Meet the Team


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.

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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:

ResearchGate Profile

Nick In the Field

Nicholas Curto is a Research Technician interested in expanding knowledge in marine ecology. He received a B.S. from the University of South Florida and is currently pursuing his M.S. degree from Unity College. Nick has spent time in conservation, research, and operations, with a focus on ocean and sea turtle conservation. His current research interests involve focusing on oysters, seagrasses, and mangroves and understanding the role they play ecologically in our backyard.


nate bio pic

Nathaniel Winn is a research associate interested in seagrass ecology, water quality, and nutrient cycling in marine ecosystems. Nathaniel received his B.S. at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, FL, where he studied tidal dynamics of porewater nutrients in subterranean estuaries. He received his M.S. from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, where he studied the internal oxygen dynamics and rhizosphere oxidation in tropical seagrass species in Florida Bay. His background also includes using GIS and remote sensing to monitor water quality and harmful algal blooms (HABs) within estuaries and along the coast. Nathaniel oversees our FLOWSS and FOSTER programs, working with citizen scientists to monitor the water quality and facilitate seagrass restoration projects in the Indian River Lagoon. His current research focuses on seagrass restoration and improving water quality.