Speakers - Current Year

Valerie Taylor

Emre Turak

Jayne Jenkins

Julie Adams



Jayne Jenkins

Born and raised in Wales, Jayne Jenkins learned to dive in the chilly waters along the rugged Welsh coastline before moving to Australia in 1973. An avid diver and distinguished underwater photographer, Jayne is actively involved in many facets of the diving industry and has been for over three decades. Working for many years in both the retail and wholesale sectors of the industry, Jayne has been part owner of three dive stores in the Sydney area – two of which remain successful businesses today. Having set up the PADI Travel Network in Australia, she also has considerable experience in dive travel and has organised numerous diving expeditions throughout the Asia-Pacific region. On top of this, Jayne became a volunteer diver with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service in Sydney. This led to Jayne working as a safety diver and researcher for various underwater film, television and photographic expeditions focussing on diving in the Pacific, including the cave diving spectacular Sanctum.

Above and beyond all of this, it is Jayne’s passion and skill for underwater photography for which she is known best. Having been an active underwater photography instructor for many years, Jayne went on to establish the first digital shoot out competition at Lord Howe Island – now an annual event. She has won many awards for her photography and remains a regular editorial contributor to Scuba Diving Magazine and Ocean Geographic. Always willing to donate her images to ocean conservation projects and good causes, a selection of Jayne’s images are currently brightening the corridors of Randwick Children’s Hospital in Sydney. With a love for many of the Ocean’s most threatened inhabitants such as sharks, whales and seahorses, Jayne hopes her images will help to raise funding and awareness to protect these creatures for future generations.

Jayne has always been a generous member of the diving industry and she currently devotes much of her time to the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society (OWUSS) - a scholarship sponsored by Rolex for young underwater enthusiasts. As Vice President and Board of Director member of the OWUSS in Australasia for the past seven years, Jayne has been an invaluable mentor to a lucky handful of scholars and has played a significant part in their lives. In the words of a previous scholar: “The time and effort Jayne devotes to the society has been fundamental in seeing many of us scholars flourish and grow within the diving industry.”

Jayne is always keen to introduce scholars and friends alike to her much loved dive spots around Sydney. Even with a love for travelling overseas and having dived many of the World’s most famous and stunning dive sites, Sydney remains one of her favourite areas. “We are so lucky in Sydney to have such great diving so close to hand and easily accessible”. You will be hard pushed to find Jayne in the water around Sydney without her camera in hand!  Jayne is currently resident photographer /consultant with the Catlin Seaview survey. This is fast becoming a game changing creative scientific project. Using specially designed technology, the Catlin Seaview Survey will record and reveal the world’s oceans and reefs like never before, in high-resolution, 360-degree panoramic vision. This independent, baseline, scientific study of the world’s oceans will enable the global public to see change over time and start planning for the future. (www.catlinseaviewsurvey.org).

 To be involved in such significant work gives Jayne much pleasure and she believes combining science and creativity is key to helping protect the oceans. Still averaging over 300 dives per year, Jayne’s drive and enthusiasm for the ocean is admirable and she has inspired countless individuals to take up diving and to appreciate the oceans.    

Valerie Taylor

Valerie was born in Australia, 1936 and married Ron Taylor in 1963. Valerie was a commercial artist when she first ventured underwater in 1956. In 1960 Valerie took up spear fishing, eventually winning several Australian championships for both spear fishing and scuba. The Taylor's first major underwater film production, Shark Hunters, shot in black and white, was sold to Australian and American television in 1963. In 1967 the Taylor's accompanied the Belgian Scientific Expedition to the Great Barrier Reef as advisors and underwater photographers, for a period of six months. Ron was filming underwater with his own Eclair 35 mm movie camera, in a housing he constructed himself. Since 1969, Ron and Valerie retired from the sport of killing fish, and now capture the beauty of the underwater world on film. In fact the Taylor's started specializing in producing spectacular underwater action on film. Ever since, many international film producers have made good use of the Taylor Film Library. In 1969 the Taylor's formed their Ron Taylor Film Productions Pty Ltd. In the same year came the extremely exciting adventure in the filming of the American feature film, Blue Water, White Death. Ron and Valerie played two of the four main characters in the film, along with Stan Waterman and Peter Gimbel. The Taylor's were responsible for sending the film crew to South Australia to find and film the Great White Shark. In 1969 Valerie took up underwater photography. Ron built underwater housings for Valerie’s cameras which were, at the time, far in advance of anything available in the market place. This, along with her artists eye, enabled Valerie to quickly become one of the world’s top underwater photographers, a position she holds to this day. During 1970 - 71, the Taylor's did the underwater filming and directing for the 39 episode TV series entitled Barrier Reef.

In 1972 and 73 Ron and Valerie produced their own television series, Taylor's Inner Space. This series of 13 films features Taylor encounters with the marine life of the western Pacific. These films were exhibited throughout the world with great success. Valerie, having concentrated on underwater still photography, received excellent exposure in the National Geographic June 1973 issue including having her image on the cover holding the camera and macro attachments Ron designed and built for her. Valerie's stills have also featured in other leading world book publications, such as Readers Digest, Stern, Life, The Bulletin etc. Valerie was contracted to shoot stills in the Virgin Islands for Time-Life's American Wilderness series of books. During 1974 the Taylor's were credited with filming the live shark sequences for Jaws. Since then, Taylor shark sequences have appeared in several "shark" productions, the best known being the National Geographic TV documentary on Sharks showing Valerie being bitten by Blue Sharks while wearing a steel mesh suit.

