Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
2017 Gray's Reef Research Cruise Photos
Mission Information
 

Participants
Gray's Reef Research
Expeditions 2017

Peter Auster

Dr. Peter Auster
Research Professor Emeritus, University of Connecticut,
    Groton, CT
Senior Research Scientist,
   Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, CT

Peter 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 the distribution of fishes vary across underwater landscapes. He also studies 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. His work at Gray's Reef is focused on describing and quantifying the behavioral interactions within and between piscivore (fish-eating) fish species and how such interactions facilitate capture of prey. The linkages between mid-water and demersal (bottom-dwelling) fishes are of particular interest. Understanding such interactions are important for predicting the effects of management alternatives related to conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.


Fabio Campanella

Dr. Fabio Campanella
NRC Postdoctoral Fellow
NOAA-NOS,
Beaufort, NC

Fabio is a NRC postdoctoral fellow at NOAA-NOS in Beaufort (North Carolina). He received his M.S (2009) and PhD (2014) in Marine Biology and Ecology from the University of Ancona (Italy). He conducted research at the CNR - Institute of Marine Science working on the assessment and monitoring of small pelagic species in the Mediterranean Sea using acoustic methods and habitat modelling. He joined the Beaufort lab in December 2014 and he is currently working on fisheries acoustics applied on coral reef species and in particular on the development of a method for the estimation of fish density and biomass integrating acoustics and optical observations.


Risa Cohen

Dr. Risa Cohen
Professor of Biology
Georgia Southern University,
Statesboro, GA

Risa is a Professor of Biology at Georgia Southern University. She received her B.S. degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Tufts University in 1996, and earned her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2003. Her research interests include aquatic community structure, nutrient dynamics, disturbance ecology, restoration ecology, and toxicology. She has conducted a number of projects in coastal systems including collaborative efforts in Georgia, studying the Altamaha River and southeastern coastal plain, and in California investigating food web interactions and salt marsh restoration in the San Francisco Estuary. She is particularly focused on investigating how changes in aquatic environments affect organisms, communities, and ecosystems in order to address applied issues, including monitoring, conservation and restoration.


Sarah Fangman

Sarah Fangman
Superintendent
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary,
Savannah, GA

Sarah is the Superintendent for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary and has been with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries since 1998. First as Science Coordinator for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and then as Program Coordinator for the Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region. 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, WA. 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.


Danny Gleason

Dr. Danny Gleason
Professor of Biology,
Director of the Institute for
   Coastal Plain Science
Georgia Southern Universtiy,
Statesboro, GA

Danny is Professor of Biology at Georgia Southern University. He received his B.S. degree in Biology from Furman University in 1980, and M.S. (1984) and PhD (1992) degrees, also in biology, from the University of Houston. He has conducted research in a variety of marine ecosystems, including salt marshes, coral reefs, and temperate hard-bottom reefs. A couple of highlights of his research career include a two-year stint at the West Indies Laboratory in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands to study mechanisms by which Caribbean corals deal with environmental stress. He lived underwater for 10 days in the Aquarius Undersea habitat to initiate studies of the effects of ultraviolet radiation on coral bleaching. He has been conducting research in Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary since 2002. His goal on this mission is to continue monitoring species diversity and percent cover of bottom-dwelling invertebrates, such as sponges, corals, and sea squirts, that encrust the rocky outcrops.


Haley Haynes

Haley Haynes
University of Connecticut Volunteer
Groton, CT

Haley Haynes is from Gainesville, GA and has just graduated from the University of Georgia, where she earned her B.S. in Ecology. On this trip, she will be assisting Dr. Peter Auster with his continued research on predator-prey interactions of subtropical fish. Haley has volunteered with a Gray's Reef project for which she listened to acoustic recordings from a hydrophone on the reef, and has participated in several research projects along Georgia's coast. Hayley is a certified AAUS Scientific Diver and completed a study abroad program on the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean. She hopes to live and work where she can utilize her knowledge of marine systems and her passion for diving in her everyday life.


ENS Marybeth Head

ENS Marybeth Head, NOAA Corps
Vessel Operations Coordinator
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary,
Savannah, GA

ENS Marybeth Head is the Vessel Operations Coordinator at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She previously was stationed aboard the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, a hydrographic survey ship in Norfolk, VA. Marybeth is a PADI Divemaster and has her 50-ton USCG license. Prior to serving in NOAA Corps, she worked as an assistant dive safety officer and as a charter boat deckhand. Marybeth grew up in Applegate, Oregon and graduated from Oregon State University. There, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife with a specialization in Marine Ecology. She has been a big fan of sea critters for as long as she can remember!


