David Shafer, PhD

David has eighteen years of basic and applied research and management experience as an ecologist with expertise in population ecology, conservation, and management using species-specific and ecosystem-based approaches.

He has experience in conducting management studies, assessments, and impact analyses including co-authoring the first Coral Reef Ecosystem Management Study for the Marine Corps in Hawaii, evaluating species-specific fisheries management plans for NOAA, and recommending fundamental paradigm shifts and more sustainable ecosystem-based approaches to managing what is now the largest marine protected area in the world: The National Marine Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

David's research utilizes techniques in population ecology, biological, physical, and fisheries oceanography, and geophysics to study the population dynamics of marine organisms and the biological and physical factors that may regulate their recruitment, growth, and survival.  His research has implications for understanding the effects of small (e.g., seasonal), moderate (e.g., El Nino) and long term (e.g., global climate) environmental oscillations on population ecology and evolution.  His research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative, and others.

He has a B.A in Biological Sciences from Wabash College in Indiana, where he was a Lilly Scholar and a PhD Zoology (Population Ecology) from the University of Hawaii.

Jennifer Shafer, PhD

Jennifer is a broadly trained marine ecologist with a B.A. from Wellesley College and M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees from the University of Hawaii Manoa and twenty years experience in interdisciplinary study and management of ecosystems and natural resources. Her research and teaching have taken her to the San Blas Islands of Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Station, to the Puget Sound of Washington at the National Marine Fisheries Service and to remote locations of the Hawaiian Islands such as Hanalei Bay, Kauai and Waimanu Valley, Big Island. She also served eight years on the faculty at Hawaii Pacific University in Kaneohe, Hawaii as an Instructor of Biology and Biostatistics in the Marine and Environmental Science Programs.

Specializing in integrated data solutions in ecology and environmental science, Jennifer’s current interests are in modeling the effects of sea-level rise on coastal ecosystems. She is an Adjunct Scientist in the Center for Coastal Ecology at Mote Marine Laboratory. Jennifer is also an Adjunct Instructor of Environmental Studies at New College, where she leads students in GIS-based research. She is an appointed member of the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Committee and the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program Technical Advisory Committee. Jennifer grew up in Sarasota, where her family has lived, worked and enjoyed the area's natural lands and waters for over four decades.


Betty has explored and enjoyed Florida's natural lands and coastal waters for more than a decade.  She specializes in sampling the waters of Florida's fresh and marine environments.  She also leads field trips and excels at reconnaissance work.