Graduate Students in the SFRC
Information and photos on this page are used with permission. Content of biographical text does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the School of Forest Resources & Conservation.
Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Graduate Students
FAS PhD Students
PhD Student, Advisor: Mike Allen
I research sea turtle and human interactions. I am planning to look into the threat of vessel strikes in Florida gulf coast waters, by doing both field observations and computer modeling.
PhD Student, Advisor: Charles Martin
I started working on my PhD through the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station in 2019. My research focuses on the effects of salinity on structuring estuarine food webs in the Suwanee River Sound, FL, and other northern Gulf of Mexico estuaries. I am developing modeling and experimental approaches to examine the distribution of fish and crustaceans along the estuarine salinity gradient and determine how variation in species interactions due to changes in salinity shapes these distributions.
Erin Collings Bohaboy
PhD Student, Advisor: William Patterson
I use underwater acoustic telemetry to study post-release mortality and movement of northern Gulf of Mexico red snapper and gray triggerfish. I am particularly interested in the harvesting/discarding behavior of the reef fish charter boat fleet and whether weighted return-to-depth (descender) devices reduce mortality of fish that are caught and released by recreational fishers. I use stock assessment to quantify how recreational discarding, post-release mortality, and potential management regulations affect Gulf of Mexico reef fish stocks, with an emphasis on red snapper.
PhD Student, Advisors: Will Patterson and Rob Ahrens
I am a PhD student conducting research focused on improving age estimates for commercially exploited reef fishes. I use a variety of methods to estimate and validate the ages of two important Florida reef fish, gray triggerfish (Balistes capriscus) and vermillion snapper (Rhomboplites aurorubens). I am also investigating the development of a novel method to validate age estimates using protein orientation in eye lenses. Using this information I will study how improved aging accuracy and precision affect modeled stock dynamics and stock status benchmarks.
PhD Student, Advisor: Ed Camp
I will develop conceptual and quantitative models to assess the potential of artificial reefs as an effective management tool. My first goal is to create a model that will simulate the effects of artificial reefs on a hypothetical recreational fishery.
PhD Student, Advisors: Robert Ahrens and Ed Camp
I am a PhD student in Dr. Ahrens and Dr. Camp’s labs at UF focusing on sustainable fisheries management using stock assessments and management strategy evaluations. I obtained my B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida and my M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University. My current research aims to determine whether there are suitable alternatives to the multinomial likelihood for modeling age and size composition data within fisheries stock assessments.
Holden Earl Harris
PhD Student, Advisors: Mike Allen and Will Patterson
In my dissertation research I seek to understand the ecological and economic conditions that effect the development and sustainability for a commercial fishery for invasive lionfish. Current projects include (1) research, development, and testing of lionfish traps for controlling deepwater populations of lionfish, (2) population-level effects following the emergence of an skin disease in lionfish, (3) detection and removal efficiency of lionfish, and (4) bioeconomic models for a Gulf of Mexico commercial lionfish fishery. My interest in studying lionfish and reef fisheries stem from my background working as a SCUBA instructor, commercial spearfisher, and dive charter captain.
PhD Student, Advisor: Huiping Yang
I am a PhD student and currently examining nutrient accumulation in microalgae and its role in mollusk aquaculture; particularly hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria). I am going to examine total lipid and protein of microalgae and how they contribute to growth and development of hard clam. Before studying microalgae as live feed, I was a fish nutritionist working with artificial feed, especially fishmeal replacement. Feel free to contact me on email or my LinkedIn account if you want to ask about my current or past research. Here is my Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marlyn-kallau-752b695/. Here is my lab webpage: https://www.facebook.com/MSAR.UF.IFAS/?tn-str=k*F.
PhD Student, Advisor: Ed Phlips
Previously, my graduate research with the Phlips Lab consisted of a life history analysis of the algal species Ulva lactuca on the island of Okinawa in Japan. Environmental, normally distributed variables such as solar flux and pH were compared using parametric tests. Typhoon data was also utilized which identified brief interruptions in size and frequency of algal blooms months after the storm actually occurred. My current research working towards my PhD involve an in-depth study of the inflow and outflow of eutrophic waters within the Okeechobee waterway, more specifically the St. Lucie Canal. There has been limited scientific research on the algal, bacterial, chemical and physical composition of Lake Okeechobee waters after they leave the lake proper and enter the canal. It is suspected that during flushing regimes, the suspension and re-suspension of nutrient laden sediments within the water column prime the St. Lucie estuary for eutrophic events. This research would fill a gap in an otherwise very large, lengthy, and costly environmental problem within the State of Florida.
