Marta D’Elia

Dr. Marta D’Elia is a post-doctoral research scientist in the Fisheries Ecology and Acoustic lab at FIU where she broadly focused on understanding the dynamic of the fish and the principal interactions and processes that influence them across a range of spatial and temporal scales. She has an MS degree in environmental science. She graduated from the “Environmental Management and Analysis of Marine Ecosystem”, program at University of Palermo (Italy) and she earned her PhD at the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice (Italy). She worked at the National Research Council of Italy before joining FIU. Within the DEEPEND project Marta will primarily be working for Dr. Kevin Boswell in the active acoustic component, to examine patterns in the biological scattering layers and analyse their response to physicochemical parameters, primary productivity and oceanographic conditions.

Kimberly Schmutz

I am interested in understanding the trophic dynamics and ecology of deep-sea ecosystems. My thesis focuses on the diet of several anglerfish species by conducting gut content analysis as well as investigating the role lures play in attracting different prey types. In my project I will also be investigating feeding patterns between male and females due to the lack of data while addressing whether males feed at any stage of their life. Before beginning my graduate studies at NSU, I studied at the College of Charleston investigating life history dynamics of coastal estuarine fish under the guidance of Dr. Gorka Sancho and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Jacob Norry

I am interested in the morphology, taxonomy, and ecology of deep-sea fishes to further our fundamental understanding of our planet’s last frontier, as well as show the stretch of anthropogenic effects on the ocean. Recent findings suggest a majority of global fish biomass exists in the deep sea, but the food web of this environment remains unresolved. I am studying the distribution and diet of the family of deep-sea bigscales, Melamphaidae, found in the Gulf of Mexico. Bigscales are an abundant and frequently caught group, but the lack of empirical study results in a regularly disputed classification based entirely on morphology. Additionally, there is evidence that Melamphaidae may consume gelatinous organisms currently seen as a ‘trophic dead end.’ By using gut content analysis, describing and analyzing diet components, and describing melamphaid fishes’ digestive morphology, I aim to resolve melamphaid niches and compare the expression of ecological character traits to the current melamphaid taxonomy. Before starting at NSU, I received my B.S. in Marine and Atmospheric Science from the University of Miami and was a TA for Minerology, and Scanning Electron Microscopy courses. During the last two summers of my undergraduate career, I researched patterns of tooth replacement in fishes at Cornell University under Dr. William Bemis and worked at the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates.

Madeline Eaton

I am interested in the ecology of deep-sea fishes and their habitat as well as potential conservation efforts. I am studying the spatial distribution of the genus Cyclothone, which are small, bristlemouth fishes, in the Gulf of Mexico. Although these fishes are known for their high abundance in trawls from waters across the globe, their distribution in the Gulf of Mexico is poorly described. Upon analysis of their morphological features and spatial distribution in the water, I aim to provide baseline information in order to observe changes in their distribution and abundance over time. Before attending NSU, I studied at Manchester University where I received my bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies. .

Brandon Brule

I am interested in the ecology and conservation of fish in the mesopelagic and bathypelagic zones. My focus is studying the possible reasons for asynchronous diel vertical migration in mesopelagic fishes and how those reasons may interact with one another.