Fellows Society Current Graduate Fellow: Nathan Spindel

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Nathan Spindel

Hometown: San Diego, CA, USA

Fall 2018 – present

PhD in Biological Sciences

 

Recent outreach piece describing our collaborative work in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia:

https://www.biographic.com/restoring-harmony-in-haida-gwaii/

Laboratory website:

https://dkokamoto.wordpress.com/

ResearchGate profile:

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nathan_Spindel

Twitter: @natespin

 

Unique Awards/Achievements

  • 2020 Mote Research Assistantship from the William R. and Lenore Mote Eminent Scholar in Marine Biology Endowment at FSU
  • 2020 Lamarr and Edith Trott Endowed Scholarship
  • 2019 Inducted into Florida State University Fellows Society and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society
  • 2019 Professional Association of Diving Instructors Foundation Research Grant
  • 2019 Mote Research Assistantship from the William R. and Lenore Mote Eminent Scholar in Marine Biology Endowment at FSU
  • 2018 Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences Zale Parry Scholarship
  • 2018 Florida State University Fellowship in Kelp Forest Ecology and Abalone Population Dynamics

 

Educational/Professional Background

PhD Biological Sciences (expected Spring 2023) - Florida State University
FSU Cumulative GPA 4.0
B.Sc. Aquatic Biology 2009 - University of California Santa Barbara

Coursework at FSU:
Applied Spatial Statistics
Community Ecology
Population Ecology
Advanced Quantitative Methods
Bioinformatics

Specialized training:
Fatty acid biomarker diet tracing - Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, Coastal Trophic Ecology Laboratory, PI: Aaron Galloway PhD, Postdoc: Julie Schram PhD

Presentations:
● 2020 (scheduled) Ocean Sciences Meeting “Calcification in the Coralline Algae: A Synthesis and Conceptual Model” McCoy, S.J., Peuschel, C.M., Kranz, S.A., Cornwall, C.E., Comeau, S., Spindel, N.B. , Borowitzka, M.A.
● 2019 Western Society of Naturalists “Collaborative Coastal Marine Habitat Restoration Within An Indigenous Co-Management Context In Gwaii Haanas, Haida Gwaii, Canada” Lee, L., Bellis, V., McNeill, D., Irvine, R., Wilson, N., Houston, C., Okamoto, D., Spindel, N.B.
● 2017 Western Society of Naturalists “Determining Long-Term Biological Performance of a Large Artificial Reef in Southern California: The Wheeler North Artificial Reef” Spindel, N.B. , Huang, D.Y., Weisman, D., Chaimberlain, L., Silbert, M.L., Schroeter, S.C., Reed, D.C., Raimondi, P.T.
● 2012 Western Society of Naturalists and MCR LTER All Investigators Meeting “Implications of Using LED Lights to Test the Effects of Ocean Acidification on Coral Calcification”. Smolenski, J.R., Spindel, N.B. , and P.J. Edmunds
● 2010 Western Society of Naturalists “Independent assessment of mitigation performance: A case study for Wheeler North Reef, the world’s largest artificial kelp reef.” Reed, D.C., Weisman, D., Deza, A., Bentley, E., Spindel, N.B. , Huang, D.Y.
● 2008 UCSB Student Symposium “Anthropogenic effects on Acanthaster Planci outbreaks in French Polynesia, a model for prediction”. Spindel, N.B.

Formal Reports:
● 2010, 2013-2016 Annual Report of the Status of Condition C: Kelp Reef Mitigation in 2016. San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) Mitigation Program. Submission to California Coastal Commission. (http://marinemitigation.msi.ucsb.edu/documents/artificial_reef/index.html)

Professional Research Background:
2013-2018 SONGS Mitigation and Monitoring Project, Staff Research Associate II
Website: http://marinemitigation.msi.ucsb.edu/
General duties:
Field: Subtidal ecological surveys of the world's largest artificial kelp restoration reef and two natural reference reefs off the southern California coast. Laboratory: Routine and emergency maintenance and monitoring of the project's information management and technology system, including hardware and software components. Processing of performance and operation data and logs, identification of security threats, vulnerabilities,
and performance bottlenecks. Data entry, QA/QC, assist in compilation of project documentation and annual report. Processing, sorting, and classification of invertebrate and algal samples collected from the field. Fabrication and repair of sampling equipment.

2011-2013 National Science Foundation Research Technician - Ocean acidification and coral reefs
Website: http://www.crco2.org , http://mcr.lternet.edu/
General duties:
Support for research on the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on coral reefs in Moorea, French Polynesia and Oahu, Hawaii USA. Research focused on the ecophysiology of corals and algae, and spanned investigative scales from organisms, to assemblages of species, and natural communities. Experiments conducted involved microcosms and in situ analyses. Responsibilities included management of research logistics, design, construction, maintenance, and husbandry of experimental aquaria, management of field and diving operations for a small research team, carbonate chemistry analysis, a range of physiological assays, data collection, QA/QC, and analysis, and collaboration on manuscript preparation.

2010 SONGS Mitigation and Monitoring Project, Laboratory Assistant III
General duties:
Field and laboratory support for a long-term study investigating the performance of the world's artificial kelp restoration reef used to mitigate the loss of kelp forest habitat caused by the operation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). Database management and web integration. Fabrication and repair of sampling equipment. Project presentation at symposia.