Liz Duermit Moreau
PhD Student, Advisor: Don Behringer
I am interested in disease ecology in fished crustaceans. For my dissertation research I will focus on identifying life history and environmental characteristics of crustaceans that impact their susceptibility to disease-causing pathogens and parasites. I will examine how habitat degradation and fishing pressure in the Florida Keys impact disease in two of Florida’s top fisheries – spiny lobster and stone crab.
PhD Student, Advisors: Bill Pine and Robert Ahrens
I am a rising first year PhD student and will begin research to assess population status and trends in threatened Gulf sturgeon populations in the Gulf of Mexico. We will develop population models to inform restoration actions for this species as part of recovery efforts following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. During my MS at NC State University, I studied the relationships between physical and water quality characteristics of reservoirs and their fish assemblages to potentially better inform sportfish management practices using long-term population dynamic data, ecological monitoring, and standardized sampling.
PhD Student, Advisors: David Chagaris and Mike Allen
My research is focused on analyzing the relationship between freshwater discharge and salinity on estuarine fish communities in the Cedar Key region. This area is influenced significantly by freshwater inputs from the Suwannee River, which has exhibited several extreme low flow events since 2000. Low discharge has likely been due to climatic variability and land use changes and may have considerable impact on estuarine fishes. I am currently constructing a food web model assessing the effect of environmental drivers on the trophic dynamics and fish community structure in this estuary. Species of particular importance will be bay anchovies (Anchoa mitchilli) and striped anchovies (Anchoa hepsetus), as they have been suggested to play significant roles as prey for commercially and recreationally important fish.
PhD Student, Advisor: David Chagaris
I am a first year PhD Student, my research is focused on spatio-temporal modelling. Specifically, I used a food-web (Ecopath) model from the West Florida Shelf (WFS) to simulate the rebuilding of two stocks which have certain niche overlap. Therefore, this model will be used to check if the optimum sustainable yield can be spatio-temporally achieved for all reef fish simultaneously. Finally, a sensitivity analysis on the estimated parameters inside this spatio-temporal food-web model to address the uncertainty of this WFS model.
FAS MS Students
MS Student, Advisors: Matthew DiMaggio and Frank Asche
I graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Agricultural Operations Management and minors in Management and Sales in Agribusiness, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, and International Studies in Agriculture in May 2019. I began work at the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Lab only two weeks after graduation on a project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and I plan on graduating Spring 2021. My work is part of a nation-wide initiative to improve the profitability and create opportunities for growth in the aquaculture industry. Work on the project covers many areas of aquaculture including catfish, East Coast shellfish, hybrid striped bass, tilapia, and tropical fish. I will be focusing on tropical fish, connecting with local farmers in the Tampa Bay area to seek out regulatory inefficiencies in their production processes and provide an economic analysis of farm functions.
MS Student, Advisors: Mike Allen and Charlie Martin
I am a M.S. student at the Nature Coast Biological Station (NCBS) in Cedar Key, FL. I am also currently working with Florida Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Independent Monitoring Program while pursuing my degree. My research focuses on the effects of oyster restoration on nekton assemblages in the Suwannee Sound, located outside the mouth of the Suwannee River. I am collecting fish and invertebrate richness and abundance data along Lone Cabbage Reef to compare differences before and after the oyster restoration. For more information about this project and others along the Nature Coast, visit the NCBS website: https://ncbs.ifas.ufl.edu/
MS Student, Advisor: Vincent Lecours
In my research I use spatial datasets to produce habitat maps and analyze the spatiotemporal dynamics of coastal systems. The focus of my thesis is using imagery collected by unmanned aerial systems to characterize Florida’s intertidal oyster reefs. I am using Object-Based Image Analysis to delineate reefs from surrounding habitats as well as oyster shell from surrounding substrate within an individual reef. Object-Based Image Analysis is a more robust analysis technique than traditional pixel-based methods as it divides images into meaningful objects using spectral and textural characteristics. I will use the information from the Object-Based Image Analysis in a broader seascape ecology context to study which spatial variables may contribute to a reef’s success or failure.
