Dr. Eric Milbrandt

    Marine Laboratory Director

    Eric has worked on the disturbance ecology and restoration of mangrove, seagrass, and oyster reef ecosystems. He is also interested in macroalgal diversity and physiology as it relates to environmental conditions and biological interactions. His research interests have been motivated by applying science to improve resource management decisions and to inform the public. He has published articles in international journals such as Limnology and Oceanography, Estuaries and Coasts, and Continental Shelf Research and serves as an editor/reviewer for the Journal of Wetland Management and Ecology and Marine Environmental Research. He is an adjunct member of the graduate faculty at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU).


        Dr. Richard Bartleson

        Research Scientist

        At SCCF, Rick has been mainly involved with research and monitoring projects on the effects of Caloosahatchee flow and management on the estuary and Gulf of Mexico. Specifically around Sanibel, his work tracks the effects of salinity, dark water, and nutrients, hypoxia, occurrence of macroalgae blooms, seagrass and tape grass distributions,  and the occurrence of red tides. He is collaborating with local, state, and federal agencies, local non-profits, and universities and he is a Courtesy Faculty at Florida Gulf Coast University.

            Mark Thompson, M.S.

            Research Associate

            Mark developed and manages SCCF’s water quality and seagrass database. He also designs and implements water quality sampling for both nearshore waters and the islands many small stormwater lakes. He applies statistical analyses to interpret complex data (water quality, shell fish, habitat restoration) and writes grant reports. Mark uses Geographical Information System (GIS) data management and analyses to be shared with stakeholders and our members.

                AJ Martignette

                Research Assistant

                AJ is the lead for the River, Estuary and Coastal Observing Network (RECON). He is responsible for the deployment and troubleshooting of the instruments and developed a custom mounting and retrieval system. He is also responsible for RECON data management and QA/QC. He uses Geographical Information System (GIS) and Aquarius software for data management and analysis. A.J. assists on other research projects, both in the lab and field as needed.

                    Jeff Siwicke

                    Research Assistant

                    Jeff is responsible for instrument prep and maintenance of the River, Estuary and Coastal Observing Network (RECON).  Prior to deployment, each RECON sensor must be disassembled and extensive anti-fouling measures implemented. In addition to RECON, Jeff assists with field-based sampling and oversees the maintenance of the lab’s vehicles and research vessels. Jeff also is actively involved with SCCF’s events committee.

                        Ashley Harner

                        Research Assistant

                        Ashley Harner is a native Floridian, who received her B.A. in Environmental Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University. During her time at FGCU she interned with Rae Ann Wessel, who is the Natural Resource Policy Director at SCCF.  With Rae Ann, Ashley worked on reporting the weekly conditions of the Caloosahatchee, developing fact sheets, researching land use and GIS, creating data, attending policy conference calls and meetings, as well as participating in post legislative session bill/issue reviews and webinars. Ashley also volunteered with Amanda Bryant, the previous Sea Turtle Program Coordinator, digging up hatched nests and recording the contents of each nest.

                        At Florida Gulf Coast University Ashley worked with Gopher Tortoises using telemetry satellite tracking as well as, assessing population density in urban environments before becoming a research assistant for the SCCF Marine Lab.


                            Dr. David Fugate

                            Visiting Research Scientist

                            David Fugate is an Associate Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. David is collaborating with the SCCF Marine Lab on a project examining sedimentation processes in submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). After completing his doctoral degree at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in 2002, he continued as a postdoctoral researcher estimating residence time in a shallow coastal lagoon. Subsequently, he was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. There he examined near bottom stresses and settling velocities of storm water overflow in Flushing Bay, NY, and the transport of contaminated sediment. His work also involved the development of a numerical bedload model of juvenile bivalves that incorporated data from laboratory and field experiments. His current research includes examing seasonal changes in bed shear stress due to biotic factors, and the effect of langmuir cells to vertical mixing of suspended sediment in shallow estuaries.

                                Dr. Rozalind Jester

                                Visiting Research Scientist

                                Dr. Rozalind Jester received her doctorate in Ocean Science in 2008 at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) where she studied as a National Science Foundation Fellow. The focus of her doctoral research was on the food-web ecology of toxin producing algae and specifically those organisms responsible for human seafood poisoning events along the west coast of North America. “Dr. Roz”, as her students know her, made the big move from California to Florida in the fall of 2008 to teach marine science at Edison State College. As a professor her goal is to teach interdisciplinary science by providing hands-on experiences with the ocean, through coursework and student research. By sharing her love of marine biology and passion for ocean conservation she hopes to instill a sense of inquiry and social responsibility in her students. In her down time, Dr. Roz loves to travel and is always up for a trip to the beach of course! Learn more at

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