2010-2018 Marine Biologist/Collector at Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation Discovery Center
General duties:
Design and construction of aquaria and exhibits for display of local temperate marine organisms. Presentation of interactive marine educational programs for special events. Collection and husbandry of local marine organisms.

2009 Partnership for the Interdisciplinary Study of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), Laboratory Assistant II
General duties:
Larval fish otolith and larval squid statolith extraction and preparation using microtools and dissecting microscopy coupled with digital imaging equipment. Subtidal benthic and fish surveys in the Southern California Bight and associated laboratory support.

2008 Partnership for the Interdisciplinary Study of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), Laboratory Assistant I
General duties:
Subtidal benthic and fish surveys in the Southern California Bight and associated laboratory support.

 

Research and Teaching Interests, or Professional Field

Research:

My goal is to advance our understanding of how trophic dynamics and environmental change affect the metabolic ecology of size-structured populations. I currently study marine invertebrates in temperate kelp forest ecosystems as model organisms for understanding these dynamics. A central aim of my dissertation research is to build understanding of complex feedbacks between body size-specific growth, reproduction, and herbivory through the lens of dynamic energy allocation in different food availability, temperature, and pH contexts. In the past, I have also studied the physiological ecology of tropical corals and calcifying algae under environmental pressure from ocean acidification.

Teaching:

  • 2019/2020 Co-mentor for 3 UROP undergraduate students working on fatty acid biomarker analysis.
  • 2018/2019 Co-mentor for 1 UROP undergraduate student working on annual growth estimation using mark-recapture.
  • 2019 TA for Dr. Trisha Terebelski - ZOO3141L Animal Diversity. Average Supervisor Rating: 4.75/5.0
  • 2019 Assisted with instruction of FSU Scientific Diving Course
  • 2019 Guest lecture:Adventures in Marine Biology University Health Center
  • 2019 FSU Coastal & Marine Lab Open House presenter for McCoy/Okamoto Lab research
  • 2010-2018 Marine Biologist/Collector at Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation Discovery Center in Carlsbad, California

 

I believe that visual, hands-on demonstration is crucial for communicating the importance of subtidal ecology to students and the public. With this idea in mind, I founded the Discovery Aquarium at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation in Carlsbad, CA in 2010. I drafted, proposed, and was awarded a municipal grant to construct a local biotope exhibit representing marine flora and fauna to be used for STEM education for the Environmental Stewardship program for K-12 students, as well as for public outreach workshops. I secured donations of several large aquaria from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and installed all life support systems. In addition to obtaining permits and managing aquarium husbandry, collections, and support personnel I also give regular free public presentations on local marine ecology using the Discovery Aquarium as a visual aid. In addition, I built an aquaponic garden which serves as a living exhibit demonstrating the use of technology to sustain urban agriculture. Volunteering to create and maintain these projects over the last eight years has been rewarding, and I plan to continue expanding curricula for the Environmental Stewardship program.

I am committed to promoting STEM through engaging with society on a variety of levels, from K-12 students to undergraduates and beyond. As a staff research associate at SONGSMMP, I mentored seasonal lab assistants, most of whom were recent college graduates. I enjoyed developing novel training tools, including a software application for biodiversity training, a virtual reality model for expressing logistically complex field protocols, and subtidal dive training. At the collegiate level during my graduate education, it has been deeply fulfilling to mentor several UROP undergraduates and serve as TA in Animal Diversity Lab.

Teaching and mentoring in the field of marine ecology has the added benefit of raising public awareness about risks to ecosystems that provide valuable services for human communities. One recent example of this public engagement is my research team’s ongoing partnership with the Council of Haida Nations (CHN), Parks Canada, commercial fishermen, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to execute a kelp restoration project. First Nations stakeholders have historically been underrepresented in fisheries and environmental management, despite the fact that the Haida sustainably harvested in BC, Canada for thousands of years, whereas Western fisherman have serially depleted several fisheries in the region over the course of little over 100 years. I am honored to have collaborated with this community in taking proactive steps toward conservation and improved management--especially at a time when climate change and population growth have increased the urgency of this work.

 

Experience as A Graduate Student at FSU

My experience so far as a graduate student at FSU has been highlighted by the unique privilege of conducting subtidal ecological research in the spectacular setting of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada. In addition to this incredible opportunity, I've also found the collaborative culture fostered by the student body and faculty at the Department of Biological Sciences inspiring and fulfilling.

 

Experience as A Graduate Student at FSU

My experience so far as a graduate student at FSU has been highlighted by the unique privilege of conducting subtidal ecological research in the spectacular setting of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada. In addition to this incredible opportunity, I've also found the collaborative culture fostered by the student body and faculty at the Department of Biological Sciences inspiring and fulfilling.

 

Future Plans/Aspirations

Long-term career goal: tenure-track faculty position.

 

2020 goals:

  • Submit at least 1 manuscript per year starting 2020.
  • Complete coursework and preliminary exams Fall 2020.
  • Design and execute 2 experiments:
  • 3-spp comparison
  • metabolic costs and resource allocation consequences of multiple abiotic drivers (temp, pH, [O2]).
  • Draft PhD Proposal by year-end 2020.
  • Participate in Mote Working Group August 2020.
  • Continue mentorship of UROP students.
  • Apply to Smithsonian Graduate Fellowship for 2021.
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