Dr. Loraé T. Simpson is a mangrove ecologist whose research occurs at the intersection of ecosystem processes and the abiotic and biotic factors that influence them. She received a B.S. from California State University, Sacramento in 2002, and her M.S. degree from Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania in 2011. She obtained her Ph.D. in soil and water science at the University of Florida in 2016, where she studied how carbon dynamics were affected by spatial and temporal drivers in the salt marsh - mangrove ecotone. She has studied the ecology of mangroves around the world and her current research interests include understanding how wetland ecosystem structure affects function, especially in light of anthropogenic and climate changes.
Email Address: Lsimpson@floridaocean.org
Dr. Glenn Coldren is a wetland ecologist whose research investigates the impact of environmental stressors on community dynamics. He received a B.A. from Florida Atlantic University in 2007 and a Ph.D. from Florida Atlantic University in 2013, where he studied how salt marsh and mangrove interactions change in response to resource and non-resource stress gradients using advanced multivariate statistical techniques (e.g., structural equation modeling). As a postdoc at Villanova University, he expanded this research to understand the northern range expansion of mangroves under warming conditions and the impact on salt marsh communities.
Dr. Coldren joined the FOS team in 2017 and currently leads the oyster and living shoreline research and restoration programs. His research interests continue to focus on how salt marsh, mangroves, and oyster reefs – key coastal habitats – interact under a variety of stress conditions, including climate change. He applies this research and background in statistics to improving oyster and living shoreline restoration in the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie Estuary.
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Dr. Katie Tiling is a Research Scientist at the Florida Oceanographic Society. She received her B.A. from the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in 2007. She completed her masters at FAU in 2015 in Biological Sciences and her Ph.D. in 2016 in Integrative Biology. She joined the FOS team in 2015 to lead the seagrass research and restoration program. Dr. Tiling’s research is focused on understanding how environmental variability and biodiversity within and across species influence the stability and ecosystem functions of seagrass communities. She applies this research to developing restoration techniques for seagrasses and performs regular seagrass surveys in the Indian River Lagoon. Dr. Tiling also developed and manages a land-based tank system for culturing seagrasses at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center. Nursery-grown seagrass provides a vital sustainable donor material for seagrass research and restoration activities.
Dr. Tiling is also the current Water Quality Program Coordinator for the Florida Oceanographic Citizen Science Water Quality Monitoring Program established in 1998. For over 20 years, FOS volunteers have and continue to conduct weekly water quality monitoring at sites throughout the St. Lucie Estuary and Indian River Lagoon. Dr. Tiling produces FOS’s weekly water quality reports on the habitat health of the estuary.
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Samantha Smith is a Research Associate who has assisted on several research projects at Florida Oceanographic, ranging in focuses from microplastics to oyster restoration to salt marsh and mangrove ecology. She has a background working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in the stranding network for marine mammals and sea turtles. While with FWC she assisted in studies of south-eastern marine mammal ecology with specific attention to manatee age studies, photo identification, and mortality rates. Samantha is studying to receive her B.S. in Environmental Management, and additional minor in Biology with the University of Maryland. She plans to continue her education in pursuit of a M.S. in marine science, and eventual Ph.D. Her current research focuses on the success of oyster restoration in the south-eastern regions of the Indian River Lagoon. She is most passionate about the role of marine debris within marine ecosystems and would like to follow future research avenues on the subject.
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Alex Goldin is the shell collection technician; he collects used oyster shells from local restaurants which are then used in the reconstruction of reefs in the Indian River Lagoon. He has a degree in Environmental Studies from Florida Gulf Coast University and is pursuing a career in conservation research and education.