Katie Flowers is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Ray Biology and Conservation at Mote Marine Laboratory. She is from New Brunswick, Canada where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from St. Thomas University. Her enthusiasm for diving and the ocean led her to study at the School for Field Studies Center for Marine Resource Studies in the Turks and Caicos Islands where she fell in love with rays and sharks. Following this, Katie was an at-sea fisheries observer along the Lower North Shore of Québec. She later returned to the Turks and Caicos to study whitespotted eagle ray movements using photo identification for her Masters of Arts in Marine Conservation and Policy at Stony Brook University. Growing up in a small landlocked town with parents who fostered her love for the ocean with visits to the Bay of Fundy and public aquaria, Katie believes in the value of experiential learning and community science. She was a K-12 marine science educator for Oceans Learning Partnership and Coastal Explorers Field School in Newfoundland and Labrador and a field team leader for Earthwatch Institute’s Shark and Ray Conservation in Belize project.
For her Ph.D. research at Florida International University, she used accelerometry, passive acoustic telemetry, and baited remote underwater video stations to investigate how sharks, environmental factors, and human pressures influence stingray abundance and behaviour in Caribbean coral reef ecosystems. Part of this work was with Global FinPrint, where she was a research assistant, science communicator, and led data quality improvements for the Western Atlantic Ocean. She is a passionate advocate for science-based conservation and her collaborative efforts led to extended marine protected area boundaries for reef sharks and full protection of all rays in Belize. At Mote, Katie will study the biology and ecology of rays in the Greater Caribbean region in order to identify major threats to populations, support the management and recovery of threatened species, describe key habitats, and refine geographic distributions.
Sign up to be a Stingray Detective! Katie's field project will help determine whether we are seeing a second species of stingray @ Customs House. She will be our Final Night speaker on Friday, October 27. Register for her dive field project on Oct 26 here.