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Gina Clementi

Marine Ecologist

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I am waiting for drumline retrieval on a shark research trip aboard the R/V ANGARI on Expedition #27. PC: Rachel Plunkett
I am waiting for drumline retrieval on a shark research trip aboard the R/V ANGARI on Expedition #27. PC: Rachel Plunkett

I am waiting for drumline retrieval on a shark research trip aboard the R/V ANGARI on Expedition #27. PC: Rachel Plunkett

I'm releasing a bull shark after collecting fin and muscle samples in the Florida Keys. This was part of Laura García Barcia’s research to assess heavy metal pollution in coastal sharks. PC: Kirk Gastrich

I'm releasing a bull shark after collecting fin and muscle samples in the Florida Keys. This was part of Laura García Barcia’s research to assess heavy metal pollution in coastal sharks. PC: Kirk Gastrich

I'm trying out some new acoustic equipment at an aquarium to see if we can identify and count the fish in the tank. PC: Kirk Gastrich

I'm trying out some new acoustic equipment at an aquarium to see if we can identify and count the fish in the tank. PC: Kirk Gastrich

I set baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) in the Maldives to assess reef shark abundance as part of the Global FinPrint project. PC: Khadeeja Ali

I set baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) in the Maldives to assess reef shark abundance as part of the Global FinPrint project. PC: Khadeeja Ali

Reeling in a permit (Trachinotus falcatus) so I can collect measurements and tissue samples. This project aimed to quantify shark depredation rates in the Florida Keys. PC: Kirk Gastrich

Reeling in a permit (Trachinotus falcatus) so I can collect measurements and tissue samples. This project aimed to quantify shark depredation rates in the Florida Keys. PC: Kirk Gastrich

Smiling as we pass by Miami Beach on our way to our study site. PC: Kirk Gastrich

Smiling as we pass by Miami Beach on our way to our study site. PC: Kirk Gastrich

Here I am preparing a Niskin bottle to collect water samples from a remote reef in Colombia. This was part of an environmental DNA (eDNA) and BRUVS study to compare reef fish diversity. PC: Santiago Estrada

Here I am preparing a Niskin bottle to collect water samples from a remote reef in Colombia. This was part of an environmental DNA (eDNA) and BRUVS study to compare reef fish diversity. PC: Santiago Estrada

I'm chopping up herring for baited remote underwater video station (BRUVS) deployments in Bermuda. This was part of the Global FinPrint project to assess reef shark abundance. PC: Sarah Manuel

I'm chopping up herring for baited remote underwater video station (BRUVS) deployments in Bermuda. This was part of the Global FinPrint project to assess reef shark abundance. PC: Sarah Manuel

Here I am getting acquainted with some island dogs while visiting a shark landing site in southern Belize. This was part of Jessica Quinlan’s research to assess species composition of the commercial shark fishery in Belize. PC: Jessica Quinlan

Here I am getting acquainted with some island dogs while visiting a shark landing site in southern Belize. This was part of Jessica Quinlan’s research to assess species composition of the commercial shark fishery in Belize. PC: Jessica Quinlan

We are working with a student to measure a nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) aboard R/V ANGARI on Expedition #26.

We are working with a student to measure a nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) aboard R/V ANGARI on Expedition #26.

