Heidi joined SFS’s Turks and Caicos Island field station as Center Director in 2011. Her research interests include relationships between land use and coastal marine systems including mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs and the integration of science and research into environmental strategies and policies for the conservation of biodiversity and coastal resources. She uses water chemistry, plant biology and invertebrate physiology to answer basic and applied questions. Through community outreach, we increase the local understanding of our impacts on the near shore environments; collect data that can be utilized by community member, presented at local and national conferences and in peer review publications; and encourage environmental stewardship of the marine environment through awareness of the impact we have on these systems.
As a teacher and alumna of SFS, Heidi believes it is her role to provide the basic tools and motivation for learning. This includes creating a stimulating environment where students can participate in the learning event. She incorporates field and laboratory experiences (including snorkeling, SCUBA, and underwater photography and videography), oral presentations, and hands-on activities (i.e. service learning) as part of her courses. She strives to create an atmosphere where participants are challenged to achieve their full potential, and in doing so, she too is challenged.
Academics & Research
2013 - present
Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean, Chair Student Grant-in-Aid
1995 - present
1992 - present
Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation
1995 - present
American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
1990 - present
National Association of Underwater Instructors
The research conducted at SFS field stations is designed to answer key questions related to critical and related social and environmental problems and to provide our hosts with detailed and accurate information for decision making and action. Faculty and student research projects are linked to the Center’s Strategic Research Plan, which defines an overarching research directive.
Tourism is an important source of income for many small island nations; however, increased tourism and the creation of the infrastructure that supports this industry often have harmful effects on the environment. Climate change may compound the effects. Long term monitoring of reef diversity and health, increases the understanding of our local ecosystems on which we are dependent.
M.A. MacNeil, D. Chapman, M. Heupel, C. Simpfendorfer, M. Heithaus, M. Meekan, E. Harvey, J. Goetze, C. Speed, L. Currey-Randall, T. Gorham, M. Bond, C. Sherman, M.J. Rees, V. Udyawer, J.E. Cinner, A. Henderson and H. Hertler. Nature (In Review)