Lab link: https://www.thelecourslab.org/
MS Student, Advisor: Jeffrey Hill
I am a second year MS Student, focusing my research on risk based approaches to evaluate Alligator Gar aquaculture in Florida. There is interest in Florida to commercially culture Alligator Gar for food and out-of-state ornamental sale. These activities are not currently permitted due to the harvest closure on Alligator Gar implemented by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 2006. Alligator Gar are imperiled throughout much of their native range, however, there is concern for invasiveness if regulations are changed to allow for commercial aquaculture in Florida. Before making a decision concerning commercial aquaculture, evaluation of the risks of establishment and impacts is prudent. An extensive literature review and biological synopsis, risk screens, and a stakeholder-inclusive qualitative risk assessment will be used to assess risk of invasiveness.
Lab Webpage: https://tal.ifas.ufl.edu/
MS Student, Advisor: Charles Martin
I am a first-year master’s student and my thesis is focused on examining freshwater fish preferences of submerged aquatic vegetation through both field sampling and habitat choice experiments. My findings will be used in an adaptive restoration project to plant 5 acres of vegetation in Lake Apopka, an environmentally degraded lake outside Orlando. I am also conducting a global, systematized review of tested and reported sound production in fishes, and working on projects looking at the effectiveness of passive acoustic recording for ecological monitoring.
MS Student, Advisors: Ed Camp and Shirley Baker
I am a MS student interested in benthic invertebrate ecology. My research focuses on the dynamics of predator-prey interactions on oyster reefs, specifically how factors like variations in salinity and prey density mediate mortality by predation. I am conducting a field experiment to assess differences in oyster mortality and predator abundance along natural gradients in the Suwannee River estuary.
MS Student, Advisor: Mike Allen
I am a Master’s Student working out of the Nature Coast Biological Station in Cedar Key, FL. My research focuses on Spotted Seatrout Management. Specifically I am evaluating how environmental factors have influenced recruitment of Spotted Seatrout in the Cedar Key Estuary within the last few years using age and growth methods.
MS Student, Advisor: Juliane Struve
I have spent over 800 days at sea or in the field conducting protected species surveys, including photographic identification mark-recapture surveys, biological sampling, and large-scale ship-board abundance surveys of cetaceans. My master’s thesis focuses on questions of common bottlenose dolphin metapopulation abundance, distribution, and inter-population connectivity in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.
MS Student, Advisor: Don Behringer
I am heading in to my second year as a master student and focusing on the effects of predatory drills on Florida bay scallop growth, mortality, and parasite load. Drills are a type of predatory gastropod that feed on molluscs such the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica and the bay scallop Argopecten irradians. They have been known to eliminate entire oyster reefs and drive declines in commercial and recreational fisheries. The abundance and potential effects of drills on scallops has not been well studied. Not only can heavy predation from these snails cause population declines but sublethal drill predation has the potential to transmit disease from infected to healthy individuals or between different molluscan species, which could have further population and fishery implications. I will be conducting surveys, creating disease profiles for both drills and scallops, and preforming transmission experiments to further understand these potential threats.
MS Student, Advisor: Matt DiMaggio
I am from Madison, Wisconsin where I received my B.S in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduation I moved to Florida and worked at two different marine ornamental aquaculture facilities where I fell in love with the culture of marine species. I am now working towards my M.S in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Lab in Ruskin, FL. I am conducting larviculture research on three pelagic spawning species of marine ornamentals by manipulating environmental and nutritional parameters during early life stages. After receiving my M.S I hope to help manage an aquaculture facility or work at a public aquarium.
MS Student, Advisor: Lindsey Reisinger
My research investigates the role of pathogens in biological invasions and their potential use to control invasive crayfish populations. First, I will identify the pathogens present in native and invasive crayfish species within Wisconsin. Then I will select a few candidate pathogens for laboratory studies to observe the potential effects on behavior and mortality of both native and invasive crayfishes, with hopes of identifying a pathogen that will decrease the survival or competitive ability of the Rusty Crayfish.
MS Student, Advisor: Ed Camp
My research is focused on developing a quantitative analysis of ecosystem services that oysters provide. This project aims to estimate return on investment for inclusion in restoration costs with hopes that it will provide a framework for managers when wanting to restore oysters. I am currently using the ecosystem service program inVEST to assess return on investment of the Lone Cabbage Reef Restoration Project in Suwannee Sound, Florida.