Tim Henkel

Tim Henkel
Assistant Professor, Biology
Valdosta State University,
Valdosta, GA

Tim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Valdosta State University. Born in Ohio and raised in New Jersey, Tim received his Bachelor of Science from Rutgers University. He completed his graduate studies (both MS and PhD) at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he studied a species-specific association between a brittlestar and host sponge. Tim is a marine ecologist interested in relationships, primarily interactions like competition, predation, and facilitation structure marine communities. Over the past 15 years his research and collaborations have taken him underwater, exploring marine communities throughout the Caribbean. Since arriving to South Georgia, Tim has begun studying the distribution and abundance of echinoderms on Gray's Reef, as well as associations with the diverse array of benthic invertebrates at Gray's Reef.


Chris Hines

Chris Hines
Deputy Superintendent
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary,
Savannah, GA

Chris Hines is the Deputy Superintendent for State Programs at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. After joining Gray's Reef as a volunteer in 2014, Chris served as the initial Executive Director of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and as the part-time Partnership Development Manager for the sanctuary. A NOAA Diver, Chris has diverse experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including four years at a nonprofit in Tanzania, a State Department fellowship, and four years in the corporate sector. Originally hailing from California, Chris received his B.S. in Business from Purdue University and M.S. in International Public Service from DePaul University.


Faith Knighton

LCDR Faith Knighton, NOAA Corps
Executive Officer
NOAA Diving Center,
Seattle, WA

LCDR Faith Knighton is Executive Officer at the NOAA Diving Center. She is participating in this research mission with the Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary as a divemaster and scientific support. She was previously stationed as Operations Officer aboard the NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai, Staff Scientist with the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, and Navigation Officer aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson. Faith considers her home to be Kaneohe, HI. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and University of Hawaii with a Master of Arts in Ocean Policy and Marine Geography. Faith is a NOAA diver, divemaster and has participated in scientific and working dive missions through-out the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in support of NOAA's missions.


Roldan Muñoz

Dr. Roldan C. Muñoz
Research Fishery Biologist
National Marine Fisheries Service
,
Beaufort, NC

Roldan's interests include reproduction, community and behavioral ecology of reef fishes. Recent research topics include fish and benthic community characterization of North Carolina hard bottom reefs, an acoustic telemetry study of invasive lionfish off North Carolina, and an assessment of shark distribution and relative abundance in the US South Atlantic Bight.


Jody Patterson

Jody Patterson
Events & Volunteer Coordinator
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
,
Savannah, GA

Jody Patterson is the Events and Volunteer Coordinator for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary and has supported the site since 2009 through administrative operations, public outreach, volunteer engagement and education initiatives. She pursues an interest in wilderness conservation and habitat protection through science interpretation, promoting sustainable practices, encouraging environmental stewardship and exploration of our ocean planet. She is a certified PADI Rescue Diver, NAI Interpretive Guide, and a marine technology instructor. Her prior professional experiences include almost two decades of accounting and fund administration for private industry resulting in a strong business background and work ethic. A native of Greenville, SC, she enjoys living in the low-country these days on a salt marsh barrier island in Georgia where she practices permaculture gardening with her husband, two children, dogs, cats, chickens and honeybees.


Barbara Phillips

Dr. Barbara Phillips
NOAA Team Ocean Diver
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
,
Savannah, GA

Dr. Phillips is a retired retinal surgeon and is active in multiple medical societies including the Wilderness Medical Society, South Pacific Underwater Medical Society, the International Society of Travel Medicine & Infectious Diseases and the NGO - Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity. She dives internationally and has been a NOAA Team Ocean Diver with the Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary for 3 years. She is currently the Vice Chair of the Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and chairs this year's Fishy Affair - fund raising benefit. Dr. Phillips is a Master Beekeeper, Welsh Honey Judge and keeps bees in Savannah on Skidaway Island.


Todd Recicar

Captain Todd Recicar
Marine Operations Coordinator
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Savannah, GA

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.


