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  • March 07, 2024 12:26 AM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Dr. Antoniou began his shark conservation path in 1994 as the Director of Field Operations for the Shark Research Institute based in Princeton New Jersey. He was the first to tag whale sharks in the Caribbean with satellite transmitters, tracking the sharks thousands of miles and to great depths of the Gulf of Mexico. He is currently working as the volunteer CEO for Fins Attached, which he founded in 2010. He has had a passion for shark research and conservation for over 30 years.

    Dr. Antoniou, in his pursuit to protect sharks and has traveled to places such as Honduras  and Baja California, the Galapagos, Costa Rica, Malpelo Island, Guadalupe Island and the Revillagegdo Islands to research sharks and convince their governments to protect sharks. After reviewing data provided, the Honduran government decreed the whale shark a protected species their territorial waters with severe penalties for violators.Passage of this law made Honduras the first nation in the Caribbean to protect whale sharks. Alex was featured in a Discovery Channel documentary called ‘Future Shark’ for his work in Honduras.

    Fins Attached has also been involved in advocacy work. In March of 2017 a position statement was submitted to NOAA Fisheries to lobby for the Oceanic Whitetip shark to be placed on the US Endangered Species list, which ultimately occurred.

    Perhaps Alex’s greatest achievement was the 2017 acquisition of a 134-foot, long range research expedition vessel, to be able to expand the mission of Fins Attached. He did this by reaching out to colleagues and friends, who cared as much about sharks in the marine environment, to invest in this noble cause, to get the project moving, and to accelerate the effort to save sharks, the marine environment, and us. The vessel was acquired in April of 2017. At a dedication in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in July of 2017, the Senshu Maru was renamed to “Sharkwater,” in honor of the work started by the late Rob Stewart, the producer of the original Sharkwater documentary.

    Over the past 28 plus years, Dr. Antoniou has established strong partnerships with scientists around the world. In recognition for his dedication towards shark conservation, Alex was awarded the 2017 “Shark Guardian of the Year” award from the Shark Project of Germany. An international award that is voted on by researchers and organizations from around the world. The equation is simple, Save Sharks + Save our Oceans = Save Us.

    In 2022, Dr. Antoniou spearheaded the creation of an ocean coalition called, One Ocean Worldwide Coalition, comprising of Fins Attached, The Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation, For the Oceans Foundation and United Conservationists.

    Public awareness is key to the conservation mission. In 2022 Alex attended CITES and helped lobby for the inclusion of 60 additional shark and ray species on Appendix II. He also rallied the public to lobby the USA government to pass the Shark Fins Sales Elimination Act, which was signed into law in December 2022.

    Dr. Antoniou's full Biography: Alex Antoniou bio 2024.pdf

  • February 01, 2024 7:00 PM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Little is known about the long-term effects of environmental changes on coastal dolphin populations. This question is significant in the light of coastal marine habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. During this presentation, we will explore the home range, social structure, habitat use, and diet of a resident population of bottlenose dolphins in Biscayne Bay, a heavily impacted waterway that has experienced significant habitat degradation over the past decades.

    Jessica Carde's academic background includes a Bachelor’s in Biology, a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and a Master’s in Marine Conservation & Policy from Stony Brook University, and a Doctorate in Marine Ecology from Florida International University. Her dissertation research focused on coastal dolphin behavior and ecology in response to anthropogenic threats and climate change. In collaboration with The NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center, her project investigated the impacts of disturbances and environmental changes on the habitat use, behavior and distribution of resident bottlenose dolphins within Biscayne Bay. Jessica is continuing her research through FIU to further elucidate the behaviors and habitat use of this population and assess exposure to other potential risks, such as boating activity, contaminants, and noise pollution.


  • January 04, 2024 7:00 PM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Mike Sipos is a Florida Sea Grant Agent for University of Florida IFAS Extension office in Collier County and a native to Southwest Florida. Michael received his BS in Zoology and MS in Fisheries Aquatic Sciences from the University of Florida. Mike’s previous experience includes being a university fisheries biologist and working with aquaculture operations from FL to around the world. In his current position, Mike educates stakeholders to support his programmatic areas of sustainable fisheries, environmental literacy and stewardship.