Masters of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Students
MFAS Student, Advisor: Chuck Cichra
I started the pursuit of my online MFAS degree this May and aim to graduate in spring 2022. My research project will likely be centered around an upcoming research project I am set to initiate here in South Carolina for the SC Department of Natural Resources. We have ~20 small public fishing lakes in the State Lakes program and these lakes are routinely becoming “bass crowded” with the ever-declining desire of anglers to harvest largemouth bass. My project will involve heavy largemouth bass removal via electrofishing to ascertain if this can make a positive impact on two of our bass crowded lakes. I plan to look for changes in both the largemouth bass population characteristics but also look for changes in the bluegill population characteristics. If successful, this could serve as a management blueprint for our and other agencies’ bass crowded public fishing lakes.
MFAS Student, Advisor: Savanna Barry
I am a distance MFAS student based out of St. Pete, Florida. Currently I work at Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Research and Education. There I focus on bottlenose dolphin dorsal identification, microplastics, and fish population studies from otter trawls. For my project, I am using our fish data to understand responses to major weather events as well as investigating possible tropicalization in Clearwater Bay.
MFAS Student, Advisor: Roy Yanong
I am a distance student pursuing a Master of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. I have just begun my career in the field and am currently working on a technical paper.
Forest Resources and Conservation Graduate Students
FRC PhD Students
Natalie A. Cooper
PhD Student, Advisor: Martha Monroe
We must understand the various worldviews, values, and identities that shape the different ways people perceive, interact with, and connect to nature. This facilitates our ability to identify common ground and appreciate difference with others, meanwhile it helps to eliminate noise that otherwise muffles the natural resource problems we confront that demand collective efforts to solve. The importance of this task grows as competition for resources increases and tradeoffs in decision making intensify. I seek to contribute to this task by exploring different identities associated with connections to nature, particularly among farmers and other stakeholders of the Upper Floridan aquifer. My research is informed by my background in community-based resource management and conservation-development projects in rural areas of Brazil and Panama, as well as by my family ties to agriculture in Minnesota.
PhD Student, Advisor: Karen Kainer
I first fell in love with “the rainforest” when I was five years old. After travel and research experiences in Guyana, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, I’m thrilled to be continuing my childhood interests by researching and supporting community-based tropical forest management in the Americas. I enjoy languages, being in the field, teaching (middle school students are the best!), and hosting large dinner gatherings.
PhD Student, Concentration: Tropical Conservation and Development, Advisor: Bob Buschbacher
Olá! I’m a passionate social-forester from Brazil interested in action-research related to governance, community forest management and development in the Amazon and other parts of the neotropics. I’m a graduate from the University of São Paulo, with a MSc from CATIE in Management and Conservation of Tropical Forests and Biodiversity, having worked for more than 20 years in Brazil and abroad (Australia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico). My family and I enjoy travelling and spending time outdoors, exploring and connecting to nature and different cultures-peoples. We have a home garden where we grow organic fruits, vegetables and spices and chillout with friends and Compay Segundo, our dog. Other leisure activities include: music, cooking, swimming and running.
PhD Student, Advisor: Martha Monroe
Sadie Hundemer is a Ph.D. student specializing in human dimensions and natural resources communication. Her cross-disciplinary research draws from the fields of psychology, communication, and economics to explore identity, mental models, moral foundations, and value priorities. Her mixed methods approach includes cultural domain analysis, media content analysis, experimental framing studies, and theories of measurement. She is currently researching framing and stakeholder perceptions of water issues pertaining to the Upper Floridan Aquifer.
Andrea (“Andie”) Irons
PhD Student, Advisor: Raelene Crandall
After working in fisheries monitoring over the last five years for the City of San Francisco, I am returning to my original passion in habitat conservation. I am researching the increasingly rare Pine Rocklands habitat of the Florida Everglades, focusing on the life-histories and niche requirements of three plant species of management concern. I am particularly interested in how fire and hydrology affect the population dynamics of the rare plant (Croton linearis), a host species for two endangered butterfly species. I received my B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley, and my M.S. from SUNY-ESF (State University of New York, college of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, Syracuse). My Master’s research explored riparian forest dynamics along the Sacramento River, CA, and my career has covered a range of biological fieldwork including rare plant surveys in northern California and sage-grouse habitat characterization in Nevada.
