BirdLife Malta is collaborating with partner organisations to fulfil the project objectives. The project partnership is a mix of governmental and nongovernmental organisations who have joined their efforts in past LIFE project partnerships, and which have the necessary roles and expertise to bring a desired change to the future of Yelkouan and Balearic Shearwater populations, throughout their range.


Manya Russo

Project Manager

Manya has a background in marine conservation, having completed a bachelors in Biology and Chemistry, and a Masters in Conservation Biology from the University of Kent, UK. After her studies, Manya went on to working within international consultancies and NGOs in various fields of marine science, gaining experience in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. She has worked across different European funding frameworks and projects, and is currently the Project Manager for LIFE PanPuffinus!


Martin Austad

Seabird Research Coordinator

Martin has a Bachelor’s degree in Earth Systems and a Master’s in Ecology. Martin began volunteering with BirdLife Malta and later became a leader of the youth group Falko and helped out as a licensed bird ringer with the LIFE+ Malta Seabird project. Martin was for 4 years on the LIFE+ Arcipelagu Garnija team as Project Warden. Martin is now Seabird Research Coordinator on LIFE PanPuffinus!


Rita Matos

Project Warden

Graduated in Marine Biology and Biotechnology on the Aquaculture and Fisheries sector at Peniche, Portugal. Since 2016, has volunteered and worked with SPEA (Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds) with seabirds on LIFE Berlengas/LIFE Ilhas Barreira projects. In 2019, Rita joined Birdlife Malta on LIFE Arċipelagu Garnija project and currently works for LIFE PanPuffinus project as a Project Warden.


Francesca Visalli

Project Warden

Francesca has a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Science and a Master’s degree in Animal Behaviour, where she was investigating the reproductive behaviour of Scopoli’s Shearwaters in collaboration with ISPRA, Italy.
She is passionate about seabirds and their fascinating lifestyle. In 2022, she joined the seabird team of BirdLife Malta as a Seabird Conservation Assistant within the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) volunteering scheme, and now she has joined the LIFE PanPuffinus! project as Project Warden. 


Polina Venka

Marine Data and Policy Officer

Polina received a Master’s in Political Science and later on a Master’s in Ecology and Environmental Protection in Ukraine. Apart from interest in researching, Polina used to be a volunteer for WWF Ukraine and has a long interest in nature conservation and work experience in national parks in her home country. In 2019, she joined BirdLife Malta as a Policy Assistant under the EVS programme, after finishing which she got back to her PhD research on the topic of environmental policy.


Mark Sultana

Chief Executive Officer

BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana’s role in this project is to assist the team, in particular the project manager and finance officer, in the decision-making process to direct this project to successful results; as achieved in previous EU LIFE-funded projects that BirdLife Malta has managed over the years.


Nicholas Barbara

Head of Conservation

Nicholas joined BirdLife Malta in 2009 to manage BirdLife Malta’s EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater Project and then moved on to manage the EU LIFE+ Malta Seabird Project, while also managing BirdLife Malta’s growing conservation department. During this time BirdLife Malta secured and concluded also the LIFE Arċipelagu Garnija project before embarking on LIFE PanPuffinus! Nicholas studied conservation biology in the UK, and biology and chemistry in Malta.


Nathaniel Attard

Communications Manager

Nathaniel is BirdLife Malta’s Communications Manager and joined the organisation in May 2016 after a successful 17-year career in the media. Together with his team he is responsible for dissemination of all the information regarding LIFE PanPuffinus! through a detailed communications strategy.


Arturo Palomba

Finance Manager

Arturo has a degree in Business and Economics and a Master’s degree in Economics, Finance and Markets. Arturo spent his first years at BirdLife Malta as an EVS volunteer within the finance department and recently was tasked with heading the finance department where he was also responsible for the previous seabird project LIFE Arċipelagu Garnija. He has since the start of the project has been working within LIFE PanPuffinus! supporting financial and administrative activities.


Alessandra Loria

Education Officer

After obtaining a Doctorate Degree in Evolutionary Ecology and completing a one-year Postdoctoral project, Alessandra wished to dedicate her knowledge and experience to Environmental Education. She believes that engaging the public in actions toward a more sustainable world is essential to contrast the global ecological crisis and find urgent solutions. Alessandra joined BirdLife Malta in 2022.


In Malta the project is also co-funded by the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights