Our People

Our mission

Reef Life Foundation has funded the research, design, and construction of marine restoration structures that mimic the complex, mineral composition of natural ecosystems. We deploy IntelliReefs to communities that rely on thriving ocean ecosystems for food, economic security, and coastal protection.

Our mission is to revitalize threatened ecosystems through holistic, scientific solutions. We are currently working towards building over a million square feet of reef by 2025, restoring dying coral reefs back to diverse and sustainable ecosystems, and strengthening the communities that rely on them.

What We Stand for

Cultivate Trust

Inspire collaborative, ocean-forward partnerships and research projects. Commitment to local ecological education

Respect the Environment

Ensure our actions preserve ecosystem integrity and biological complexity

Enhance Biodiversity

Our products and projects enhance biodiversity and resilience

Strive for excellence

Use data-driven solutions to provide best-in-world products, service, and employment opportunities

Engage Business

Partner with local business to protect nature and accelerate positive change

Our people 

Melody Brenna


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Melody Brenna has been working with Dr. Sobolev since 2002 creating advanced nanomaterials technologies. She is the original Co-founder of Milestone Architectural in Texas, which received multiple top small business awards. Applying her incredible expertise with material casting, Melody has dedicated her life to restore, revitalize, and protect ocean habitats through nano-science solutions. Her drive to accelerate scientific paths to global coral restoration is what inspires the rest of us to keep moving forward!

Konstantin Sobolev


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Dr. Sobolev obtained his Ph.D. from the Research Institute of Concrete and Reinforced Concrete (NIIZhB),  Russia, in 1993. He leads the Reef Life material science team and works as a professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin.  A major focus of Dr. Sobolev’s research and professional career has been on material strength and durability, which has played an important role in the development of the Oceanite mixtures used in Reef Life’s IntelliReefs structures.

Guyon Brenna


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 Guyon Brenna was the Buckminster Fuller Catalyst winner in 2017 for oceanic structure design and was named one of the 30 Under 30 from Earth X. Guyon founded the Coral Infrastructure Company, which specializes in Coral substrate reconstruction with species-specific nanomaterial cementitious mixes and develops 3D design of art and modular ocean habitats. He also presented at the UN Hawaii, Ocean Conference, and Hague Netherlands on coral restoration through substrate creation.


Student Ambassadors

An elite group of AMA students from the University of Utah have joined forces with Reef Life to enhance our online marketing campaigns. The AMA is a collegiate chapter of a world-wide professional marketers organization preparing students for the marketing rich business climate of the twenty-first century. 

Emily Higgins


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Emily is a coral reef biologist and science storyteller. Her research focuses on evaluating the utility of artificial reefs as a coral restoration strategy and analyzing the similarities between artificial and natural reef communities in comparative studies. Recently, Emily found that IntelliReefs can increase the biodiversity of reef organisms on Caribbean coral reefs and provide refuges to important fish and invertebrate species on degraded reefs. She also uses visual storytelling techniques to amplify the voices of vulnerable non-human communities to empower conservation initiatives.

Shelby Grassick


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Shelby is an animal lover, environmentalist and ocean advocate who works to connect people with nature through digital and graphic design, photography, and videography. With a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology specializing in sea turtle conservation, a post graduate certificate in Environmental Visual Communications, and a long history in design, she works towards merging her talents in order to visually communicate scientific and environmental stories.

Ankur Khurana


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Ankur is an advocate of socio-environmental justice, wildlife lover, passionate storyteller and a proud father! He moved on from a decade-long career in corporate communications to communicate about conservation. With the Reef Life Foundation, he writes about the role of IntelliReefs in restoring reef biodiversity. Ankur also collaborates with UN organization UNESCO MGIEP as an editor, and with organizations such as Birds Canada and The Atmospheric Fund as a visual communicator. 

Hugo Nobre


Hugo is a filmmaker, storyteller, and avid traveller. He uses film as a medium to tell stories that appeal to global audiences and serve to educate, entertain, and inspire people to examine their worldviews. His time spent among other cultures around the world has shaped his voice in film and motivates the stories that he tells. He is eager to take part in new experiences that lead to unforgettable stories and expand his perceptions. Hugo has worked across all levels of storytelling in the Toronto film industry, carefully crafting narratives from location selection to camera angle.

Kyralai Duppel


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Kyralai is a surfer, nature lover, and an ocean conservation advocate. As an undergraduate student at University of California, Berkeley majoring in Society and Environment, she focuses projects on international marine policy and science. For her internship at Reef Life Foundation, Kyralai helps with blog writing and invertebrate identification. One day she hopes to pursue a career intersecting ocean policy, science, and sustainable development in order to protect marine ecosystems around the world.

Olivia Fines


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Olivia is a photographer, storyteller, and wildlife enthusiast. She has a BSc in Wildlife Biology & Conservation through which she became an advocate for all things big and scary including black bears and rattlesnakes! She then went on to complete an Environmental Visual Communication post-grad where her photography hobby grew into a passion for creating compelling visuals. Through her camera, as well as her writing, she enjoys sharing stories about nature and conservation that spark curiosity and inspire people to enact change.

Josh Hanes


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Andrea H. Swensen


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Andrew Kuhlken


Drew Kiel


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Max Gruber


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Reef Life Foundation supports coral science research globally as well as the divers planting corals. Every Purchase goes into the

Create Homes for Corals Campaign

100% of the purchase or donation goes to support coral reef conservation beginning with The Nature Foundation SXM in Sint Maarten

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