PhD Student, Advisor: Raelene Crandall
Growing up in Florida has allowed me to experience some of the greatest natural areas on earth. At the same it has allowed me to witness the rapid “development” of these areas for human purposes. My passion for the natural world has culminated overtime into a drive to better understand the patterns and processes of biological communities so that we can properly restore or enhance the systems we have lost or damaged. Biological communities in Florida were once dominated by a mosaic of open and diverse plant communities reliant on lightning ignited fires. I am absorbed by how the seasonal timing of fire and soil disturbance affect the restoration of plant communities in Florida.
Beatriz Lopez Gutierrez
PhD Student, Advisor: Eben Broadbent
I am a zoologist working on tropical conservation biology and sustainability issues. I am interested in evaluating and monitoring biodiversity across anthropogenic landscapes; particularly in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, where I have spent the last several years. My main interest is to work closely with local communities developing practical management applications that can be used to minimize negative impacts on natural resources while contributing to the sustainable development of their local livelihoods.
Carla Mere Roncal
PhD Student, Advisor: Eben Broadbent
I am a Peruvian biologist, focused on the conservation of nature, with a special interest in the preservation of the Amazon rainforest. I am very passionate and motivated conservationist with strong desires to integrate conservation with social and sustainable economic development for local/indigenous communities.
PhD Student, Advisor: Gary Peter
I completed my B.A. in environmental science from Colorado College in 2015 and was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2018 to support my graduate career in the Forest Genomics Lab at UF. My current research focus is to elucidate genetic and molecular mechanisms related to terpene production in southern pines with the goal of increasing pine terpene availability. Increasing terpene availability can 1) increase resistance to insects and pathogens and 2) be tapped for use as biofuels; two objectives that are well aligned with altered forest ecology and economy due to climate change. When I’m not in the lab or in the field, you can find me trail running with my dog or trail riding with my horse.
PhD Student, Advisor: Martha Monroe
I am interested in how conservation education and outreach campaigns influence human behavior and conservation outcomes. For my dissertation, I will explore how environmental images influence attitudes and conservation behavior. I have an MSc in Conservation Science and a background in conservation photojournalism.
PhD Student, Advisor: Gary Peter
Loblolly pine and slash pine together comprise more than half of the trees planted in the US with more than 800m seedlings planted annually in the Southeast. My research focus is using modern tools in genomics and data analysis to improve the efficiency of breeding practices. As program manager of the Cooperative Forest Genetics Research Program (CFGRP), I use traditional breeding approaches to identify, test, and propagate superior genotypes for deployment across the region. This day-to-day work is complemented by research on genomic selection, marker-assisted mating schemes, and simulation of long term scenarios for breeding strategies.
A. Christine Swanson
PhD Student, Advisor: Stephanie Bohlman
I am investigating how changes in floodplain hydrology from damming affect forests bordering the Tocantins River in the eastern Amazon. I use remote sensing techniques from a variety of sensor types to determine both the impact dams have on floodplains as well as how the surrounding forests are responding to the hydrologic changes. I enjoy highly quantitative work focused on statistical inference and scientific programming and centered around open and reproducible science. In addition to my PhD work, I also enjoy communicating science to diverse audience and have written articles for several media outlets locally and internationally and done outreach with K-12 teachers through the Thompson Earth Systems Institute at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Ana Luiza Violato Espada
Forest Resources and Conservation, Advisor: Karen Kainer
Ana Luiza Violato Espada is a Tropical Conservation and Development Program member (http://uftcd.org/) and PhD student in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC) at UF working with Dr. Karen Kainer. Ana holds a Master’s degree in Natural Resources Management and Local Development in the Amazon (Federal University of Pará). She has an extensive professional experience with community-based forest management in the tropics. When she worked in a socio-environmental non-profit organization (Tropical Forest Institute), Ana got involved with communities from Sustainable Use Protected Areas in Brazilian Amazon. From this experience, her research interests are: understand what have led communities to legally manage their timber, identify variation in co-managed forest schemes, and analyze how specific logging strategies and their integration of different types of knowledge have affected forest governance. Developing a participatory-action research in extractive reserves from Acre, Amazonas, and Pará states, her research will contribute to the understanding of the adaptive multi-stakeholder’s process to conserve forest and promote rural development.