I am waiting for drumline retrieval on a shark research trip aboard the R/V ANGARI on Expedition #27. PC: Rachel PlunkettI'm releasing a bull shark after collecting fin and muscle samples in the Florida Keys. This was part of Laura García Barcia’s research to assess heavy metal pollution in coastal sharks. PC: Kirk GastrichI'm trying out some new acoustic equipment at an aquarium to see if we can identify and count the fish in the tank. PC: Kirk GastrichI set baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) in the Maldives to assess reef shark abundance as part of the Global FinPrint project. PC: Khadeeja AliReeling in a permit (Trachinotus falcatus) so I can collect measurements and tissue samples. This project aimed to quantify shark depredation rates in the Florida Keys. PC: Kirk GastrichSmiling as we pass by Miami Beach on our way to our study site. PC: Kirk GastrichHere I am preparing a Niskin bottle to collect water samples from a remote reef in Colombia. This was part of an environmental DNA (eDNA) and BRUVS study to compare reef fish diversity. PC: Santiago EstradaI'm chopping up herring for baited remote underwater video station (BRUVS) deployments in Bermuda. This was part of the Global FinPrint project to assess reef shark abundance. PC: Sarah ManuelHere I am getting acquainted with some island dogs while visiting a shark landing site in southern Belize. This was part of Jessica Quinlan’s research to assess species composition of the commercial shark fishery in Belize. PC: Jessica QuinlanWe are working with a student to measure a nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) aboard R/V ANGARI on Expedition #26.

Meet Gina Clementi

I am a marine scientist who specializes in the ecology and conservation of marine predators. My research primarily uses non-invasive methods such as baited remote underwater videos, environmental DNA and active acoustics to study marine fishes like sharks, jacks and moray eels. I am also an artist who uses watercolor and digital illustration to aid scientific communication and highlight animals of the marine world. I received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami in Florida and a Master of Science from Stony Brook University in New York, where my thesis focused on the anthropogenic and environmental drivers of shark and ray abundance and diversity on Caribbean coral reefs. After graduate school I moved to Miami to manage the Predator Ecology & Conservation Lab, led by Drs. Demian Chapman and Yannis Papastamatiou, at Florida International University (FIU). Currently, I am a researcher and project manager in Dr. Kevin Boswell’s Marine Ecology and Acoustics Lab at FIU where I am studying shark-permit interactions in the Florida Keys and greater amberjack abundance in the Southeast US.

2017   M.S. Marine and Atmospheric Science, Stony Brook University
2014   B.S. Marine Science and Biology, University of Miami

Get To Know Gina

I grew up in northwest New Jersey, where it’s quite rural and beautiful. I was fortunate to spend my childhood summers fishing at the Jersey Shore and subsequently became fascinated by all the marine critters I caught.

It can vary! Some days I’m out on the water collecting data – deploying baited cameras, collecting water samples or running acoustic surveys. Lots of days I’m at the computer in the lab – downloading videos, analyzing data or writing up results. No matter the day, I always get to work with a great team of people!

I initially wanted to study the ecology of coastal predators in Long Island, New York. Then an opportunity arose to take this research question to warmer waters – the Caribbean! Ever since, I have been working to better understand how reef-associated predators, such as sharks, are impacted by people in the tropics.

I hope my research will further our understanding of how people affect our coral reef ecosystems and their inhabitants. My goal is to understand how anthropogenic activities such as fishing affect reef-associated predators like sharks so that we can best manage these activities and conserve vulnerable species.

Originally, I was interested in studying marine animals of the Mid-Atlantic (blue crabs, sea bass or flounder) since I spent a lot of time fishing there. After starting graduate school with an advisor whose area of expertise was sharks, I was subsequently roped into the shark world, and I haven’t looked back since!

Baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) are a great, non-invasive method to study marine predators like sharks. They remove the stress of animal capture surveys and are relatively cost-effective to replicate so we can compare across time and space. Best of all, I get an underwater glimpse of what the sharks are doing when we’re not around!

Art is an incredible tool that scientists use more often than you think. Science is conveyed through the art of figures and illustrations, which are vital in communicating results. My background in art has helped me to be a better marine scientist, and vice versa!

I am inspired by the opportunities I have been afforded and the people I have worked with throughout my career as a marine ecologist. I have been fortunate to travel to new places and meet generous and knowledgeable people from diverse backgrounds – one of the best parts about my job!

If I was not a scientist, I would love to pursue my art full-time. A little art studio near the beach doesn’t sound too bad!

Be open-minded! I worked on lots of different research projects focusing on various species and using several methods, but I learned something new with every project. Get lots of different experiences and enjoy them!

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