Meet the Team

lorae

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, her M.S. degree from Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in soil and water science at the University of Florida, 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 estuarine ecosystem structure affects function, especially in light of anthropogenic and climate changes.

Email Address: Lsimpson@floridaocean.org

ResearchGate Profile 

viv

Vivienne Main is a research associate interested in conservation and restoration of tropical marine ecosystems with strong community outreach and citizen science components. She received a MSci degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2015 and has spent time at environmental non-profits and field stations assisting researchers around the globe. Her current research interests include seagrass monitoring and restoration efforts and the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems.

Email Address: vmain@floridaocean.org

sarah

Sarah Cole is a Research Associate interested in marine larval ecology and molluscan shellfish restoration. She believes one of the best ways to have successful restoration projects is to involve the local community. She received a B.S. from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2016 and her M.S. degree from University of South Alabama in Dauphin Island, Alabama in 2018. Sarah has spent time in public education and outreach, polychaete embryology research, as well as performing shellfish restoration in northern Florida. Her current research interests include oyster reef monitoring and restoration efforts and their ecological impact.

Email Address: Scole@floridaocean.org

morgan

Morgan Gilligan is a Research Associate interested in new, innovative ways to improve conservation and restoration techniques of marine ecosystems. She received her B.S. in Marine Biology from Stockton University, New Jersey, and a M.S. in Biological Oceanography from the Florida Institute of Technology located in Melbourne, Florida. For her Master’s, she was involved with a citizen science initiative studying the efficacy of oyster restoration mats and their succession over time. Her current research is focused on clam and seagrass restoration, helping to improve the quality and diversity of local living shorelines.

Email Address: Mgilligan@floridaocean.org

ResearchGate profile

conor in field

Conor MacDonnell is a marine ecologist with a focus in seagrasses, an important ecosystem for both our charismatic megafauna and our coastal communities. He received his B.S. from William and Mary, his M.S. at FGCU, studying the roles of mangroves in methane production and water quality improvement, and his Ph.D. in soil and water sciences at the University of Florida, studying the effectiveness of multiple seagrass restoration techniques in various subtropical environments in Florida. Conor's current research interests include improving the effectiveness and efficiency of seagrass restoration, with an emphasis on incorporating public outreach and awareness.

Email address: cpmacdonnell@ufl.edu

ResearchGate Profile

carley and the bird

Carley Kestranek is a Research Technician interested in efforts to restore Florida ecosystems through research, conservation, and education. She received her B.S. in Biology from UCF and since has been working in wildlife rehabilitation and rescue with a major focus on birds of prey ecology, and avian training. She has also assisted in sea turtle nesting research on Florida’s east coast. Her current interests include seagrass and oyster monitoring and restoration efforts to help our biodiversity flourish.

Email address: CKestranek@floridaocean.org