Research interests: Forest Conservation; Community-Based Forest Management; Community Empowerment; Decision Making; Adaptive Natural Resources Governance; Protected Areas Management; Logging; Brazilian Amazon
FRC MS Students
Mary Nell (May) Armstrong
MS Student, Advisor: Rae Crandall
I have spent the last four years working in ecology, prescribed fire, and wildfire. Beginning graduate school at UF, I look forward to learning more in depth about the complexities of ecosystems, restoration, and fire regimes in order to become a successful land steward. I am driven by my passion to restore ecosystems to their most natural state. I have seen so much ecological progress through my work with prescribed fire and hope to continue to make a sustainable difference recreating the ecosystems that once maintained themselves in a harmonious balance.
MS Student, Advisor: Damian Adams
Pollinators play a vital role in the environment and our agricultural systems. Unfortunately, many wild and managed pollinator species are in decline for a variety of reasons. Moreover, valuing the services pollinators provide to us and the environment is incredibly difficult. I am very interested in studying both the economic valuation of these wonderful creatures as well as strategies to further protect them.
MS Student, Advisor: Eben Broadbent
I am Active Duty Air Force currently serving in California. I am excited to pick back up on my educational pursuits after taking a few years off post undergrad to focus on my career. I’m extremely driven and desire to learn and succeed. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to grow and network with others as much as possible even though being enrolled in the distance learning program.
MS Student, Advisor: Daniel J. Johnson
Under the supervision of Dr. Johnson, I intend to focus my research on understanding the degree to which various land management practices influence microclimate. I will be examining and identifying the factors that promote and/or maintain these microclimatic buffering effects in our local forests. My research is driven by my desire to offer forest-based solutions that help conservation efforts in lessening the impacts of climate change on biodiversity.
MS Student, Concentration: Ecological Restoration, Advisor: Michael Andreu
My professional experience is in natural resources with the federal government. I have worked for the National Park Service in several locations, and I currently work as a Natural Resource Specialist for the Bureau of Reclamation in Bismarck, ND. My interests are in complex land management practices, specifically for Public Lands and Waterways. I work regularly with the implementation of NEPA regulations for land management projects, I have professional experience with land restoration projects, and I have implemented the work for environmental education grants awarded by the National Environmental Education Foundation and partnered with Bureau of Indian Education schools.
MS Student, Concentration: Ecological Restoration, Advisor: Michael Andreu
I have always had a love for the outdoors and working in natural resource conservation has allowed me to follow this passion. I want to learn more about this field to become the best natural resource professional I can be. I love resource management and environmental education. I believe the pairing of these two is best for the environment and the people living in it.
MS Student, Concentration: Natural Resource Policy and Administration, Advisor: Damian Adams
As a career professional in the natural resources field, I am passionate about the preservation of marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and the protection of wildlife. I have a keen interest in the translation of science into policy for the purpose of protecting Florida’s resources. I am a distance student living in Lee County, Florida, and work for the Lee County Division of Natural Resources. I am involved in planning for environmental restoration projects.
MS Student, Advisor: Taylor Stein
I am a Master’s Student studying visitor satisfaction and visitor impacts on the Wekiva River Basin with Dr. Taylor Stein as my advisor. I am a 4+1 student so this is my first official year as a grad student as well as my last year. I am excited to continue my research on this Wild and Scenic River and interact with the visitors. When I’m not working on my thesis I enjoy scuba diving, hiking, and hanging out with my corgi.
MS Student, Concentration: Natural Resource Management and Administration, Advisor: Ajay Sharma
I have always wanted to create sustainable alternatives for everyday items. We discard so much throughout our lives that can be recycled or downcycled. This jetsam is ingrained in us to be normal. Only a few decades ago Americans were living a much more sustainable life until big business said we need to live in a faster world. Now we live in this faster world, but we also have the technology to bring sustainability back into our lives.
MS Student, Concentration: Ecological Restoration, Advisor: Michael Andreu and David Fox
I am a distance student in the MS in Forest Resources and Conservation program, with a concentration in Ecological Restoration. I currently work as a natural areas technician in New York City, and am hoping to gain from my degree a stronger foundation in the fields of urban restoration and land management.
