Our Team


R. Pamela Reid, Ph.D.

Professor, Marine Geology and Geophysics

Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Cswy, Miami, FL 33149
(305) 421-4606
(242) 524-8664 Bahamas

Pam is Professor of Marine Geosciences at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami. She has been sailing and doing research in the Bahamas for 25 years.

Read more

Specializing in studies of tropical, shallow marine sediments and reefs, she is an author on more than 90 publications for scientific journals. She presently represents the University of Miami on the Council for the Bahamas National Trust.
A focus of Pam’s research is the geobiology of living marine stromatolites– reefs built by microbes rather than coral– which are living examples of ancient reefs that dominated early Earth. As project leader for the Research Initiative on Bahamian Stromatolites, an international group of researchers from the US and Europe (see www.stromatolites.info), Pam is actively involved in stromatolite research in the Bahamas and Shark Bay, Western Australia.


Barbara Thompson
Vice President and Treasurer

Bahamas Marine EcoCentre
P.O.Box SS-6206
Nassau, Bahamas
(242) 324-7060 | Email

Barbara grew up in New York State, surrounded by lush forests and thriving marine waters, which provided her an appreciation of the natural environment from an early age.

Read more
She was educated at Syracuse University in New York and later at the University of Miami, Florida where she graduated with a degree in the Sciences, specializing in aquaculture. She then moved to the Bahamas and has lived there ever since. In 1977 – 1979, Barbara worked on a privately owned island dedicated to the development of aquaculture and alternate energy in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas.  Subsequently, she and her husband started one of the first fish and shrimp farms in the Bahamas; Bahamas Marine Farms was established on the island of New Providence and was operated by the Thompson’s for over 15 years. Barbara now works with several Bahamian non-profit organizations.  She sits on a number of Boards whose focus is education and youth development.  These Boards include Bahamas National Trust; Bimini Biological Field Station; St. Andrew’s School Foundation, New Providence; Gerace Research Centre, San Salvador; Nassau Renaissance Singers; Nassau ‘Nastics Club and the Gymnastics Federation of the Bahamas.


Peter B. Ortner, Ph.D.

Research Professor, Marine Biology and Ecology

Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Cswy, Miami, FL 33149
(305) 421-4619  |  Fax (305) 421-4999

Peter has been a Research Professor at the Rosenstiel School for nearly four decades.

Read more
 He recently retired as the Director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, which is hosted by UM, but includes all the major research universities in Florida and the American Caribbean. He obtained his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and his J.D. from the University of Miami’s Law School where he holds a position as an Adjunct Professor. His ecological research  focused on the physical oceanographic regulation of the distributions of semi-tropical and tropical planktonic organisms. In pursuing this research, he led numerous research cruises and field trips in the Bahamas and Caribbean.  He is an author on more than a hundred scientific papers or technical reports and recently served as the Chair of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System.   While a federal employee working for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Peter held a leadership role in the interagency South Florida Ecosystem Restoration effort and was the Director and Chief Scientist of NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.  He and his family are avid sailors and have spent many months exploring Bahamian ecosystems in the Berry Islands, Exuma Cays, and the Abacos.

Special Projects

Erich Mueller, Ph.D. Darby Island and Maple City MI

(231) 645-4556 (242) 464-1186  Bahamas Email

Erich has studied corals and reefs for over 30 years at numerous locales around the world. His research interests focus on coral physiology, particularly calcification, and coral health.

Read more
Erich also has significant experience in the fields of laboratory administration and education. In the Florida Keys, Erich developed and directed two laboratories for Mote Marine Laboratory, based in Sarasota, FL: Pigeon Key Marine Research Center on Pigeon Cay and the Center for Tropical Research on Summerland Key. He served as Senior Research Scientist at Lee Stocking Island from 2004-2011 and as Director of the facility in 2011.

Erich’s work in education involves a variety of projects. From 1984-1988 he taught, developed and marketed marine field programs at Seacamp/Newfound Harbor Marine Institute (Big Pine Key, FL). He  taught at middle school through graduate levels as well as adult programs. Erich uses his background in research, administration and education to develop creative programs that promote awareness and respect for the unique Bahamian environment.

Community Relations

Aiden Burrows
Farmers Cay, Exuma

(242) 427-7602

Aiden is a fisherman and community leader who lives on Farmers Cay, Exuma.

