About

P4020094-2
Photo credit: FSU Marine Turtle Research, Ecology, and Conservation Group

Welcome! I’m Matt Ware, a coastal ecologist with a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from Florida State University and a member of the Marine Turtle Research, Ecology, and Conservation Group (FSU MTRECG).

Through my work, I hope to find better ways for us to balance the human use and continued function of coastal ecosystems. My recent projects investigate the habitat use sea turtles in both space and time. Understanding these spatiotemporal patterns will allow us to minimize our impacts on their nesting, foraging, and migratory environments while improving our enjoyment of these charismatic species and potentially increasing the socioeconomic value of the environments they inhabit.

My Ph.D. research investigated how our beach- and species management actions impact the nesting environment of sea turtles in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Most of this work was based on the Fort Morgan Peninsula of Alabama, including the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, with the assistance of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Share the Beach, an all-volunteer sea turtle conservation group (http://www.alabamaseaturtles.com/). It included projects related to nest relocation, embryonic tolerance to inundation, mapping wave exposure risk, and Leave No Trace ordinances. Each project was aimed at using our understanding of sea turtle biology and ecology to create new tools which improve our science-based management decisions for these species.

Before joining FSU MTRECG, I completed my M.Sc. in both Marine Biology and Marine Environmental Science at Nova Southeastern University working on coral reef restoration in the Florida Keys in collaboration with the Coral Restoration Foundation (https://www.coralrestoration.org/). In addition to completing my Master’s thesis at NSU, I also completed my AAUS Scientific Diver, PADI Open Water Instructor, and DAN Instructor qualifications as part of the NSU Scientific and Academic Diving Programs. With the addition of several specialties, I was upgraded to a PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer in 2016.

My research and education has taken me all over the world – from the southeast United States to the Bahamas, Belize, England, even the Galapagos Islands. So it’s probably a mixed blessing that photography is a major hobby of mine! Through my images, I try to convey the beauty of our world and why we need to constantly work to preserve it. My photographs have been awarded in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest as well as included in National Geographic magazine and international news stories. I hope you enjoy the imagery throughout this site and feel free to follow me on Instagram @mattware.photo!

Abbreviated Curriculum Vitae

Education

  • January 2016 – May 2019: Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography, Florida State University
  • August 2012 – August 2015: M.Sc. in Marine Biology and Marine Environmental Science, Nova Southeastern University
  • August 2008 – May 2012: B.Sc. in Biology, minors in Chemistry and Leadership Studies, Christopher Newport University

Training

  • AAUS Scientific Diver
  • PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer
  • DAN Instructor
  • PSI Visual Cylinder Inspector, Eddy Current Technician, Valve Repair Technician, and Oxygen Cleaning Cylinder Technician
  • Marine mammal and sea turtle stranding and salvage response
  • R statistical software
  • ArcGIS
  • Adobe Creative Cloud

Employment and Teaching Experience

  • 2019 – Present: Researcher, Florida State University
    • Instructor of Record for GLY 4751C / 5757C: Introduction to Remote Sensing, Air Photo Interpretation, and GIS for the Earth Sciences in-house lecture and lab (with online asynchronous components for COVID response)
    • Manage 2 of the lab’s ongoing research projects in Crystal River and St. Lucie, Florida plus modeling work in the Florida Panhandle
    • Supervised 2 undergraduate research projects
  • 2016 – 2019: Teaching Assistant, Florida State University
    • EVR 1001: Introduction to Environmental Science lecture and lab, online and in-house
  • 2016 – 2018: Supervised/assisted in analysis of 2 undergraduate research projects
  • 2017: Instructional Assistant, Florida State University
    • Introduction to Scientific Diving
  • 2014 – 2015: Research Assistant, Nova Southeastern University
  • 2013 – 2015: Instructor/Divemaster, Nova Southeastern University Academic Diving Program
  • 2013 – 2014: Sea Turtle Specialist, Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program
  • 2012: Teaching Assistant, Nova Southeastern University
    • General and Organic Chemistry labs

Funding, Awards, and Honors

  • 2020: $19,861 Florida Sea Turtle License Plate Grant
  • 2017 – 2018: $20,000 Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Section 6 grant
  • 2017 – 2018: $1,000 Florida Outdoor Writers Association 2017 Scholarship for Outdoor Communicators
  • 2016-2017: $20,454 Florida State University John W. and Ellen M. Winchester Fund for Excellence in Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Geochemistry
  • 2019 – 2020: Program Chair for the 40th International Sea Turtle Symposium in Cartagena, Colombia (Postponed due to coronavirus)
  • 2019: Highly Commended in Wildlife Photojournalism, 55th Wildlife Photographer of the Year
  • 2016 – 2017: Winchester Scholar, Florida State University

Presentations and Conference Attendance

  • 2019
  • 2018
    • Southeast Regional Sea Turtle Meeting, Myrtle Beach SC:
      • A comparison of methods used to monitor groundwater inundation of sea turtle nests, Oral presentation
  • 2017
    • 37th Annual International Sea Turtle Symposium, Las Vegas NV:
      • Assessing the need and implications of sea turtle nest relocation, Oral presentation
  • 2016
    • Southeast Regional Sea Turtle Meeting, Mobile AL
  • 2015
  • 2012
    • TOS/ASLO/AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City UT:
      • Modeling of threats to corals of the Galapagos Islands and the Eastern Equatorial Pacific, Poster presentation
    • U.S. Naval Academy Leadership Conference, Annapolis MD
  • 2011
    • U.S. Naval Academy Leadership Conference, Annapolis MD

Publications

See Publications page

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