Peter Auster Peter Auster, from the University of Connecticut, is the Science Director for the National Undersea Research Center and a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences. He is an ecologist and conservation biologist whose focus is marine fishes. Peter uses a range of diving technologies, from snorkel and scuba to deep sea submersibles to study communities of fishes in an effort to understand how and why they vary across underwater landscapes as well as how the behaviors of individuals vary in order to find prey and avoid predators. His research interests extend beyond basic science to include studies of the ecological effects of fishing and the role that marine protected areas can play in the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity.
Laurie Bauer Laurie Bauer is a marine ecologist with NOAA's Biogeography Branch in Silver Spring, Md. She earned her BA in Biology at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and her MS in Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Sciences at the University of Maryland. She joined NOAA in 2006 as a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow. During her time with the Biogeography Branch, her research interests have included an assessment of marine debris and benthic features in GRNMS and an ecological characterization of Vieques, Puerto Rico. Laurie is excited to participate in her first cruise on the Nancy Foster and is looking forward to a productive week.
Catherine J. Carroll Catherine J. Carroll is a graduate student at Savannah State University working on a Master of Science in Marine Sciences and is also interning at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. CJ's thesis project is using the acoustic project data to determine the resident times of snapper and grouper species inside of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She graduated from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Fla in 2008 with a Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology. Her undergraduate work consisted of studying organisms in central and south Florida, as a part of the efforts to restore and conserve the Florida Everglades. She has been a certified SCUBA diver since 1999.
Devin Dumont Devin Dumont with being inspired by his parents, family beach days, fishing trips, and Jacques Cousteau film documentaries, he has always been fascinated by the ocean and its wonders. His interests led him to earn a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston. After earning several SCUBA certifications, he gained experience as an environmental educator at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension-Burton 4-H Center on Tybee Island, Ga where he taught groups of people about coastal ecosystems and wildlife found along the southeastern US. Eager to learn research skills for fisheries management and conservation, he enrolled in a graduate program at Savannah State University where he will achieve a Master of Science in Marine Science in December of 2009. he was very fortunate to have conducted shark research with Dr. Carolyn Belcher of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources-Coastal Resource Division for his master’s thesis. While attending Savannah State, he began volunteering at the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service - Marine Education Center and Aquarium, which is how he sought the opportunity to become Curator of the aquarium in December of 2008.
Sarah Fangman Sarah Fangman is the Co-Chief Scientist on this research effort, and as such is
responsible for the project's overall success. She is the Associate Science Coordinator for the Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region and works out of the Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary headquarters. Originally from Minneapolis, Minn, Sarah moved to Vermont to complete her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies and Biology at Middlebury College. She completed her Master of Science in Marine Affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash. During the completion of her Masters, Sarah had an internship with NOAA and then was awarded a place in NOAA’s Presidential Management Fellowship Program. She has worked with NOAA ever since. She is also a NOAA Advanced Working Diver and Divemaster, and has been a certified diver since college.
Jeff Godfrey Jeff Godfrey worked as a biological Technician/ Research Diver for the Utah Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Utah State University from October 1989 to 10/1997. In 1997, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Biology from Utah State University. After graduation, he took a job as a Marine Ecology Instructor with Marine Resources Development Foundation in Key Largo, Fla. While there, he worked with the Marine lab program, the Scott Carpenter Man in the Sea Program, and was the assistant mission director for the Julies Vern Undersea Lodge. In June of 1999, he accepted the Diving Safety Officer position with the University of Connecticut Marine Sciences and Technology Center where he has been for the last ten years. During this time, he has been active in the scientific diving community having served on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences as standards co-chair and chair, president-elect and currently as president. He has also co-edited the 1995, 96 and 97 editions of the Diving for Science symposium proceedings. He has also been fortunate enough to work frequently with the NOAA sanctuary program and has worked on projects at the Monitor, Stellwagen Bank, Thunder Bay and Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuaries.
