Russell Leaper studied mathematics at Oxford University before joining the IFAW research vessel Song of the Whale in 1988 to study sperm whales.
He initially worked on developing acoustic methods to study and count whales. His subsequent research has covered a wide range of marine mammal conservation and welfare issues with an emphasis on survey methods and population assessment.
More recently he has been working to address threats to whales from underwater noise and collisions with shipping. In addition to data analysis he has conducted extensive field work from a range of vessels including several surveys in the Southern Ocean.
Russell has been a member of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission since 1996 and attends as a member of the UK delegation. He has authored over 30 scientific publications and presented more than 50 papers at international conferences.
He also has an MSc in Marine Resource Development and Protection from Heriot-Watt University and is an honorary research fellow of Aberdeen University.