with the Nairobi Water and Sewerage company as a Debt Authentication supervisor; Airtel Kenya networks limited as a Reconciliation Executive; East Africa Breweries Limited as a Reconciliation Accountant and Co-operative Bank of Kenya Limited as Customer Service Officer. Eva is an open minded and assertive person with great analytical skills, good in time management and loves keeping up with the current changing trends both in the accounting and others fields. She is a Certified Public Accountant in Kenya and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree – Accounting option from Kenyatta University and a Master of Business Administration Degree (Finance) from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
Jason Wiltone Mwamidi
 Jason joined CORDIO East Africa in 2007 as a library assistant and promoted to the accounts department in early 2009 as Finance and Administration Officer. He is a graduate in International Freight Management and holds Certified Public Accountant (CPA II) with 8 years’ experience in library, finance and administration field. He’s currently pursuing Bachelor of Business Management in Moi University. Jason is a poet and with a strong love for nature. He likes relaxing in green and clean environment while enjoying soft music and cold breeze. Being at CORDIO shines a better day and is more cemented to work here. Day by day he feels “yesterdays are not like today”, and it’s been a source of inspiration in search for a better tomorrow.


Former staff

Former staff at CORDIO are listed below:

Michael Murunga (2014-16)
Michael a straightforward talking and eccentric person worked in CORDIO as a project assistant under the Fish and Fisheries program and later as a communication and conservation officer. He holds a first degree in Bachelors of Science in Environmental Conservation and Natural Resources Management from the University of Nairobi.

Prior to joining CORDIO in 2014, Michael worked with WWF Madagascar and Western Indian Ocean Program (MWIOPO), Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), I Choose Life Africa (ICL-Africa) and with the Hirola Conservation Project.

Michael is keen at trying new concepts and sharing research information to local communities in Africa.  He is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Bremen University in German.

For further information, see the following profile pages on:

Professional networks: LinkedIn

Research networks:

Social media: Twitter


Stephen Oluoch (2007-14)
 Stephen was the coordinator of the SPIDER/CORDIO funded project “Empowering women self help groups in Kenya through ICT for better education and alternative livelihood opportunities”. He holds a higher diploma in Project Planning and Management from Premese Africa Development Institute and a diploma in the same discipline at Kenya Institute of Management. Stephen has worked in multi-disciplinary projects for over 20 years with international, regional and local research and conservation organizations including the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in the Social Science Interface Research Unit (SSIRU), ICIPE/Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) and Interactive Socio-economic Research of Insect Pest Management (ISERIPM) and East African Wildlife Society (EAWLS). His current areas of focus include sustainable rural development, conservation, promotion of alternative livelihoods, capacity building using ICTs and adult literacy based on the Swedish model of adult learning with emphasis on adoption of e-learning approaches. The SPIDER project is intended to provide tools for communities along the Kenyan coast to improve their socio-economic status by embracing multiple livelihood opportunities and using the potential presented by ICTs to mitigate resource and economic shocks and uplift themselves from poverty, and play an active role in sustainable exploitation of marine resources.