Dr. Demian Chapman
Demian is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at FIU and the Director of the Sharks and Rays Conservation Program at Mote Marine Laboratory. A molecular ecologist by training, he leads the Global FinPrint project and studies the Asian shark fin trade. He has published more than 110 scientific papers and appeared on BBC, the Discovery Channel, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. His work has led to a shark sanctuary in The Bahamas, improved shark management in Belize, and the listing of multiple shark and ray species on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), to name a few. Demian is originally from New Zealand and loves playing the board game Wingspan.
Ph.D. Marine Biology - M.S. Marine Biology - B.S. Zoology
Khadeeja is from the Maldives. She did her BSc in Marine Science at the University of the South Pacific, Fiji Islands. She is a government researcher, working for the Maldives Marine Research Institute. Coming from a small island country, her work varies from research to management and conservation of threatened and endangered marine species. She has represented her home country at numerous regional and international platforms on conservation and management of threatened marine species and played a key role in the establishment of the Marine Turtle Task Force in the North Indian Ocean region. For her Master’s, she is interested in studying the effects of shark sanctuaries on shark populations, focusing on the shark sanctuary of the Maldives. When she is not working, she likes to occupy herself with gardening, listening to audiobooks, and conducting google-research on every possible thing she can find.
B.S. Marine Science
Dr. Simon Dedman
From London, UK, with degrees/postings in Southampton, Aberdeen, Bimini, Galway, and California (Farallon Institute & Stanford), now working remotely at FIU. Simon’s background blends fisheries management with movement modelling for elasmobranchs and tuna, as well as developing machine learning and other spatial analysis tools for marine ecologists. Another key interest is streamlining data acquisition and analysis pipelines for marine spatial analyses and population dynamics. He enjoys football (the other kind), scuba diving, golf, gardening, and piñatas.
Ph.D. Marine Science - M.Res. Marine & Fisheries Science - B.S. Oceanography & Marine Biology
Originally from Colombia, Cindy is a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Chapman. A Fulbright scholar, she is currently describing a new species of bonnethead shark from Belize. Her Master's work focused on the genetic population structure of bonnethead sharks from Bocas del Toro Panama, Belize, and the Western Atlantic. She is interested in using molecular ecology and social work for applied species conservation. Cindy is a scientific diver and enjoys traveling and hanging out on the beach in her spare time.
M.S. Marine Ecology - B.S. Ecology
Megan is originally from Virginia and her current research focuses on how marine predators affect nutrient cycling and habitat connectivity, using nurse sharks as a model organism. During her undergraduate degree at FIU, she was a research assistant in the Community Ecology Lab, and later in the Aquatic Ecology Lab. She has worked as a PADI Open Water Instructor and as a program instructor for the Eye-to-Eye Shark Program at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.
B.S. Marine Sciences
Dr. Meg Malone
Meg is a Wisconsin native who joins FIU as a postdoctoral associate on the FISHSCAPE team. She specializes in fish behavioral ecology and her research focuses on fish foraging behavior and tradeoffs between food and safety. Meg integrates a variety of approaches to investigate fish biology, including ecological theory, biological collections, and observational and experimental techniques. Meg is excited to explore how fish forage across seascapes and contribute to management decisions that support the needs of reef fishes. While not studying fishes, Meg enjoys being outdoors, hanging out with her dog, and trying new restaurants.
Ph.D. Biological Sciences - M.S. Biology - B.S. Marine Biology
Gabriela (Gaby) is a Ph.D. student under the joint supervision of Drs. Chapman and Papastamatiou. She is interested in the Mesoamerican Reef's shark fisheries, trade dynamics, and fishermen's perceptions toward shark conservation. She is from Honduras, where she has worked in several conservation organizations such as the Roatan Marine Park, MarAlliance, and the UNDP’s Small Grant Program. She earned a B.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University and an M.S. from the University of Exeter in England. She has also been a fellow for the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) program and the Conservation Leadership Program (CLP). She enjoys freediving, taking underwater photos, traveling, and perfect avocados.
