Beatriz Rosa Martínez Daranas
Auxiliary Professor and Researcher – University of Havana (CIM-UH)
Dr. Beatriz Martínez is the Cuban leader for macroalgae for the Cuba’s Twilight Zone Reefs and Their Regional Connectivity project and will participate on Leg 1. She is Professor of Marine Botany and Research Seminaries & Head of Marine Ecology Group, Center of Marine Research, at the University of Havana. She works on the diversity and ecology of seagrasses and seaweeds in Cuba, the assessment of the health of coastal-marine ecosystems (seagrasses, coral reefs), and climatic change and its effects on marine biodiversity. She has received several awards for her scientific results, including the Awards of Havana University, the Cuban Academy of Sciences, and the Critics of Scientific Book of the Cuban Institute of Book (2015) for Macroalgas marinas de Cuba.
Research Fisheries Biologist – NOAA Fisheries
Andy David will identify and record fish species observed with the ROV on Leg 1 of the expedition. He is a Research Fisheries Biologist with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in Panama City, FL. He has worked for NMFS since 1990 and focused upon reef fish and corals in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. South Atlantic for most of the last 15 years. Andy’s research focus is reef fish associated with hardbottom habitats on the outer edge of the continental shelf. These have been studied in the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. South Atlantic and the opportunity to examine insular populations off Cuba will offer an excellent occasion for comparison.
Silvia Patricia González Díaz
Professor & Director of Center of Marine Research – University of Havana (CIM-UH)
Dr. Patricia González is the Cuban scientific leader of the project Cuba’s Twilight Zone Reefs and Their Regional Connectivity and will participate on Leg 1. She is member of Marine Ecology group. She is Professor of Marine Ecology and Director of Center of Marine Research at the University of Havana (CIM-UH). She is the Advisor of more than 20 graduate and Master’s theses. She conducts research on the community, population and individual level indicators in ecological research of corals, sponges and gorgonians, natural and anthropogenic impact on coral reefs, and conservation and management of coastal ecosystems. She also heads the Master’s and Ph.D. Programs in Marine Biology and Aquaculture at CIM-UH and is on the affiliate faculty at the University of Vermont.
Cristina Diaz, Ph.D
Affiliated Research Professor – Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University
Dr. Maria Cristina Diaz will participate in the ROV dives and be responsible for sponge collections and identifications of the expedition. Dr. Diaz is an internationally recognized expert on Porifera, who has been carrying out research on the tropical western Atlantic, and Indo-Pacific sponge fauna for 25 years. Dr. Diaz has reviewed the taxonomic classification of various sponge taxa, described unknown species, and new genera, created sponge guides, applied molecular tools to reveal microbial associates to sponges, measured nitrification rates of Caribbean sponges, and studied phylogentic relationships among extant taxa.