Alicia Reigel

Alicia Reigel
Ph.D. Candidate
Lousiana State University,
Baton Rouge, LA

Alicia is a Ph.D. Candidate working in the lab of Dr. Michael Hellberg at Louisiana State University. She received her B.S. Environmental Science, Policy and Management from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and then earned her M.S. Biology at Georgia Southern University in the lab of Dr. Daniel Gleason. While at Georgia Southern she studied the southeastern USA range expansion of an invasive barnacle using genetic markers. Her work in the Gleason Lab also allowed her to participate in dive trips to Gray's Reef to do benthic monitoring surveys. This year will be her 2nd trip on the Nancy Foster and her third time helping Dr. Gleason's lab with the benthic surveys. Alicia's current dissertation research is focused on the microbial communities associated with gorgonian corals in the Caribbean and Atlantic. In particular, she is interested in determining if habitat, host species or stress is the key determinant of the composition of a gorgonian-associated microbial community.


Aria Remondi

Aria Remondi
Deputy Superintendent for Operations (Detail)
NOAA LCDP, Class X,
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Savannah, GA

Aria is on detail to GRNMS for the summer as a member of NOAA LCDP Class X. In Savannah, she is acting as the Deputy Superintendent for Operations, evaluating how GRNMS does business. When not on detail, she is a Policy Advisor in NOAA's Deputy Under Secretary's (DUS) Office. Aria worked at NOAA while receiving her Masters in Environmental Public Policy from University of Maryland. She originally came to NOAA in 2006 and has worked for the National Geodetic Survey, the NOAA Budget Office, and now the DUS Office. She will be supporting the GRNMS staff on the ship, especially with data management and logistics, and will be documenting the mission for the first half of the cruise.


Kim Roberson

Kim Roberson
Research Coordinator
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Savannah, GA

Kim is the Chief Scientist on this research effort. Kim is also the Research Coordinator for Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She began working with NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science's (NCCOS) Biogeography Branch in 2005 and joined the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in 2016. Kim received her Bachelors of Science degree from Berry College in Rome, GA and her Master of Science degree from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia where she conducted research on leatherback sea turtles, using genetics to explore connectivity between nesting populations and pelagic individuals. Prior to NOAA, Kim worked with the National Park Service in St. Croix, USVI, conducting research and implementing conservation measures on endangered and threatened species. She uses diving as a tool for research and has been a NOAA certified diver since 2005, a NOAA Divemaster since 2006 and served as the National Ocean Service Diving Officer for three years and Chair of the NOAA Diving Control and Safety Board for two years. Her early NOAA work had her diving, conducting fish counts and assessing the potential Research Area boundaries of Gray's Reef. Kim is originally from Tennessee and developed a love for the ocean during family vacations to the coast. She enjoys spending time outside, running, swimming, playing and exploring with her husband and two young sons.


Randy Rudd

Randy Rudd
NOAA Team Ocean Diver
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary,
  2011 Volunteer of the Year
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation,
  2011 Volunteer of the Year

Savannah, GA

Randy joined the Gray's Reef Team Ocean Volunteer Scientific Diving Program in 2010. After completing his training and certification in record time, Randy became an important asset within his first two weeks as a volunteer diver. He has also taken the initiative to identify ways the program could operate more effectively. After observing many sidetracked missions were due to a short-handed crew, he spent his own money to earn a U.S. Coast Guard license to operate the Gray's Reef small boats.
Following Randy's selection as the 2011 Gray's Reef Volunteer of the Year, his name was submitted to The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF), and was subsequently selected as the NMSF 2011 Volunteer of the Year. Randy received this award for his leadership and dedication. NMSF presented the award to Randy at it's ninth annual Leadership Awards Dinner on June 7, 2011 in Washington, D.C.
Randy has been a resident of Savannah, Georgia for 34 years. He retired from the Savannah-Chatham County School System after 26 years as a School Social Worker. His diving experiences began in the mid 1960's in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida. His official diving certification came in 2003, and he has pursued subsequent certifications. Randy is an avid underwater photographer and believes in documenting undersea life. Being retired gives Randy the chance to support NOAA's underwater research efforts.


Brianne Varnerin

Brianne Varnerin
Graduate Student
Georgia Southern University
,
Statesboro, GA

Brianne is a graduate student at Georgia Southern University working with Dr. Danny Gleason. Originally from Connecticut, Brianne received her B.S. in Wildlife Conservation from Virginia Tech in 2015. Her love for the ocean brought her to Gray' Reef NMS in 2014, assisting the Gleason Lab with benthic community surveys. Brianne is pursuing her Master's in Science studying the physiology of Oculina arbuscula, a stony coral native to Gray's Reef, in response to increased carbon dioxide.



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