Dr. Dan Okamoto (he/him/his) is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University.  He is a statistician, modeler, and field ecologist.  He works on how trophic interactions, climate, and fishing combine to affect dynamics of populations and communities, especially species like sea urchins, kelp, abalone, and forage fish. He enjoys working with communities and environmental managers to make fisheries and conservation more sustainable, productive, and equitable. He received his PhD from UCSB, a masters in Fisheries from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, and worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Simon Fraser University and the Hakai Institute and at Florida State University. 

Graduate Students

Nate Spindel is a PhD student in Ecology and Evolution at FSU. He received his undergraduate degree from UCSB, and worked as a researcher and AAUS diver for PISCO, the Moorea Coral Reef LTER, and the UCSB SONGS monitoring program prior to migrating to FSU to work on kelp forest ecosystems and abalone population dynamics in beautiful British Columbia. Find him on twitter! [he/him]


Matthew Schumm is a PhD student in Ecology and Evolution at FSU. He graduated in 2019 from the University of Chicago, where he researched bird ecomorphological patterns and macroecology and mussel population spatial ecology. He is excited to study population dynamics, distributions and evolution of marine and aquatic organisms. He is particularly interested in studying effects of harvest on evolution and demography using quantitative modeling, observations, and experiments. Matthew’s personal site: sites.google.com/view/mschumm. [he/him]


Maya Munstermann (she/her/hers) is a PhD student in Ecology and Evolution at FSU. She is interested in combining ecological and genomic research to investigate sea urchin thermal tolerance and biological response to multiple stressors. Maya received her Master’s degree from University of Hawaii at Hilo and her undergraduate degree from University of Connecticut. Outside of the lab, Maya enjoys free diving, photography, fishing, and hiking! For more information about her past research activities and community outreach experience, check out her website: http://www.mayamunstermann.weebly.com!



Dr. Sam Karelitz completed his PhD at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand in 2020, where his research focused on transgenerational plasticity and acclimation of sea urchins in response to ocean warming and acidification. His work combines physiology and molecular biology to better understand how organisms respond to changing environments as well as the mechanisms that may drive acclimation and adaptation to future ocean conditions.
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Dr. Diana P. López will join the lab later this year as a postdoc funded by an NSF Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. She is a marine invertebrate enthusiast and her research will focus on finding physiological mechanisms of coral resistance to climate change driven stressors. She will work closely with Smithsonian collaborators in Panama including Dr. David Kline, Dr. Sean Connolly, and Dr. Mark Torchin. She enjoys mentoring students from underepresented minorites in STEM and will leverage her native language, spanish, to mentor Latino students in Panama. She received her PhD from Temple University, a masters in Environmental Studies from Florida International University, and her undergraduate in Biological Science from Florida Atlantic University. Find her on twitter @marinecolopez
Dr. Christian Commander (he/him/his) is an ecologist and a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University. He is examining how sea otter recovery affects both nearshore ecosystems and indigenous and commercial fisheries. His research interests are centered around using modeling and other approaches to better inform management and conservation. He received his Ph.D. from UNC Wilmington, a M.S. from CSU Sacramento, a B.S. from UC Davis, and worked as a postdoc at the University of Washington and NOAA. He is passionate about conservation and teaching, and outside of research he enjoys hiking and exploring with his dog Leo, sports, guitar, and traveling.


Marina Nunez (UROP 2021)


Isaiah Vasquez (UROP 2021)


Krista Fauni (UROP 2021)


Sofia Perez (UROP 2020)
Maya Tiseth
Kara Thornton 


Tony Cappellino is completed his FSU pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biology. He assisted Dr. Okamoto in researching the effects of food availability on the annual growth of red sea urchins. In addition to research, Tony is passionate about music and is a member of the FSU Marching Chiefs. [he/him]


Trevor Alspach (UROP 2020)

Markus Thompson, MSc, RPBio is a recent Masters graduate advised by Dan Okamoto and Anne Salomon at SFU. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia and has worked as an environmental consultant prior to enrolling in graduate school. He works as the CEO of Thalassia Environmental and works with Dan Okamoto on projects relating to herring, abalone, kelp forests and anything else underwater. [he/him]