    Invasive, alien, exotic, nonnative? What do they all mean? Come to this seminar to learn the correct terminology used when speaking about invasive organisms, the process of invasion, why Florida is so special and what kind of
    environmental and economic damage invasive organisms create. The talk will also have a few species profiles of commonly encountered coastal invaders of the scaled variety with steps you can take to make a difference!

  • October 11, 2023 12:30 PM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Underwater Explorer Jimmy Gadomski from History Channel’s Bermuda Triangle: Into Cursed Waters joins us to talk about recent exploration dives coming up on Season 2 and past expeditions that have led to many different shipwreck discoveries.  Jimmy is an experienced technical dive instructor and captain based in South Florida and involved in many different projects along the east coast US and the Caribbean.  Documenting and capturing history is the main focus of work through photography and cinematography and he will show how photogrammetry is assisting in the discoveries and how this is a useful tool in the industry.

    Into Cursed Waters is a History Channel show that focuses on shipwreck discoveries following dive expeditions of Jimmy Gadomski and Mike Barnette with technical diving depths of up to 500' and Submarine/ROV diving of depths to 1000'+.  Last year the team discovered a piece of the Challenger Spacecraft tragedy of Jan 28, 1986 while searching for the PBM Martin Mariner which went missing in the Bermuda Triangle searching for the mysterious disappearance of Flight 19.

    The Pulaski Steamship is also a Historical shipwreck that has been identified by a candlestick holder with the engraving “Pulaski” on it which Jimmy pulled from the wreckage in 2017, and since then many gold & silver coins as well as artifacts have come off the wreck which is still being worked to this day.

    From treasure finds, to exploration and discoveries, to deep technical diving, this will be an exciting talk, maybe even with some new discoveries from the most recent   expeditions!

  • September 08, 2023 2:22 PM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Maria Harvey will be speaking about her research on whale sharks in Hawai'i through her organization Hawai'i Uncharted Research Collective (HURC). HURC was originally formed in 2017 as a citizen science effort to gain valuable insight in the movements of whale sharks seen in the state. Through their current research projects they aim to aid in local and global conservation efforts for an elusive endangered species. Come learn about their research, local threats, and their ongoing projects. Learn more now at:

         Photo by Jim Ward

                 Photo by Deron Verbeck  


    Photo by Ash Wilhem


                                                                Photo by Jordan Lerma

  • September 07, 2023 7:00 PM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Michael Middlebrooks, Ph.D., is an invertebrate zoologist and an advocate for the tiny wonders of the animal kingdom. He is an avid scuba diver and passionate about underwater exploration. His enthusiasm for sharing the world of micro-fauna is evident in his talks about the small but spectacular snails, shrimp, and sea slugs that make up a just a fraction of the underwater animal kingdom. He is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Tampa where he teaches hands-on courses in Invertebrate Zoology, Global Sustainability, and Coral Reefs. His classes feature photographs of marine invertebrates that he has taken during his adventures in underwater exploration around the world.

    In Dr. Middlebrooks’ academic research, he uncovers the intricate relationships that colorful “lettuce” sea slugs have with the food they eat.  Specifically, he focuses on the behaviors of photosynthetic or “solar powered” sea slugs which can steal chloroplasts from the algae they eat and store them inside of their own cells to make energy. Dr. Middlebrooks also conducts research on seagrass restoration and examines the animal communities that live in, and depend on, seagrass beds. 

  • July 19, 2023 1:20 PM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Kelly McCorry is the Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards Sea Turtle Program Manager. She has her Bachelor of Science in Marine Science that she earned from Coastal Carolina University. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, she grew a passion for the ocean and wildlife conservation from a young age. Visiting the Jersey shore in the summertime and fishing trips with her dad inspired her to want to pursue a career in Marine Biology. After moving to South Carolina for college, she worked as an assistant to a Shark Research Grad Student, as well as a Sea Lion Trainer. Kelly learned the concepts of the psychology behind animal care, and shortly after moved to Sarasota, Florida to pursue working with Manatees and Sea Turtles studying their behavior. Kelly moved to the east coast of Florida to continue her work with Manatees, assisting the Florida Fish and Wildlife with Manatee Rescue, and Research efforts. She continued her career working at the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society. Here she led a team as a senior Zoologist working with large carnivores and Florida native species, such as Florida Panthers, and Black Bears. Kelly got involved with a National Geographic Wildlife Photographer, Carlton Ward Jr, to assist with Florida Panther camera trapping and conservation in the Florida Everglades for a recent film Path of the Panther.