M.S. Conservation & Biodiversity - B.S. Marine Biology
Sara received her B.Sc and Masters in Biology from James Madison University where she conducted research on the Limnonectes kuhlii complex, a cryptic species of Southeast Asian stream frogs. Her goal was to determine a statistical method for refining the morphometric characters to distinguish and delineate between candidate species. She is interested in using statistics to answer biological questions and aiding in conservation. Sara is co-advised by Dr. Demian Chapman and Dr. Alastair Harborne to investigate and analyze Global FinPrint data. When she’s not working on research she enjoys writing, SCUBA diving, and playing with her family pets: two cats (Sierra and Stella) and her dog (Jethro).
M.S. Biology - B.S. Biology
Dr. Judith Bakker
Judith was a postdoctoral scientist working with Demian Chapman. Her research addressed the development and application of environmental DNA (eDNA) to shark research and conservation, linking community differences detected through eDNA with environmental and/or anthropogenic factors. She is now an eDNA specialist and technical writer for NatureMetrics.
Ph.D. Marine Biology - M.S. Marine Biology - B.S. Biomedical Sciences
Dr. Ruth Dunn
Ruth was a postdoctoral scientist working alongside Yannis Papastamatiou and Mike Heithaus to investigate and communicate the ecological importance of sharks and other elasmobranchs, funded by FIU and the Shark Conservation Fund. Ruth is now a senior research fellow at Lancaster University studying the effects of seabird nutrients on coral reefs.
Ph.D. Seabird Ecology - M.Res. Ecology, Evolution & Conservation - B.S. Ecology
Dr. Laura García Barcia
Laura completed her Ph.D. with Demian Chapman and Mike Heithaus. Her research focused on the conservation biology of sharks, specifically on the level of pollutants in different shark tissues and how this varied with species, trophic level, and region of origin. She participated in education and outreach activities at local schools explaining the importance of protecting sharks and mentored K-12 students onboard the R/V ANGARI. Laura was awarded the FIU Presidential Award and is currently an Environmental Risk Assessor at Eli Lilly & Company.
Ph.D. Biology - B.S. Environmental Biology
Maria was an undergraduate student under the supervision of Dr. Yannis Papastamatiou studying indirect and direct dominance hierarchies between reef sharks in order to understand competitive interactions. She is now a masters student in the Carlisle Lab at the University of Delaware.
B.S. Marine Biology
Dr. Maurits van Zinnicq Bergmann
Maurits completed his Ph.D. with Yannis Papastamatiou. Maurits’ primary research interests are predator behavioral interactions and their impact on the dynamics and structure of marine communities. While at FIU, he used multiple field, lab, and quantitative approaches to study spatial coexistence in a shark and ray community, shark diets, and marine protected area design. He is currently a Research Associate with Saving the Blue.
Ph.D. Biology - M.S. Marine Biology - B.S. Marine Biology
Dr. Yannis Papastamatiou
Yannis Papastamatiou is an Associate Professor at FIU in the Department of Biological Sciences. With over 100 research publications, Yannis is one of the world's leading shark behavioural ecologists. His work has been featured on National Geographic, BBC, and Discovery's Shark Week. Yannis' use of new tag technologies on species ranging from pelagic oceanic whitetips to home-ranging reef sharks has advanced the field of predator ecology and led to evidence-based marine protected area zoning. Yannis enjoys exploring deep reefs and practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in his spare time.
Ph.D. Zoology - M.S. Biology - B.S. Oceanography
PCB 3043 - Ecology
PCB 4717 - Physiological & Behavioral Ecology of Marine Animals
BSC 6926 - Shark & Ray Handling Workshop
Dr. Diego Cardeñosa
Diego was born in Colombia and his current research is focused on the international shark fin trade and developing new wildlife forensics tools to aid with the enforcement of international trade regulations. As an undergraduate student, he looked at the effects of habitat loss on the survival and growth rates of lemon sharks in Bimini, Bahamas. For his Masters, Diego studied the genetic population structure of the pelagic thresher shark in the Pacific Ocean. He enjoys SCUBA diving, playing sports, and a relaxed walk at the beach with his dog Blu.
Ph.D. Marine Sciences - M.S. Biological Sciences - B.S. Biology
Originally from The Bahamas, Candace is a Ph.D. student under the joint supervision of Drs. Chapman and Papastamatiou. After finishing her undergraduate degree in Pennsylvania, she spent two years at the Cape Eleuthera Institute where she was a key member on the pelagic research team. Candace’s research will focus on the population dynamics and geographic population structure of large predators. She is passionate about shark conservation and being a Bahamian advocate for the protection and importance of sharks and rays in The Bahamas.
