Dr. Heather Judkins is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She received a Bachelors degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island, Masters degree in Science Education from Nova Southeastern University and her PhD in Biological Oceanography from the University of South Florida. Her research focuses on understanding the evolution, ecology, and biogeography of cephalopods with a main focus currently in the Wider Caribbean. Her role in this project includes the identification of deep-sea cephalopods, examining genetic diversity, and analysis of cephalopod ecology and distribution in the water column.
Matthew Johnston is a research scientist and scientific computer programmer at the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center. Matt received his BS in information systems from Linfield College, MS in marine biology from Nova Southeastern University, and expects completion of his PhD in February of 2014 from Nova Southeastern University. His research focuses on forecasting the incursion patterns of marine invasive species, such as the lionfish, founded on the development of cellular automaton computer models which couple physical oceanographic measurements with biological traits of the invader. Matt has provided programming support for such institutions as the Guy Harvey Research Institute, Living Oceans Foundation, the IUCN, and the Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance. More information about his research can be found on his website. For the DEEPEND project, Matt will perform as the database manager and web portal developer. He will also provide ancillary programming support for the project.
Nina Pruzinsky is a graduate research assistant in Dr. Tracey Sutton's Oceanic Ecology Lab at Nova Southeastern University. She is interested in researching poorly-studied life stages/species/communities. By doing this, her goal is to provide information to conservation and management efforts that can be used to protect and maintain species populations. Nina gets the opportunity to work with fishes throughout the water column; she not only works with deep-sea fishes in Dr. Sutton's lab, but she also studies tuna early life stages in the epipelagic zone for her thesis. Nina's Master's thesis is entitled "Identification and spatiotemporal dynamics of tuna (Family: Scombridae; Tribe: Thunnini) early life stages in the oceanic Gulf of Mexico." This topic allows her to investigate the population dynamics of taxonomically-challenging early life stages of these ecologically, economically and recreationally important fishes.
I am pursuing my Master’s degree at Nova Southeastern University where I am working with Dr. Tracey Sutton in the Oceanic Ecology Lab. I received my B.S. from The University of Tampa in Biology and Marine Science. I am interested in understanding the structure of marine ecosystems and how the biotic and abiotic processes shape these communities. I am particularly attracted to food web ecology and trophic linkages of an ecosystem. For the DEEPEND project I will be examining food web dynamics of key species from the bathypelagic realm.
Ruth A. Musgrave is the Director of WhaleTimes, Inc., an educator, naturalist, award-winning nonfiction children's writer, and a lucky hitchhiker on research cruises. Thanks to her creative style, WhaleTimes continues to achieve its goal of connecting kids with ocean animals and ocean research while raising awareness of conservation issues through programs such as Creep into the Deep and the wildly successful holidays, Hagfish Day and Fintastic Friday: Giving Sharks, Skates, and Rays a Voice. Ruth is the author of seven books including the popular EVERYTHING SHARKS (National Geographic Kids) and a frequent contributor to National Geographic Kids Magazine. For the DEEPEND project, in addition to managing the Creep into the Deep Virtual Research Missions and Postcards from the Deep, she will bring the exciting and innovative research and discoveries to life for kids.
Danté Fenolio grew up in the fog-shrouded redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. Banana Slugs, Pacific Giant Salamanders and Red Legged Frogs were a regular part of his daily childhood experience. His father and grandfather were avid outdoorsmen, imparting a love of nature in Danté that remains today. Field work in the tropics began at an early age and evolved into summer months that were spent in the Amazon Basin performing herpetological surveys. Fenolio earned a combined undergraduate degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz. He continued on and earned a Masters degree in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma, where he examined the population ecology of the Ozark Blind Cave Salamander. His concurrent involvement with the Subterranean Biodiversity Project gave him the opportunity to work in hundreds of caves across the Ozarks of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. Danté then earned a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Miami, Florida, involving amphibian conservation and taxonomy. After graduate school, Fenolio worked for the Atlanta Botanical Garden, helping to coordinate both local and international conservation efforts and developing captive breeding methods for critically endangered species. Perhaps the most significant project while with the Garden was the development of the Chilean Amphibian Conservation Center, in Santiago, Chile. The collaboration with the National Zoo of Chile works to develop captive assurance colonies of endangered Chilean amphibians and to monitor wild populations for emergent infectious disease – see www.savedarwinsfrogs.org . Danté now runs the Department of Conservation and Research for the San Antonio Zoo (San Antonio, Texas, USA) with active conservation work in the United States, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, China and Japan. Fenolio's research interests focus on the ecology of animals living in challenging environments such as subterranean ecosystems, deep water environments, and forest canopies.