Jillian grew up on a lake in Maine and her love for water started at an early age. Snorkeling with manatees at the age of 9 solidified her desire to work with marine animals. An internship with Mote Marine Lab’s Center for Shark Research sparked her continuing exploration & research of sharks around the world.
After graduating from the University of New England with a degree in behavioral biology, she took a job as divemaster/naturalist & crew on a research vessel based in Key West. Onboard Jillian worked with National Geographic, Mote Marine Lab, Wes Pratt & Jeff Carrier, Sylvia Earl, NOAA, National Marine Sanctuaries, Dr. Samuel Gruber and REEF. It was during this time that Jillian was first introduced to underwater photography and video.
Jillian then traveled to California as a naturalist and onstaff biologist for white shark cage diving in the Farallon islands. Working with Ocean Outreach, a non profit organization, she taught passengers the importance of conservation and understanding.
Upon returning to South Florida, Jillian bought her first underwater camera setup and began shooting her adventures. Her next destination was a remote part of Western Australia as part of the Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project. Shark Bay is home to the largest seagrass beds in the world and provides a unique ecosystem comprised of tiger sharks, marine turtles, dugongs, rays & dolphins. The goal of the project is to understand the connection between species in the system as a means of conservation worldwide.
In between travel and research projects, Jillian continued her dive education and eventually earned her rescue diver, divemaster & Open Water Scuba Instructor Certifications. She is also very active in school outreach programs around the country. Jillian joined the elite staff of Aqua Sports, Inc. as an instructor and divemaster. It is here that she has combined her passion for the ocean, education & diving. She leads all the Fort Lauderdale diving as well as the world excursions, doing conservation and marine biology seminars on all the trips. She has quickly become a published and award winning photographer, shooting her experiences worldwide. Jillian and Aqua Sports, Inc. are featured in the July issue of Sport Diver Magazine.
Jillian currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, FL and can be contacted at [email protected]