Our Team

Tobacco Caye Marine Station James
Tobacco Caye Marine Station Delilah

James Troughton

Station Manager

Hi, I’m James and I am originally from Wales in the UK. I am incredibly passionate about our oceans and Caribbean reef ecology. I manage all the educational programs and all of the research projects at Tobacco Caye Marine Station.

I love sharing my knowledge about the local marine environment of Belize and I am very excited to have started several research projects at Tobacco Caye Marine Station geared towards monitoring and improving our local marine environment as well as inspiring the next generation of marine scientists and conservationists.

Zara and I have been a couple since 2013, we got engaged on Tobacco Caye in December 2019 and got married in 2021.

You can learn more about me here.

Tobacco Caye Marine Station SCUBA Diving

Zara Troughton

Business Manager

Hey! I’m Zara and I manage the business side of the marine station. I coordinate all group programming, communicate with faculty group leaders before their arrival on the island and have started initiatives such as the internship program and Lionfish Expeditions. I also manage the station’s social media accounts, along with the station’s finances, ordering for the gift shop and generally making sure that the station runs well.

I am keen to try new experiences and love to travel. I have experience in the not-for-profit sector and have worked in the UK and Australia.

Myself and James became the Station Managers in December 2018 and we have had an incredible four years living on Tobacco Caye so far.

Tobacco Caye Marine Station Zara Hard At Work

Ronny Gongora

Assistant Researcher


Hello! I’m Ronny. I am a Belizean born local with a love for marine life. I’m a graduate from the University of Belize, with a Bachelors of Marine Biology. I’ve had a passion for the marine environment ever since I was a child going to Caye Caulker with my family. I am proud to be a member of the team as a Secondary Marine Biologist to assist James with all things marine. I am very knowledgeable in Belize’s many species of fish and coral. I’m always excited to share information with people about the life found under the sea.

I’ve done many dives and surveys throughout Belize and have a love for research. At Tobacco Caye I am able to do two of my favorite things, which is monitoring coral and fish, and educating people about what is happening within Belize. Every time someone says they’ve learnt something from me, I am reminded what I’m doing is making a difference and leaving a mark on others. My favorite marine animal is the Spotted drum.  

Taylor Dupont

Assistant Teacher


Hi everyone, Taylor here. I am the new Assistant Teacher at the station for the 2023 season, coming from Ontario, Canada where I am a certified teacher. I hold a Bachelors in Environmental Studies from the University of Guelph, I specialized in Outdoor and Experiential Education at Queen’s University, and I’m also PADI Dive Master certified! I’m passionate about educating students on the importance of sustainability, and learning through outdoor hands-on activities. I am the lead on our Reef Clean Up Project, where we integrate projects such as a reef trash collection, eco-brick building, Nurdle surveys, and trash-into-treasure activities.

The best part about this job is inspiring a love for the marine environment, and seeing students gain a deeper respect for the ocean. We are all stewards of the Great Blue!

My favourite fish on the reef is a Spotted Eagle Ray.

Tobacco Caye Marine Station Zara Hard At Work
Tobacco Caye Marine Station Delilah on Watch


Chief Island Escorter

This is Delilah, she has been with the station since January 2020. She walks with a limp as she jumped on a stingray and the barb went through her leg many years ago. Delilah is a real sweetheart and loves having student groups and visitors to the island. She likes to follow people around the island and can even be seen swimming in the ocean with the station managers day or night!


Chief Lionfish Tester

Mush has been the station’s cat since 2015. She is a bit of a princess and likes to sit on the steps of the station to watch the world go by. She loves being in the classroom when lionfish are being dissected and always asks for a piece of juicy lionfish fillet. Mush loves to sleep in the sun and nibble on the lemongrass in the station’s garden.

Can you spot mush eying up the lionfish?

Tobacco Caye Marine Station Hands On Learning
Tobacco Caye Marine Station Mush Chief Lionfish Tester


Junior Lionfish Tester

Meet Wish. He is a fearless 2 year-old that loves to play with his new pal, Mo. Wish can be spotted during the Lionfish dissections, where he patiently waits to be thrown a nice fillet of invasive fish samples. When Mush is snoozing, you can always count on Wish to sub-in as junior taste tester in training. 





Tobacco Caye Marine Station Mush Chief Lionfish Tester


Junior LionFish Tester #2

Miss Mo (Moana) was just a kitten when she showed up at the Station in early 2023. It still remains a mystery how she arrived to Tobacco Caye. She is very playful and loves to chase Wish. She is a very talkative cat, who enjoys begging for treats from all of the Station’s staff. Mo will soon learn the ways of the island by her two comrades, and how to develop her Lionfish palette.