Read more
As the last person born on Farmers Cay (expectant mothers now travel to Nassau to give birth), Aiden is dedicated to the preservation of Exuma Cays Heritage. He has served as the representative for local government and is actively involved in conservation initiatives to foster sustainability and environmental preservation in the Family Island communities. BME enthusiastically works with Aiden to advance these goals and integrate our education, research, and art programmes into the local community.

Former Director

Manuel J. Cutillas
Former Director

Manuel J. Cutillas was a founding director and ardent supporter of Bahamas Marine EcoCentre.

Read more
As former Chairman of the Board of Bacardi Limited and Chairman of the University of Miami’s International Advisory Board, Manuel spent nearly 50 years in the business founded by his great-great grandfather, Don Facundo Barcardi. Born in Cuba, Manuel moved to Nassau in 1960 after the Castro regime confiscated the family business. An avid fisherman and boater, Manuel was dedicated to environmental preservation and his contributions to environmental causes are legendary.


Science Advisory Board

Jack Fell, Ph.D. Chairman

(305) 421 4603

Jack is a Professor Emeritus, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami.

Read more
Jack’s research focuses on field and laboratory studies of fungi. He has examined the biodiversity and activities of fungi in marine regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Antarctic Oceans, including the Caribbean and Arabian Seas.  Laboratory investigations involved mating and molecular genetics of fungi, including adaptation of molecular systematics for rapid identification of marine and terrestrial microbes using techniques such as suspension arrays and electrochemistry. These studies resulted in over 200 publications. Jack has cruised extensively through the Bahamas on his sailboat and has led numerous research expeditions to the Bahamas on the University of Miami’s R/V Calanus. His research cruises examined the role of fungi in mangrove detrital decomposition processes, a major nutrient source in tropical food webs. Of the many new species and genera of fungi that Jack and his coworkers described from around the world, nine species and one genus came from Bahamian mangroves. Jack draws on this extensive background to assist and educate students, scientists and visitors at the Darby Island Research Station regarding the marine ecology of the Bahamas.

Jamie Foster, Ph.D.

(321) 525-1047
Email | Website

Jamie is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science at the University of Florida and has led a research group at the Space Life Sciences Lab near the Kennedy Space Center, FL for more than 10 years.

Read more
Jamie’s research examines how complex microbial communities, such as stromatolites, form and interact with their surrounding environment. She has published more then 40 scientific articles on the subject and has received numerous awards to support her research efforts. Through her work on Bahamian stromatolites Jamie has developed a deep appreciation for the natural ecosystem of The Bahamas and is dedicated to help preserving this unique environment. Jamie is also committed to teaching and mentoring young Bahamian students in the natural sciences and has co-developed several educational and training programs to engage Bahamian students in these scientific endeavors.

Craig Grossenbacher

(305) 372-6522 Email As chief of the Water Resources Coordination Division of Miami-Dade County’s Dept. of Environmental Resources Management

Read more
(DERM), Craig oversees environmental planning, monitoring and restoration projects in Dade County. His office also assists state and federal agencies including the South Florida Water Management District and the Army Corps of Engineers in the planning and design of environmental restoration projects including components of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), the largest hydrologic restoration plan ever undertaken in the United States.  He has cruised extensively throughout all of the Bahamas with family and friends for many years.  With his background in environmental restoration and knowledge of Bahamian habitats, Craig is uniquely qualified to assist with local efforts to preserve Exuma Cays heritage and address issues such as climate change.

Noah J. Planavsky, Ph.D.

(203) 432-9043
Email | Website

Noah is an Assistant Professor in Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University.

Read more
As a geochemist and sedimentologist, Noah is interested in using the rock record to understand the co-evolution of life and surface environments through Earth’s history. Noah is an Assistant Professor in Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University. As a geochemist and sedimentologist, Noah is interested in using the rock record to understand the co-evolution of life and surface environments through Earth’s history. His research integrates field, petrographic, and geochemical work. Noah started research on carbonate sediments in the Bahamas as an undergraduate student and his current Bahamian research is focused on using novel isotopes (e.g., boron) to track the processes leading to carbonate formation. He is an author on over 70 scientific papers and has been involved with PBS and BBC educational shows on the Bahamas.

DrDeep Sqr
Michael Lombardi

(401) 226-1875
Email | Website

Michael is an undersea specialist, focusing on advanced modes of human intervention.

