Dr. Vanessa Pirotta is a wildlife scientist with a focus on whales, an award-winning science communicator, and a children’s author. She has a passion for using emergent technologies to study wildlife in a noninvasive way. Watch this presentation from the 2022 Global Biodiversity Festival where she shares her experience on an expedition to Antartica to study humpback whales.
Dr. Pirotta’s continued dedication to outreach within schools and with science professionals has seen her recognized as one of the top 100 Women of Influence judged by the Australian Financial Review. Vanessa has also been listed as one of 60 women from around Australia to join Science & Technology Australia 2021-2022 Superstar's of STEM cohort. Vanessa continues to actively engage with schools around Australia and the world by sharing knowledge about her research and encouraging young minds into STEM/STEAM careers.
In addition to whale research, Vanessa is the chief investigator on a major illegal wildlife trafficking detection program. This is a collaborative research program with 1) Rapiscan Systems, 2) the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, 3) the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water and 4) the Taronga Conservation Society Australia. Vanessa and her team are teaching computers to look for illegally smuggled wildlife in luggage and mail pathways.