Dr. Gregory Skomal is an accomplished marine biologist, underwater explorer, photographer, and author. He has been a senior fisheries scientist with Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries since 1987 and currently heads up the Massachusetts Shark Research Program (MSRP). He is also adjunct faculty at the University of Massachusetts and an adjunct scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and a Ph.D. from Boston University. Through the MSRP, Greg has been actively involved in the study of life history, ecology, and physiology of sharks. Much of his current research centers on the use of acoustic telemetry and satellite-based technology to study post-release survivorship, ecology, and behavior of sharks. He has written dozens of scientific research papers and has appeared in a number of film and television documentaries, including programs for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, BBC, and numerous television networks.
Catherine S. McFadden received a B.S. in Biology from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Washington. She has been a faculty member at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California since 1991, where she holds the position of Vivian and D. Kenneth Baker Professor of Biology. Her research interests lie in the patterns of distribution and mechanisms that generate biodiversity in the marine environment, with a specific focus on the anthozoan corals, especially octocorals (soft corals and sea fans). Her research group develops and uses molecular and genomic approaches to understand species boundary problems as well as deep phylogenetic relationships and trait evolution in anthozoans.
Gustav Paulay is curator of invertebrates at the Florida Museum of Natural History and studies marine biodiversity and diversification. Through large, collaborative efforts he surveys marine life in coastal oceans, especially on coral reefs, and has documented tens of thousands of species in Red Sea, Oman, SW Indian Ocean, Australia, Philippines, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Hawaii, Caribbean, Bahamas, South America, and both US coasts. The goal of these surveys is to make the overwhelming diversity of the sea more accessible to diverse audiences and applications, through rapid dissemination of taxonomic, image, and DNA sequence data. These surveys also fuel broad phylogenetic and biogeographic studies that examine how the diversity and distribution of marine life came about.
Luiz Rocha is the Curator of Ichthyology at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. He is a National Geographic Explorer, marine biology professor, and has published more than 120 scientific articles and one book. Currently his main area of work involves the exploration of little known deep (mesophotic, between 60 and 150m depth) coral reefs throughout the tropics. Because this ecosystem is so unexplored, they are largely unprotected. Therefore, his work has mainly focused on describing the uniqueness of the fauna from those depths, and on advocating for both the inclusion of deep reefs into existing marine protected areas, and the creation of conservation areas dedicated to those reefs. In addition to scientific contributions, his work has been featured in many popular media outlets including the New York Times, Wired, National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, among others, and supported ocean conservation efforts across the globe.