Devanshi is originally from India where she conducted elasmobranch fishery and trade studies with the Oceans and Coasts Programme at World Wide Fund for Nature- India. For her research, she is investigating the role of shark meat as a driver of the shark fishery in Belize, Central America. Her interests lie in studying heavy metal accumulation and toxicity in shark tissues to inform consumption practices and the trade dynamics of shark meat. When she is not submerged in her element, Devanshi enjoys reading, sunsets and finding the perfect GIFs.
M.S. Conservation - B.S. Life Sciences
Sarah is originally from California where she conducted research examining the effects of temperature on the metabolic rate of the California horn shark. After graduation, she completed a course at Friday Harbor Laboratories, WA, where she investigated the additional metabolic costs fish experience when turning around in a surge zone. Sarah is now a student under Dr. Papastamatiou’s supervision and is interested in how physiology influences the behavioral ecology of marine fishes. She hopes to couple lab based respirometry and field based accelerometry to determine the energetic costs of grouper at spawning aggregations.
B.S. Marine Biology
A New England native, Rainer earned a B.S. in Marine Sciences at the University of Connecticut in 2017. As an undergraduate, he gained experience in research across a broad range of topics including squid symbioses, marine fish fecundity, and shark physiology - the latter during an REU internship at Mote Marine Lab. His current work is focused on quantifying the metabolism of predatory fish species to support the establishment of marine protected areas. Prior to joining the PEC Lab, he served in the U.S. Army as an Armor Officer. In his spare time he enjoys practicing Muay Thai, running, and traveling.
B.S. Marine Science
Jessica volunteered in Dr. Chapman’s Marine Molecular Ecology & Conservation Lab at Stony Brook University for the last two years of her undergraduate degree. She watched Global FinPrint videos and helped his Ph.D. students genetically identify shark species present in the shark fin trade. While an undergraduate, she also worked on a long-lining project, implemented to gain a better understanding of sharks species present off Long Island, which led to the first young of the year white shark being satellite tagged in the Atlantic Ocean. She enjoys SCUBA diving, traveling, relaxing on the beach, and hiking with her dog.
B.S. Marine Sciences
Erin received a B.S. in Ecology from the College of William and Mary before working for several years in Washington, D.C. for National Geographic and Ocean Conservancy. As a National Geographic Explorer, she studied innovative responses to invasive species and documented her work through the Invasive Species Initiative. As a M.S. student at UNC-Chapel Hill, she studied red snapper mislabeling and management in the southeastern U.S. Now, as a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Papastamatiou, she is interested in predator-prey interactions and shark energetics. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Erin enjoys SCUBA diving, getting kids excited about marine science, and taking funny pictures of her cats.
M.S. Ecology - B.S. Ecology
Gina was the lab manager for Demian Chapman and his students. Her research focused on how anthropogenic and environmental factors impact elasmobranch abundance and diversity. She conducted BRUVS surveys, analyzed data, and trained community scientists for the Global FinPrint project. Gina is now a research project leader in the Marine Ecology and Acoustics Lab at FIU.
M.S. Marine Sciences - B.S. Marine Science & Biology
Dr. Kathryn Flowers
Katie completed her Ph.D. with Yannis Papastamatiou. Her research investigated stingray abundance and behavior in response to sharks, environmental factors, and human pressures in Caribbean coral reef ecosystems. While at FIU, she collaborated with the Belize Fisheries Department to secure full protection for all ray species in their waters. Katie is now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Ray Biology & Conservation at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.
Ph.D. Biology - M.A. Marine Conservation & Policy - B.A. Anthropology
Dr. Bautisse Postaire
Bautisse was a postdoctoral scientist working with Demian Chapman. His research uses standard molecular biology techniques (e.g. PCR) and bioinformatics tools (e.g. R) to reconstruct evolutionary histories and measure population differentiation and gene flow. Bautisse is now a postdoctoral scientist at l'Institut des Sciences de la Forêt tempérée.
Ph.D. Marine Biology - M.S. Marine Biology - B.S. Biology
Sarah was an undergraduate student studying the diet and distribution of catfish in the Everglades with Dr. Yannis Papastamatiou. She is currently working as a master dive instructor in Hawaii with DIVE ARMY.
B.S. Marine Biology