Dave Grenda Dave Grenda is not like the other members of the science crew, Dave is a volunteer - a recreational diver with an interest in marine science. He's a member in several organizations including an Advanced Assessment Team member of Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) in Key Largo, Fla, a Divemaster and Scientific Diver at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Fla, and an Animal Handler at Mote Marine Laboratory Dolphin and Whale Hospital in Sarasota, Fla. His formal educational background is business (a Bachelor's in Aeronautical Administration and an MBA). He spent his first 20 years after college in the Air Force serving as B-52 navigator/bombardier, headquarters staff officer, weapons test director, and finally as weapon safety analyst. Retiring from the military in '97, he moved to Florida and pursued his passion for diving and the ocean. He immediately sought out volunteering options that aligned with his desires.
One organization that quickly caught his attention was REEF. As a member of REEF, he conducts fish population surveys during his recreational diving. REEF is a grass-roots non-profit organization made up of volunteer divers. Divers note on an underwater slate what fish species they see during their dive. After surfacing, the diver submits that data to REEF's central database. The data allows scientists and decision makers to monitor the fish population in the oceans around the US. Any recreational diver can become a member of REEF after some quick initial training. When a REEF volunteer achieves expert status, he can join the Advance Assessment Team and be used for special research efforts like the Nancy Foster. It's a way to "give back" and at the same time enhance the dive experience. Learn about REEF and becoming a Citizen Scientist by visiting www.reef.org
Phillip Hull Phillip Hull teaches Sixth Grade Science at Crawford County Middle School. Phillip is a lifelong learner and enjoys sharing his experiences with students. He is active in school and community, sponsoring the Benjamin Hawkins Naturalist Society which has exposed students to field experiences on Cumberland Island, Pine Mountain, and in the Flint River watershed. Mr. Hull loves teaching, and is thrilled to be a participant in this research cruise.
Karin M Iuzzolino-Paquin Karin M Iuzzolino-Paquin is the assistant curator at the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service on Skidaway Island in Savannah, GA. In her current role she provides husbandry and tank maintenance for the resident marine animals, develops and implements Saturday public programs, and is part of the new PR/marketing campaign to get the word out that Savannah has an aquarium out on Skidaway Island. Karin graduated from the University of New England in 2007 with her Bachelors of Science degree in Marine Biology. She spent two-and-a-half years during her undergraduate studies developing and implementing curriculum-based informal marine science program for the Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Research Education Center at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, while also rehabilitating seals, sea turtle, and harbor porpoises. During this time she also assisted a scientist from Bigelow Laboratories for the Ocean Sciences in his lobster shell disease research. Before coming to the University of Georgia, Karin worked for The Pier Aquarium in St. Petersburg, Fl as a Marine Education and for the Sarasota Bay Explorers out of MOTE Marine Laboratories, giving educational tours of Sarasota Bay. In her spare time Karin is working on her Captains license and AAUS diving certification.
Matt Kendall Dr. Matt Kendall is a Marine Biologist at the NOAA Biogeography Branch in Silver Spring, Md. His research seeks to quantify the links among organisms and their habitats at multiple spatial scales. He studies habitat features through in situ and landscape scale data to create spatial and thematic maps. These maps are further used on ecological studies, such as the acoustic project, to advise spatial management tools. Dr. Kendall received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and has worked for NOAA since 1999.
Kracker is a Geographer with NOAA working at the Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research in Charleston, SC. Before moving south ten years ago, she completed her PhD in Geography and GIS at the University of Buffalo and conducted research in the Great Lakes. For her, a geographic or spatial perspective provides an excellent framework for studying aquatic environments or seascapes. She has wondered about how things interact in the natural world since the time she built her first 'closed ecosystem' of a nearby creek when she was in third grade. Today, Applying this perspective underwater allows her to think about the integration of factors that influence a place and how processes occurring in a place define it. She has ventured into the world of underwater acoustics, GIS and fisheries simultaneously. In her current research, acoustic technology serves as the data collection tool, GIS provides a way to map and visualize the information spatially, and fisheries and aquatic systems motivate me to ask why. At NOAA she applies these tools to coastal water quality issues, as well as marine mammal and fisheries studies. She has been working with researchers at Gray's Reef for several years, using acoustic survey methods to help quantify biological resources and habitat use within the Sanctuary.
