H. Franklin Percival

H. Franklin Percival, Courtesy Associate Professor, UF Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, has a BS from the University of South Carolina and MS and PhD from Clemson University. He began his career with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1973 in Washington, DC and was Chief, Migratory Game Bird Section at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 1976-81. He was Assistant Unit Leader and then Unit Leader, USGS FL Coop Fish and Wildlife Research Unit from 1981 until retirement January 2015. He worked on many FL issues but alligators and use of small unmanned aircraft for conservation were a mainstay for many years. He worked on shorebird, salt marsh voles, and marsh ecology in the Cedar Keys. His career interests were cooperative, collaborative, and team research on applied problems.

Mendy Allen

Mendy Allen is the program coordinator for the Nature Coast Biological Station.  She has been working as the program assistant the last four years with the NOAA Marine Resource Population Dynamics – Recruiting, Training and Research Program at the University of Florida.  She has a twenty-year background in mortgage lending and real estate appraising and also managed a tutoring company for three years.  Her duties for the Nature Coast Biological Station will include coordinating workshops for NCBS, assisting students, faculty and the public while handling the administrative duties of the Station.

Mendy Allen.  Nature Coast Biological Station.
Savanna Barry.  Nature Coast Biological Station.

Savanna Barry

Savanna grew up on a small farm in central Virginia and discovered her interest in marine ecology during family vacations to small fishing towns along the Chesapeake Bay. After earning her B.S. in Biology from the University of Virginia, Savanna split her time between Gainesville, FL and Little Cayman Island to earn her M.S. in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences through the University of Florida. While in Little Cayman, Savanna completed her Divemaster certification and co-organized an island-wide effort to remove invasive lionfish from local coral reefs. After completing her M.S., Savanna moved back to Gainesville full-time to continue into a Ph.D. program at UF and plans to graduate May 2016. In February 2016, she relocated to Cedar Key, Florida and began serving the Nature Coast as a Regional Specialized Agent with Sea Grant and UF/IFAS Extension. She is stationed full time at the Nature Coast Biological Station.

David Chagaris

David is a Research Assistant Professor at the Nature Coast Biological Station.  He received his BS and MS from East Carolina University and PhD from the University of Florida.  Dr. Chagaris previously worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation as a member of the marine fisheries stock assessment group.  His research involves developing population dynamic and ecosystem models that include environmental drivers, trophic dynamics, and habitat interactions.  These models are applied to understand how marine ecosystems, and the valuable fisheries resources they support, respond to fishing and environmental change.  An important contribution of his work is the development of trophic-dynamic models and spatially explicit approaches to inform fisheries assessment and management in the Gulf of Mexico.  His current research focuses on invasive lionfish in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and also on advancing population dynamic models and evaluating policy options in order to better manage the important recreational fisheries along Florida’s Nature Coast.

Dave Chagris.  Nature Coast Biological Station.

 Kate Hellgren

Kate grew up on the rocky coast of Maine and spent much of her youth exploring tidal pools, looking for sea glass, pulling lobster traps and slaloming lobster buoys in Casco Bay.  She received her B.A. in Biological Sciences from Mount Holyoke College and her M.S. in Wildlife Sciences from Virginia Tech.  After graduate school, Kate began her career in environmental education, working predominantly with K-12 youth.  She has run environmental programs for Texas A & M–Kingsville’s John E. Conner Museum, served as Payne County Audubon’s Director of Education in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and directed the Environmental Education Program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Environmental Center.   After moving to Florida, Kate served as the Program Coordinator for the Florida Master Naturalist Program.  She joins NCBS as our K-12 Natural Resource Educator.

Charlie Martin

Charlie is a Research Assistant Professor stationed full time at the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station. Dr. Martin received his BS in Biology and PhD from the University of South Alabama. Working through the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dr. Martin’s dissertation work focused on the effects of estuarine invaders in Mobile Bay, AL. More recently, he served as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Louisiana State University studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on coastal flora and fauna. Dr. Martin’s research involves examining how biotic processes and anthropogenic activities influence the structure and function of estuarine ecosystems. His current research experimentally assesses how factors such as climate change, invasive species, oil spills, trophic interactions, loss of biodiversity, and hydrology affect Gulf of Mexico ecosystems. Dr. Martin currently serves as Associate Editor for Aquatic Invasions and BioInvasions Records and has written numerous peer-reviewed publications and funded proposals.


Bhawna Thapa

Bhawna Thapa is the Research Administrator at the Nature Coast Biological Station.  She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University. Dr. Thapa's career interest are in sustainable economic development and her prior work focused on integrated research, field work, and capacity building efforts in agricultural extension systems, natural resource management and community development. Her duties for the Nature Coast Biological Station will include writing proposals to secure grant funds for research, community education and outreach. She will also provide administrative support in grant planning, manage funded projects, and facilitate partnerships with faculty, state and federal agency cooperators, and NGOs.

Yasmin Quintana

Yasmín obtained her Master of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Ecology, and Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from the University of Florida.  Yasmín was born in Guatemala, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of San Carlos De Guatemala. She has experience conducting research on fisheries population dynamics, artisanal fisheries and socio-economic aspects of fisheries in Mesoamerica and most recently, in Florida. She was also part of a team that developed the National Biodiversity Strategy in Guatemala. Later in her career, she was appointed as Wildlife Program Manager for the National Council of Protected Areas and national focal point for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Yasmin was brought-on as a Biological Scientist for the Nature Coast Biological Station (NCBS) to conduct research and write grant proposals.  Currently, she is conducting research on an integrative assessment of Spotted Seatrout in Cedar Key, FL in an effort to promote economic growth throughout the Big Bend area of Florida.  This project was funded by a grant she proposed to The Conservation Fund and is a collaborative effort between NCBS and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Yasmin Quintana.  Nature Coast Biological Station