MS Student, Advisor: Taylor Stein
I am a second year MFRC student with Dr. Taylor Stein as my advisor. After earning my Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Conservation from the University of Florida in 2015, I went on to serve two terms in AmeriCorps as the community outreach coordinator for a small environmental non-profit in western North Carolina. I am interested in supporting communities to practice environmental stewardship through education programs and outreach. My graduate program and research are centered around the interactions of humans and natural resources, focusing specifically on ecotourism. My project is to support the creation of an ecotourism role within Florida’s Extension Service by utilizing existing data from ecotourism needs assessments and conducting agent interviews to develop ecotourism program support materials for Extension agents state-wide.
MS Student, Advisor: Basil V. Iannone III
Because our world is rapidly becoming more urbanized, I believe that it is important to start centering our focus on the ecology of urban areas. Since I have spent most of my life in and around a city and have witnessed the impacts of urbanization firsthand, I am interested in studying how to best reconcile these impacts. I aim to contribute to this objective with my Master’s project, which evaluates how certain components of urban garden design can promote insect pest resistance. I also believe that properly communicating science is vital, especially in urban ecology, and I plan to use the research and communication skills developed from conducting this project in my future work in this field.
MS Student, Concentration: Natural Resource Policy and Administration, Advisor: Taylor Stein
I am currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Forest Resources and Conservation with a focus on Natural Resource Policy and Administration. I am fascinated by the interconnectedness and natural behaviors of all living organisms. Specifically, what type of value do individuals associate with their environment and how that affects social interactions and current resource policy. I hope to integrate and bridge the subject materials into forms that are communicable and resolve knowledge gaps between stakeholders.
MS Student, Hydrology Concentration, Ecological Restoration Certificate, Advisor: Matthew Cohen
My name is Hays Paul. I live in South Florida with my wife, Catina, and one-year old daughter, Dawsen. I am in my Master’s program for Forest Resources & Conservation with hydrology concentration. I have an interest in water quality and being able to sustainably have agriculture while responsibly taking care of our water resources. I would like to work at a water district or somewhere I can work in water quality after I graduate.
MS Student, Advisor: Ajay Sharma
I am interested in understanding the forest dynamics of longleaf pine ecosystems. I plan to study the effects of wind disturbance on regeneration and forest structure. I hope to provide information that will be useful in conserving and maintaining an important habitat that has been severely impacted by agriculture and urban development.
MS Student, Advisor: Taylor Stein
Driven by a childhood in the outdoors, my main belief is that healthy woodlands and watersheds are essential to the function of our shared human habitat. My major interests are in studying the role of recreation and other social components within the wider field of natural resources. By utilizing methods of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and social surveying, my research focuses on the phenomena of sense of place and the spatial patterns of visitor-use.
Susana Ruiz Diaz
MS Student, Advisor: Eben Broadbent
My research interest focuses on forest ecology, particularly phenology and its applications and relation to other ecological phenomena. I have experience working in the Cerrado and Dry Chaco in Paraguay. My dissertation will focus on the phenology of the Paraguayan Dry Chaco and its relation to biomass and forest structure.
Geomatics Graduate Students
GEM PhD Students
Jazmin Gonzales Tovar
PhD Student, Advisor: Grenville Barnes
I am passionate about environmental governance, policies, land/resource rights and environmental justice. In my PhD – in partnership with CIFOR – I analyze how context and power relations play out in the equity and effectiveness of land use planning multi-stakeholder commissions in Brazil. I like exploring diverse settings and looking at the bigger picture. In the past, I enjoyed participating in projects related to land use, climate change, protected areas, environmental education, biodiversity and wetlands in Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Uzbekistan and my home country, Peru.
PhD Student, Advisor: Ben Wilkinson and Amr Abd-Elrahman
I’m a PhD student in the Geomatics program with a particular interest in remote sensing and spectroscopy. My interest in the field began with my work as a Marine intelligence officer working in geospatial intelligence. In the academic environment, I’ve used drone based photography to study the morphology of lava flows and hyperspectral imagery to study the mineral composition of surveyed areas. I’m currently interested in expanding and refining the usefulness of remotely sensed data in solve emerging problems.
GEM MS Students
PhD Student, Advisor: Vincent Lecours
I’m currently working at an Engineering Consulting firm called Dewberry Engineers Inc as a Geospatial Analyst. I live in the St. Petersburg area with my girlfriend and 2 fur babies. I’m driven by the unknown. I hope to one day map parts of the ocean floor so that the people of Earth know what’s actually down there.