Ian Le Clair Ian Le Clair is an undergrad and scientific diver at the University of Connecticut. He is majoring in Coastal Studies with a minor in Marine Archaeology. His interests include underwater HD video capture of wrecks and sea-life. His career goal is to create educational films about the Underwater World.
Greg McFall Greg McFall is the Co-Chief Scientist for this cruise and Research Coordinator for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary and as such, will be able to use the information from the tagging project to help answer management related questions pertaining to fishery resources. Greg offers a lifetime of extensive diving experience, as well as wealth of knowledge about marine ecology. Greg has a bachelor's degree in Biology from West Virginia University, and received his Masters of Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Prior to working with the Office of National Marine Sactuaries, Greg worked with the UNCW team at the National Undersea Research Center and with the Chemical Ecology laboratory.
Victoria Price Victoria Price is a 5th-year coastal studies major at the University of Connecticut. Her research interests include piscivore ecology and commercial fishery economics. She enjoys fishing and scuba diving, and couldn't imagine living anywhere but on the water. Victoria is thrilled about the opportunity to be a part of the Nancy Foster team and expand her knowledge of current technology and research in the field.
Rodney Tumlin Rodney Tumlin teaches 6th, 7th & 8th grade gifted science at Jones Middle School in Dallas, Georgia. Rodney is married with three grown sons and is excited about being selected as a "Teacher at Sea". Rodney grew up in the hills of North Georgia, and has always loved the sea. As part of his teaching responsibilities, Rodney has been taking students to the Georgia Coast and Crystal River Florida for 13 years. He is a certified scuba diver and an avid saltwater angler. He feels very lucky to be able to work along side marine scientists on the Research Ship "Nancy Foster" this summer.
Team Ocean aboard the RV Nancy Foster
Team Ocean is a group of volunteer divers with NOAA scientific diver certification. They help Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary with various tasks, such as the acoustic tagging project. With the acoustic tagging project, Team Ocean mainly volunteers for dives to help implement, maintain, and download receivers located in the field. Without their help, locating the receivers and performing the necessary tasks would be too much for the project handlers. The current Team Ocean volunteers are:
Jeff Hart Jeff Hart joined the Team Ocean group at its inception in 2008. Originally a native of Cleveland, Ohio, Jeff moved to Savannah, GA in 2005 from Oklahoma City, OK, where he received his original dive training in the lakes of Oklahoma and Texas. Prior to Team Ocean, Jeff worked as a volunteer diver at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, SC. He currently works in the aerospace industry as a Flight Dispatcher.
Mike Mullenix Mike Mullenix earned B.S. in Chemistry in 1994 and a B.S. in Biology in 1995, both from Armstrong-Atlantic State University. He has since worked as an Analytical Chemist in the Savannah Ga. area where he lives with his wife and two young daughters. Mike is serving his fourth year as Vice President of Blackbeard's Scuba Club, a not for profit organization that promotes safe recreational diving and education. In 2008 he earned his Scientific Diver certification as member of Team Ocean, part of the NOAA volunteer diving program. Having participated in several research dives, he is now awaiting his first mission onboard the Nancy Foster.
More Support from the RV4106, RV Sam Gray, and RV Marguerite
Dawn Franco Dawn Franco earned a B.S. in Biology in 2002 from Old Dominion University in Norfolk VA. She worked as a Lab Technician, in the Age and Growth Lab, for the Center for Quantitative Fisheries Ecology in Norfolk, VA from 2002 to 2004. She is currently working with the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division. She hopes to further her education by pursuing a Masters Degree, focusing on fisheries science, in the near future.