Other notable feature films they have contributed to include Orca and The Blue Lagoon. National Geographic Magazine used two Taylor picture stories in their May 1981 issue. The cover story being about the shark protection offered by Ron's idea of a suit of mail. The cover was a photograph taken by Valerie was greatly honoured in 1981 by the Underwater Society of America where she received the NOGI award for Arts, and joined Ron as the only husband and wife team to be awarded a NOGI. The Taylor's were special guests at an underwater film festival at Luzerne, Switzerland in 1984, where they met Hans and Lotti Hass, pioneers in the field of underwater photography. Hans has always been Valerie's hero, and it was one of her ambitions to meet him. Hans Hass was Ron’s inspiration to shoot film underwater. On the 4th October 1986, Valerie went to Holland where she was appointed Ridder of the Order of the Golden Ark, by his Royal Highness, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands: Valerie was presented the insignia of the Order of the Golden Ark at Soestdijk Palace. The award was for her work in the field of marine conservation. After this, Valerie went to Sweden where she finalized the picture selection for a large book called, The Realm of the Shark. The book is a biographical account of the Taylor's lives from the late 1950's, until the late 1980's. In 1990, they shot the underwater scenes for a follow up on the 1982 feature, The Blue Lagoon. This film is called Return to the Blue Lagoon. In April 1991, the Taylor's joined with author Peter Benchley, and the American film maker Stan Waterman, working once again with the Great White Sharks, this time in Western Australia. This TV special was about the tragic decline of White sharks. Twice during 1991, Valerie Taylor was a guest of Jean Michelle Cousteau, first on board The Alcyone during the shooting of their special on Great White Sharks. And later in June when Valerie dove with spotted dolphins in the wild. The Taylor's have supplied pictures to help illustrate the Cousteau's book on the Great White Shark. In October 1991 the Taylor's received permission to work in the USA on another Hollywood feature called Honeymoon in Vegas, starring Nick Cage and James Caan.

 In January 1992, the Taylor's went to South Africa for filming on the National Geographic Blue Wilderness series. Here they tested an electronic shark repelling barrier, and became the first people to ever film Great White Sharks underwater without a cage. This event is mainly due to the fact that their cage was torn from the boat during a storm and lost at sea. They continued their tests with the shark repeller over 1993 and 1994, whilst continuing their other film work. Valerie had repelled dozens of sharks using the barrier with amazing success. Later versions of the shark repeller were not as effective. In 1995 Valerie was guest of honour at the Festival of Rome for a celebration of the sea. In April 97 Valerie won the prestigious American Nature Photographer of the year award for a picture of a Whale Shark swimming with a boy in Ningaloo Marine Park. This award is sponsored by National Geographic, Kodak and The American Press Club. The Taylor's latest book BLUE WILDERNESS written by Valerie and photographed by Valerie and Ron won the 1998 Gold Palm Award for images at the 25th. World Festival of Underwater pictures in Antibes France. In October 1999 The Taylor's were Guests of Honour at this festival. On the 15th of March 2000 Valerie was honoree in the American Women Divers Hall of Fame. The Taylor's latest TV series of 3 one hours, IN THE SHADOW OF THE SHARK, is the story of their diving lives. Shadow of the Shark has been sold to National Geographic, Channel 7 in Australia and over 100 other countries. In October 2000, Ron and Valerie were one of the inaugural enshrines into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, on the Cayman Islands. On Australia day 2002, Valerie was awarded the honour of Australian Senior Achiever of the year. Also early 2002 Ron and Valerie received the Serventy conservation medal from the Australian Wildlife Preservation Society. Valerie Taylor is the Patron of the National Parks Marine Association of NSW, Australia.

Emre Turak PhD

Emre is an expert coral taxonomist and leading exponent of coral reef surveys, monitoring and conservation, as an expert consultant with CORMEC (Coral Reef Monitoring, Ecology and Conservation). He has done research on hard-corals in 18 countries across the world, most notably around Indonesia, PNG, the Red Sea, and the Great Barrier Reef. He has dived on thousands reef sites throughout the world, surveying for reef status, ecology and conservation, discovering 16 hard coral species and describing 14 of them. In addition to dozens of reports and published journal papers, together with Lyndon DeVantier he has published a ‘Field Guide to the Reef-building Corals of Brunei Darussalam’, which incorporates in great majority his own photography. He is a skilled underwater photographer and cameraman, whose work has been published and shown on national television. Emre is currently working on COTW (Corals Of The World), a web based Coral ID and Coral Geographic project that will map the distribution of all known zooxanthelate scleractinian corals worldwide, with Coral Reef Research.

Julie Adams : 2013

Julie Adams holds a degree in environmental management from the Rotterdam School of Management/Erasmus Universiteit and has over six years of experience in sustainability throughout the APAC region. She has been trained and mentored by a Dutch multinational company that is the leader in the Down Jones Sustainability World Index. Here Julie worked in the APAC Sales and Marketing Department as the commercial arm of their sustainability strategy. Prior to this role Julie founded and managed the Marinedream Foundation and developed ocean conservation and education programs throughout Asia. Having worked in both the NGO and private sector Julie has an intricate understanding of how to negotiate between the various parties to create a successful outcome for all involved. Julie is the author of “Sammy the Shark in search for Utopia” (publication September 2010 Chinese and English)

Current projects: In January 2013 Julie started Marinedream 2.0 and is a consultant to Indofood, the largest food manufacturer in Indonesia to support their sustainability reporting and mangrove CSR project. Julie is also a regular contributor for eco-business.com, Asia’s Pacific Online Sustainability Community.