February 19, 2017

Team Open Reef

Dr. Timothy L. Hawthorne, Founding Director of Open Reef, is an assistant professor of geographic information systems (GIS) in the department of sociology at University of Central Florida.  He is a broadly trained human geographer with deep interests in citizen science GIS, community geography, qualitative GIS, and critical GIS.  Most of Dr. Hawthorne’s research and teaching utilizes innovative methods integrating qualitative data and mixed methods into GIS analysis.  His published work focuses on: 1) accessibility to healthcare, social services, urban greenspaces, and higher education; 2) critical GIS and qualitative GIS including new methodologies such as “satisfaction-adjusted distance measures” to healthcare providers and “critical reflection mapping methodologies” for examining the socio-spatial perceptions of new research sites; and 3) geographic education, service learning, and international education.

Dr. Hawthorne earned his PhD in Geography in 2010 from The Department of Geography at The Ohio State University where he worked under the direction of Dr. Mei-Po Kwan.  He received his M.A. in Geography in 2005 from the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University where he worked under the direction of Dr. Daniel Weiner.  Dr. Hawthorne is also a 2003 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Geography with a minor in English where he was advised by Dr. John Krygier.

Dr. Hawthorne is Principal Investigator of the Citizen Science GIS Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site in Orlando and Belize along with Dr. Christy C. Visaggi of Georgia State University.  The REU Site is funded by a $374,480 grant from National Science Foundation (Award #1560015).  The REU integrates undergraduates from all disciplines into Dr. Hawthorne’s community-based, international research focused on social and environmental disparities in Hopkins, Belize.  Dr. Hawthorne is also Co-Principal Investigator on a $1,600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation Coupled-Natural Human Systems Program (Award #1617374).  The CNH-L Award: “Restoration and Resilience in Coupled Human-Natural Systems: Reciprocal Dynamics of a Coastal Lagoon” is led by Dr. Linda Walters of UCF Biology and includes scholars from multiple disciplines (geography, GIS, sociology, biology, and engineering).


Robert Hernandez, Open Reef Founding Member.  Robert is a recent graduate of the University of Belize’s Natural Resource Management program, and is one of our many GIS enthusiasts. He has been working with GIS since 2013 and since then has collaborated with various organizations including UCF and PADF in GIS projects undertaken in the northern and southern regions of Belize. He is also a founding member of the Open Reef Mapping Society.


Mr. Antonio Cano, Open Reef Founding Member. Mr. Cano is a Lecturer in Natural Resources Management (NRM) teaching environmental management/monitoring, GIS, and spatial analysis courses.  He provides vast local knowledge about environmental disparities and GIS, and also fosters informal learning opportunities with other UB faculty and staff.


Lain Graham, M.A, RPA, Open Reef Founding Member (PhD student, Sociology and GIS at the University of Central Florida). Lain headshot_grahamhas experience in community-based-research and GIS from graduate school, research abroad and her nine year career as Archaeologist for New South Associates. Lain specializes in research based on social inequalities and has extensive field experience in the subject. For her thesis she specialized in the excavation and analysis of human skeletal remains, and statistically compared these data to gain insight into diet, demography and disease of underprivileged populations in the southeastern US. Lain has led GIS based archaeological projects as a Field Director, performing cultural resource assessments on areas that have been proposed for development. Lain has extensive experience with GIS in the field. She has conducted data collection with a total station, various handheld GPS units, as well as subsurface equipment (ground penetrating radar (GPR) and magnetometer).


Christine Munisteri, Open Reef Founding Member.  Christine graduated from Skidmore College in May, 2016 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies.  In the summer of 2014 shecm2 participated in the CSAW REU at Georgia State University, where she used citizen science to better understand the barriers preventing community members from utilizing urban greenspaces. She presented the research at AAG (Chicago) and the NYS GIS Conference (Albany, NY) in 2015. Christine spent the fall of her junior year studying Tropical Island Biodiversity and Conservation in Bocas del Toro, Panama with the School for Field Studies. In the summer of 2015, Christine was an Education Assistant for Dr. Hawthorne’s Urban Atlanta Geospatial STEM Academy. For her senior capstone, Christine studied the transport of crude oil by rail (CBR) in Saratoga County, specifically the policies surrounding CBR; the environmental threats presented by CBR; and public perceptions of the associated risk. While at Skidmore, Christine worked in the school’s GIS lab and at a local elementary school through the American Reads program. She also played on the college’s softball team and was a member of the orchestra.


Nicholas Altizer, Open Reef Founding Member. Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. During his time at UCF Nick worked on several faculty led projects as well as volunteered at the UCF Archaeology Lab. Nick also held the position of President of Hominids Anonymous, the undergraduate anthropology club on campus, during his senior year and worked to provide a variety of opportunities for students. In the spring of 2015 Nick was invited to join an archaeological field crew excavating abroad. He spent 6 weeks in Belize working under Drs. Arlen and Diane Chase as an Archaeological Field Assistant at the ancient Maya site Caracol. In the summer of the same year Nick spent 4 weeks in coastal Peru working at the archaeological site El Campanario. Nick enjoys traveling, outdoor activities, photography, and videography.


Jane Salazar, Open Reef Founding Member.
Bio and picture coming soon.


Dr. Stephen Danna, Open Reef Education Consultant

Bio and picture coming soon.


Susan Moore-Palumbo, Open Reef Education Consultant, is a National Board Certified Teacher and a NYS Master Teacher.  She is also a Climate Reality Leader, trained in 2017 by the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.  She has her B.S. in Environmental Biology from the College of Environmental Science & Forestry in Syracuse, NY and her M.S. in Secondary Science Education from Syracuse University.  She has been teaching science and developing curriculum for 30 years.  Most recently, she co-designed an Environmental Technology curriculum that incorporates alternative energy technologies and teaches students about Climate Change.  Susan teaches Biology and Forensics at South Glens Falls High School.


Eric A Ramos is fourth-year doctoral student in Animal Behavior at The Graduate Center, City University of New York as a member of Dr. Diana Reiss’ lab at Hunter College. Since 2011, Eric has studied the behavior of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus), and other marine mammals in Belize. His research focuses on the behavioral ecology, communication, and conservation of marine mammals in Belize using novel technologies. In collaboration with The Rockefeller University, he piloted the use of small drones for field research with marine mammals in Belize, developing innovative methods for behavioral studies, health monitoring, remote-detection, and acoustic monitoring dolphins and manatees at Turneffe Atoll Belize Reserve and throughout Belize. He serves as a member of the IUCN SSC Sirenia Specialist Group for Mesoamerica. He joins OpenReef to help map vulnerable habitats throughout Belize. He really loves dogs, coffee, and the sea.