Patrick Geer Patrick Geer is the Research and Survey Program Supervisor of Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Resources Division. He received his B.S. in Biology from the State University of New York at Oswego and his M.S. in Biological Oceanography from Old Dominion University. He’s worked at CRD since 2002 supervising many of the fishery independent and dependent surveys and projects. Prior to joining CRD, he spent 14 years at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary as principal investigator of their juvenile monitoring surveys.
Matt Hinman Matt Hinman is currently working for Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division, as a long-line technician. This is Matt’s third year working on this project and he enjoys every minute of it. Matt reports that he is amazed every time he venture offshore at the incredible things that are out there. Matt will never a pass up an opportunity to drop a hook in the water!
Donna McDowell Donna McDowell is a level two Marine Technician at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources within the Coastal Resources Division. Since 2001, she has worked creel surveys, carcass recovery, and gill and trammel net surveys. Donna’s main duties include the management of the cooperative tagging program, lead technician on two longline projects investigating abundance of shark species and adult red drum in Georgia waters, collecting large trout otoliths from local fish tournaments on weekends, and during her down time, which is only three to four months from January through March, conducts fish ageing in the lab. She is also a certified scuba diver with many dives on the wrecks and reefs along Georgia and Florida and has participated in buoy maintenance and deployment. Donna completed her B.S. in Marine Science from Savannah State University in 2002 and is currently working on her Masters at SSU. Her thesis project will focus on one of Georgia’s most important recreational finfish, the southern kingfish or “whiting” as it is known locally. She has a passion and appreciation for the outdoors.
LTJG Chad M. Meckley
LTJG Chad M. Meckley is a NOAA Corps Officer currently assigned to Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary as the Vessel Operations Coordinator. He joined the NOAA Corps in 2006 and, prior to his assignment at Gray's Reef, he was the Navigation Officer and an Officer of the Deck aboard the NOAA Ship ALBATROSS IV out of Woods Hole, Mass. Chad is a certified NOAA working diver, dive master, and medical person in charge. He hails from Reading, Pa. and received his Bachelors of Science degree in Geo/Environmental Studies from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. Chad is excited to be part of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and is looking forward to this and future expeditions.
Todd Recicar Todd Recicar is the Vessel Captain for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. He started full time with Gray's Reef in June of 2007. After receiving a BS in Biology at Florida State University, he completed two Marine Education Internships; one at Newfound Harbor Marine Institute in Big Pine Key, Florida and the second at the University of Georgia's Marine Education Center and Aquarium in Savannah. After the completion of these internships, he worked as a research technician at the University of Georgia's Shellfish Research Laboratory in 1999. Prior to becoming a Gray’s Reef employee he worked for 5 1/2 years as second mate on the 92 foot Research Vessel Savannah which is operated by the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. Todd is a NOAA Working Diver and carries a 100GT USCG license.
Eric Robillard Eric Robillard supervises, administers, directs, and coordinates all activities associated with the Fishery Independent Unit (FIU) of the Research and Surveys Program (RSP) with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division (CRD). He also serves as Diving Safety Officer, Instructor, and chairman of CRD Dive Committee. Eric has a bachelor's degree in Biology from Eckerd College, and received his Masters of Oceanography from Old Dominion University.
Spud Woodward Spud Woodward has been employed with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for 25 years and has served as the Coastal Resources Division Assistant Director for Marine Fisheries since 2002. He supervises the daily operations of a 35-person workforce of marine scientists, technicians, and vessel captains and administers an annual budget of $3 million. He is actively involved in development of state, interstate, and federal marine fisheries conservation and serves as Georgia’s administrative commissioner to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and agency representative on the Gray’s Reef Sanctuary Advisory Council. A state and federally licensed guide and vessel captain, Woodward has contributed over 100 articles to both professional and popular publications and has been featured in several episodes of Georgia Outdoors, and on the ESPN production, George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing. He enjoys teaching others about fishing and has conducted more than 200 fishing seminars at boat shows, fishing club meetings, and larger venues such as the Salt Water Sportsman Magazine National Seminar Series, which he has co-hosted twice.
Of course we cannot forget the wonderful crew of the RV Nancy Foster. To learn more about their staff please visit the ship's website.