Read more
He routinely supports and supervises inshore diving operations for science and industry, and is involved in a variety of developing prograhttp://www.tropicbirds.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=59&action=edit#ms for bringing advanced technology platforms forward as viable tools for the working diver, including advanced closed circuit rebreathers, portable underwater habitats, and Atmospheric Diving Systems. Portions of this work have taken place through BME, with funding from the National Geographic Society. Michael is the co-Chair of the Marine Technology Society’s Diving Subcommittee, and contributes a significant portion of his time to creating community programs through his not for profit organization, Ocean Opportunity Inc.

John Stolz Ph.D.

(412) 396-6333

John Stolz is a Professor of Environmental Microbiology in the Department of Biological Sciences and Director of the Center for Environmental Research and Education at Duquesne University.

Read more
He received his BS degree in biology at Fordham University in 1977 and earned his PhD at Boston University in microbial ecology and evolution studying community structure in stratified microbial mats. He was an NRC Post doctoral fellow at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Department of Geology and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, and an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Plant Biology in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His main research interests are in the community structure of microbial mats and stromatolites; the microbial metabolism of metals and metalloids including arsenic, selenium, and nitrate; and the environmental impacts of unconventional shale gas extraction. His work over the years has been funded by grants from the DOE, USDA, USGS, NASA, NSF, NIH, Colcom Foundation and the Heinz Endowments. Dr. Stolz has published 78 journal articles, 34 book chapters, and author-edited two books, and serves on the editorial board of International Microbiology Journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Geomicrobiology Journal, and three Frontiers in Microbiology journals.

Erica P. Suosaari, Ph.D.

+61 (0)438 742 011 Email Erica is a Science Fellow at Bush Heritage Australia, based on the Hamelin Station Reserve in Shark Bay, Western Australia.

Read more
Although Erica specializes in studies of stromatolites in Hamelin Pool, her initial stromatolite work was in the Bahamas.  Erica’s primary research is focused on interactions between stromatolite-building microbial communities and their surrounding environment and how these factors work together to form distinct morphotypes.  After finishing her PhD at the University of Miami Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Erica was hired by Bush Heritage Australia to help develop their scientific communication and engagement activities, continue research in Hamelin Pool, and assist in the development of a research and education centre at Hamelin Station. Erica is also affiliated with Curtin University in Perth and was recently named a Western Australian ‘Fresh Scientist’.



Research Fellows

Amanda M. Oehlert, Ph.D.

(305) 238 0186
Email  |  Website

As an Agouron Institute Geobiology Post-Doctoral Fellow at Bahamas Marine EcoCentre, Amanda will be investigating the significance of rare earth element incorporation into modern marine stromatolites from the Exumas, Bahamas, and Hamelin Pool, Western Australia. Combining state-of-the-art analytical techniques at the University of Miami and Yale University with a process-based interpretation, Amanda aims to understand whether rare earth element (REE) geochemistry of stromatolites can be used to reconstruct the REE geochemistry of the oceans through geological time, or if it provides a fingerprint of life.  She completed her PhD in Marine Geology and Geophysics at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences with an emphasis carbonate geochemistry and understanding records of global carbon cycling through time.

Collaborating Organizations

rsmas-logo-printRosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

logo-nature-notaglineThe Nature Conservancy

Bahamas National Trust LogoBahamas National Trust

Sceince under sail
Science Under Sail

Bimini sharklabBimini Biological
Field Station

Bush HeritageBush Heritage Australia

Oceans of Opportunity

Friends of Darby Island Research Station

Darby Island owners: Bill Chester, Bill Cook, Rick Davis, Eileen Marty, Bill Saeger

Nancy Bottomley, Regatta Point, Exuma (regattapoint.com)

Frank and Marsha Ellis, Bock Cay, Exuma

Charlie Entenmann, Key Largo, FL

Gerhard Heine and Inez Christiani, S/V Fussel

Sandy Mactaggart, Soldier Cay, Exuma

Nancy Maynard, Bob Corell, Jenn Gebelein, Jamie Goodman, Miami FL

Wendell Mckenzie, Barraterre

Tazzy Dave Young, Exuma

Wendell Mckenzie 1934-2014

KoaLogoAngel Lemus

Contact Angel

This website was designed by Koa Digital, a design studio in Oahu Hawaii providing Print, Web design services and video production.

BME-Logo-TOP© Copyright Bahamas Marine EcoCentre. All Rights Reserved.