Principal Investigator

Frank Muller-Karger

Frank Muller-Karger, professor at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, is responsible for the overall project management. He also coordinates the Florida Keys research and collaborates with MBON teams on the analysis of the FKNMS time series, and examines local and large-scale temporal variability using remote sensing and other data. He is a co-chair for the Marine BON thematic workgroup of Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) .

Co-Principal Investigator

Francisco Chavez

Francisco Chavez, Senior Scientist for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, coordinates the project’s west coast activities, works with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and oversees the collection, processing and data sharing from the Monterey Bay Time-Series. He also coordinates the technology development for genetic determinations in Monterey, and leads the Data Management and Communications (DMAC) team in the development of the MBON data products.


Steve Gittings

Steve Gittings is the Chief Scientist for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. Gittings works with the program's scientists to better understand sanctuary ecosystems, track changing conditions and reduce human impacts. He, along with Mitchell Tartt at the ONMS, leads the coordination of Sanctuary science assessments, updates for the Condition Reports, and coordinates with the MB and Keys Sanctuary teams.


Enrique Montes

Enrique Montes, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science is responsible for designing and coordinating research activities in the Florida Keys in collaboration with FKNMS science personnel, South Florida Program (NOAA's AOML) and the MBON Genomics team. He also collaborates with WHOI investigators on the development of satellite remote sensing products that provide information on phytoplankton communities at the MBON sites.


Maria Kavanaugh

Maria Kavanaugh is an Assistant Professor (Senior Research) at Oregon State University in the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. She develops and implements the remote sensing biogeographic seascape assessments working jointly with all MBON projects. Kavanaugh also develops and implements phytoplankton functional type algorithms and conducts geostatistical analyses on remote sensing and field data to determine patch and other scales of variability.


Scott Doney

Scott Doney, Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, oversees the implementation of remote sensing biogeographic seascape assessments with Kavanaugh, and defines stakeholder communications strategies.

Senior Researcher

Matthew K. Howard

In February 2018, GCOOS coordinator for the GCOOS DMAC team and leader of the Florida Keys data enrollment effort to support the MBON Portal Matthew K. Howard died suddenly while attending a business conference in Seattle. The Howard Scholarship Fund supports students in honor of Matt's professional gifts and talents, personal intellect, generosity, enthusiasm and — of course — his sense of humor.

Senior Researcher

Mya Breitbart

Dr. Mya Breitbart, professor at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, has pioneered the field of viral metagenomics for the discovery of viruses across a range of hosts, environmental reservoirs, and insect vectors. The Breitbart lab uses environmental DNA to simultaneously assess the biodiversity of multiple trophic levels in Monterey Bay and Florida Keys.


Ben Best

Ben Best, PhD, an environmental data scientist consultant at, is developing online data tools and materials for marine biodiversity synthesis relevant across MBON sites. His main project is supporting development of a suite of open-source software which can distill existing public datasets and integrate locally input datasets for informing on the state of marine biodiversity.


Jennifer Brown

Brown is an Ecosystem Scientist for the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN) and is responsible for developing and coordinating ecosystem assessments at local and regional levels. She also provides science support for the Marine Protected Areas MBNMS Action Plan through the development of data summaries and resource assessments. Brown works with MBON teams to develop new MBON products that will help address Sanctuary resource management and stakeholder needs.


Kathleen O'Keife

Kathleen O'Keife is the Research Administrator and GIS Coordinator for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). O'Keife is a member of the MBON DMAC team which is developing new integrated portals and data tools using Florida datasets. O'Keife also oversees other FWC/FWRI MBON projects.


Luke McEachron

Luke McEachron is a marine ecologist at the Center for Spatial Analysis at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Institute. Luke works on corals and ecosystem analysis and monitoring. For MBON, Luke is creating a new model using Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) to quantify changes in trophic relationships and diet shifts throughout the Florida Keys.


Kate Hubbard

Kate Hubbard is a Research Scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in the Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration – Harmful Algal Blooms section. Her research on toxic algae incorporates traditional and molecular ecology and taxonomy to consider the varied abiotic and biotic mechanisms that influence the biodiversity, distribution, toxicity and evolution of these organisms, She is a member of the eDNA team.


Anni Djurhuus

Anni Djurhuus is a postdoctoral researcher in Breitbart's Marine Genomics Laboratory at the University of South Florida. Djurhuus' main research focus for MBON is on optimizing eDNA sample collection and processing methods, standardizing SOPs, and developing diversity estimates of microorganisms, corals, and zooplankton in the Florida Keys.


Mitchell Roffer

Mitch Roffer is founder and President of Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc. (ROFFS™). Roffer has extensive expertise producing oceanographic analyses for operational and research applications that integrate satellite data at a variety of spatial resolutions with in-situ data. He serves on the MBON Product Development and Stakeholder Outreach teams.


Collin Closek

Collin is an early career science fellow at Stanford University's Center for Ocean Solutions. His primary research efforts are aimed at improving methods to assess biodiversity and health of marine environments. Collin is a member of with MBON eDNA team and works to optimize molecular tools to measure both micro- and macro-organismal diversity.


Ali Boehm

Alexandria Boehm is a Professor at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Her primary research in coastal water quality is focused on understanding the sources, transformation, transport, and ecology of biocolloids - specifically fecal indicator organisms, pathogens, and phytoplankton, as well as sources and fate of nitrogen and phosphorus.


Chris Simoniello

Chris Simoniello is the Education and Outreach Manager for the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS). Chris conducts programs with formal and informal educators working with elementary through university age students to support professional development and co-create new classroom materials and resources for the MBON project and other GCOOS projects.