Island Lives, Ocean States

Research Team

The OceanStates Research Team: This overview of present and past members of the OceanStates research team includes those in permanent University of Bergen positions, those who have held fixed-term positions at the university, as well as some of our key visiting researchers who have spent significant periods of time with us here in Bergen. There are also others whose work will be described in our section on 'Pacific partners'.

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Edvard Hviding

Edvard Hviding is a professor of social anthropology at the University of Bergen, and is the Grant Holder and Project Director of OceanStates. He is the founding director of the Bergen Pacific Studies research group. His research record has focused on the Pacific since 1986, and includes four years of fieldwork in Solomon Islands and brief work in many other countries of the region, as well as more recent participation in United Nations diplomacy focused on ocean, climate change, the Pacific Islands and the 2030 Agenda.




Noel Keenlyside

Noel Keenlyside is a professor in tropical meteorology at the University of Bergen's Geophysical Institute and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, and supervisor for the OceanStates Oceanography group. His work focuses on understanding and predicting climate. He has led the development of Norwegian Climate Prediction model and the supermodel approach to climate modelling. In the OceanStates project Keenlyside provides supervision and expertise on projections of sea-level rise and associated uncertainties, using his experience in interdisciplinary cooperation to work with other team members to make this information of most use to the project.



Ernst Nordtveit

Ernst Nordtveit is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Bergen's Faculty of Law, where he has also been Vice Dean for research (1996-1998) and Dean (1999-2009). His research interests are Natural Resource Law with a focus on Energy and Climate Law, Law of the Sea and Environmental law in general. He is especially interested in the development of new legal instruments that could help create sustainable development. Nordtveit has participated in several multidisciplinary projects with biologists and social anthropologists, and contributes to the OceanStates project as supervisor and expert on law and conducts research related to the effects of climate change on established legal positions.



Miriam Ladstein

Miriam Ladstein is an anthropologist and a PhD Candidate with the OceanStates project, in the Department of Social Anthropology. Ladstein's research explores the connection between cultural heritage practices, climate change, and socio-political transformations at the grassroots of the Pacific ocean and climate activist movements. Ladstein’s previous research for the MA focused on the cultural dimensions of climate change, environmental perceptions, education and upbringing, and community resilience, with fieldwork experience from Fiji and Samoa. 



Ashneel Chandra

Ashneel Chandra is currently a PhD Candidate at the Geophysical Institute exploring tropical intraseasonal variability and ocean heat content with Professor Noel Keenlyside, and a researcher with the OceanStates project. Chandra’s PhD position is the result of a joint United Nations commitment by UiB and The University of the South Pacific (USP). His MSc research at the USP explored tropical cyclones–ocean interactions as well as using lightning as a proxy for predicting tropical cyclone rapid intensification.




Håkon Larsen

Håkon Larsen is a social anthropologist who is currently positioned as a PhD candidate at the University of Bergen. In his research, Larsen focuses on prefiguration processes of deep-sea mining, ocean conservation and development in the Pacific. With fieldwork experience form Fiji, Larsen's previous work has centered around issues of subsistence economics and resilience in the island group of Lau.




Milla Vaha

Dr. Milla Vaha is a Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Affairs at the University of the South Pacific, based at the Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji. Her research focuses on ethics and world politics, and she has a special interest in studying rights and responsibilities of states in the era of climate crisis. As a part of OceanStates project, she explores in depth the conceptual and normative nature of climate change as existential threat, as well as the changes in ideas and practice of state sovereignty. In 2021, she published the book The Moral Standing of the State in International Politics. Dr. Vaha was an OceanStates visiting researcher in Bergen in 2022 and 2023.


Jennifer E. Telesca

Dr. Jennifer E. Telesca is Associate Professor of Environmental Governance in the Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment at the Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University, the Netherlands. In 2020, she published the book Red Gold: The Managed Extinction of the Giant Bluefin Tuna, which illuminates ethnographically the structural conditions precipitating the loss of one of the ocean's most majestic creatures. Her work takes a multidisciplinary approach to ocean studies anchored in anthropological ways of knowing about law, economy, and state. For the OceanStates project, Telesca conducts on-site investigations of environmental diplomacy to track the development of ocean governance through fieldwork at the United Nations and affiliated bodies. Dr. Telesca was an OceanStates visiting researcher in Bergen in 2022.


Camilla Borrevik

Dr. Camilla Borrevik was an OceanStates postdoctoral fellow and the project's Deputy Director at the Department of Social Anthropology from 2019 to 2021. She is now a senior advisor at the University of Bergen's Division on Research and Innovation. Her research has focused on climate change, diplomacy, policy, epistemology and Pacific regionalism. Borrevik completed her PhD in social anthropology at the University of Bergen in 2019 with the dissertation “We started climate change”. A Multi-level ethnography of Pacific Climate Leadership, based on fieldwork experience from Palau, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Fiji, and from the UNFCCC climate change negotiations. Borrevik has previously worked for various employers concerned with Pacific issues, including non-governmental organisations, diplomatic missions, archival institutions, and the United Nations.


Vandhna Kumar

Dr. Vandhna Kumar was a postdoctoral fellow on the OceanStates project, based at the Geophysical Institute, from 2019 to 2023. In 2021 - 2023, she was OceanStates Deputy Director. Her research in OceanStates has focused on refining sea-level rise projections for the Pacific islands using state of the art climate models and downscaling techniques. Kumar completed her PhD in physical oceanography at the University of Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier. She is from the Fiji Islands and has a long-standing affiliation with the University of the South Pacific. Kumar’s aim is to contribute to integrating climate science and community-level adaption to climate change and sea-level rise in the Pacific islands.



Joanna Siekiera 

Dr. Joanna Siekiera is an international lawyer, and was a postdoctoral fellow on the OceanStates project from 2019 to 2023. During her PhD studies, she was granted a scholarship at Victoria University, Wellington (New Zealand). Siekiera then worked at Polish diplomatic missions and as a lecturer and legal adviser at the War Studies University in Warsaw, and has experience in UN CIMIC, Cultural Heritage Protection in Russia, Humanitarian Law in Poland, and Science Diplomacy.




Eilin Holtan Torgersen

Dr. Eilin Holtan Torgersen is a Project Manager and Research Advisor at the University of South-Eastern Norway's Section for Research and Innovation. Torgersen completed her PhD in social anthropology at the University of Bergen in 2022 with the dissertation Lavaland: Vernacular Seismology in Volatile Volcanic Environments in Puna, Hawai'i, based on long-term fieldwork in the Big Island of Hawai'i. Her research involves Oceania, Hawaiʻi, volcanoes, spirituality, epistemology, environment, and performativity. In 2018 - 2019, Torgersen worked as OceanStates' research administrator during the startup of the project, developing the graphic profile, website design, logos, and information materials for OceanStates.


Anja Marie Solheim

Anja Marie Solheim is a lawyer with a degree from the University of Bergen. As a student at the university's Faculty of Law, and with experience from the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations in New York, Solheim was part of the OceanStates-team as research assistant in 2018 - 2019, in charge of compiling, organizing and constructing the online OceanStates UN Document Collection.