    With over 10 years of a conservation-based background, Kelly brings her passion for wildlife and conservation to the Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards. Responsible for outreach, and educational events supporting the mission of Sea Turtle Rehabilitation, her main goal is to inspire the community to be stewards for the coastal environment here in Florida. Established in 1984, Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards is a 501c3 non-profit organization who has funded the mission of Sea Turtle Rehabilitation, in collaboration with the City of Boca Raton and the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. They continue to fund the rescue, rehabilitation, research, and release of sick and injured sea turtles, and raise awareness about these endangered species and the efforts we are doing to save them.

  • May 17, 2023 12:58 PM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Now an Education Ambassador, Tim Barker spent four expeditions aboard the Ocearch M/V Ocearch alongside a diverse international team of scientists in the pursuit of studying North Atlantic Great White Sharks. While traveling the eastern seaboard and visiting varying ocean habitats Tim assisted with a continuing study of 20 sharks ranging from juveniles of five feet in length to adults stretching beyond fifteen feet. As an organization Ocearch has tagged 92 White Sharks in the North Atlantic and provides data for Ocearch over 400 animals around the world.

  • April 20, 2023 5:39 PM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Chelsea Bennice is a marine biologist and science communicator. Her research interests include animal behavior and ecology, with an expertise in octopus biology. She earned a B.S. from The Ohio State University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. from Florida Atlantic University. She is a postdoctoral research fellow at Florida Atlantic University’s Marine Lab and serves as a lead scientific diver and board member for the Scientific Diving and Boating Safety Committee. Chelsea collaborates with scientists around the world on octopus projects to advance basic and applied sciences. 

    Her “octo-topics” include the octopus skin microbiome, behavior, genetics, and morphology. Chelsea uses innovative science tools such as a 24 hour camera, the octopus monitoring gadget (OMG), and a floating lab to aid in answering research questions. Her research is highlighted in popular articles and scientific publications, on podcasts, and in ocean documentaries. She has been studying and photographing octopuses for over 10 years, and with over 1000 hours of underwater research, she has been dubbed “Octo-Girl” by the local diving community. Chelsea is an advocate for bridging scientists and the community. Her responsibilities at the FAU Marine Lab also include overseeing public education/outreach projects and mentoring students in the Glenn W. and Corneila T. Bailey Marine SEA Scholars (Science, Education and Arts) program. She serves as the lead scientific advisor for the nonprofit, OctoNation®, whose mission is to inspire ocean exploration and conservation by understanding octopuses. In her free time, Chelsea likes to get outside, get in a good workout, SCUBA dive, and practice underwater photography. She is  also enjoying her newfound hobby of tropical plant keeping. At the top of her bucket list is swimming with sperm whales!

  • April 06, 2023 7:00 PM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Shana Phelan, owner/operator of Pura Vida Divers in Riviera Beach, holds degrees in both Marine Biology and Environmental Science from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and a Masters Degree in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University.  Shana’s passion for protecting marine life extends far beyond diving. She served as a Marine Biologist and Researcher at the Loggerhead Marine Life Center, studying endangered and threatened sea turtles, including the elusive Leatherback.  In 2002, Shana was interviewed by The Discovery Channel in regards to her research, and in 2005 she worked with WIDECAST to create a Sea Turtle Trauma Response Field Guide, which is now used throughout the Caribbean.  

    Currently, Shana is the Administrator of the Palm Beach County Diving Association.  As part of her efforts to promote marine conservation, Shana volunteers as the Diving Vice Chair for the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative, and previously served as an appointee to Palm Beach County’s Artificial Reef and Environmental Enhancement Committee.  In 2022, Shana was awarded the Marine Conservationist of the Year by the Florida Wildlife Federation and the November Seiko Sea Hero of the month for her efforts in Goliath Grouper conservation.

    Growing to more than 8ft and 800lbs, the Goliath Grouper is the largest grouper species in the Atlantic ocean.  Historically overfished, the Goliath Grouper fishery was closed for harvest in 1990 in an effort to let stock levels rebuild.  For more than a decade, Shana and other diving community members have worked to keep the FWC from reopening the Goliath Grouper fishery to harvest.  Tune in to learn more about this ocean giant, its history and management in Florida waters, where conservation efforts are today, and how you can be involved.

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