Ecosystem Conservation

The Indian River Lagoon Observatory Team

M. Dennis Hanisak, Ph.D., Research Professor & IRLO Director

Dr. M. Dennis Hanisak is a Research Professor at Harbor Branch and Director of the Indian River Lagoon Observatory. He has extensive experience in marine biology and ecology, with emphasis on marine plants, particularly macroalgae (seaweeds) and seagrasses. He has conducted research in the Indian River Lagoon and in other parts of Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean. His current research emphasis is the Indian River Lagoon Observatory.

Kristen Davis, IRLON Manager

Kristen Davis has her B.S. degree in Marine Biology, with an emphasis in chemistry, from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She has worked in Dr. Hanisak’s lab for the past 11 years running the day-to-day operations of the long-term water quality and seagrass monitoring in the Indian River Lagoon. Kristen is responsible for the day-to-day operations of IRLON.

Jon Richardson, IRLON Technical Coordinator

Jon Richardson graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a B.S. in Marine Science in 2005. As a biologist for 10 years in South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, he researched species diversity and the life history of fishes in the South Atlantic Bight. Jon joined the IRLO lab in 2015 and is responsible for overall IRLON field operations, including the maintenance and technical support of the LOBO units.

Bryan Botson, IRLO Data Analyst

Bryan Botson obtained his B.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Science from The Pennsylvania State University in 2000 and his M.S. in Biology from FAU in 2012. His M.S. thesis focused on the mechanisms that generate resource pulses for wading birds in the Everglades. He began working for FAU in 2004 and joined the IRLO lab in 2015. Bryan is working on IRLO data analyses, data synthesis, and dissemination of IRLO products.

Patrick Monaghan, Biological Scientist

Patrick received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from Florida Atlantic University and has worked in Dr. Hanisak’s program on a wide range of research programs for 20 years. As part of the IRLO team, Patrick assists Dr. Hanisak and Lisa Jackson with water quality monitoring efforts, seagrass field sampling, and lab processing.

John Hart, Biological Scientist

John received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from Florida Atlantic University in 2013. He joined IRLO in the following summer and assists Dr. Hanisak in various field and lab activities and assists in IRLON field and lab work. John also works with education and outreach and is heavily involved with the Junior Scientist Program.

Ben Metzger, Mechanical Engineer

Ben Metzger has his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Arizona University. He has worked in the Harbor Branch Engineering department for the past 6 years, in the areas of project engineering, design, sensor deployments, systems testing, and field operations. Ben designs and oversees the fabrication and custom installation of the instrumentation at our IRLON sites.

Dave Bourdette & Jeff Smith, Research Machinists

Dave and Jeff have worked together at Harbor Branch for years in support of many, diverse projects in marine operations and ocean engineering. As part of the IRLO team, Dave and Jeff fabricate and assemble customized mountings and any other installation and field needs and provide field support for IRLON.

HBOI ocean fish