28051 US Hwy 19 North
Clearwater, FL 33761
Marker One Marina
343 Causeway Blvd
Dunedin, FL 34698
While in undergraduate school, Moriah wanted to take as many opportunities as she could to gain experience in her field so that she would be a better candidate for graduate programs and for getting a job. She found several opportunities in the US and abroad and began the lengthy application processes for several organizations. These internships and research opportunities were very expensive and it was actually easier to get accepted into a study abroad organization than it was to get a position in the US. Moriah took a 10 week internship in Auckland, New Zealand and gained valuable experience with lab equipment and lab procedures, but did not get to do much field work at all. During those 10 weeks only about 16 hours were spent in the field. Many of the other interns in New Zealand had flown halfway around the world from landlocked states, had never done any field work, and expected to gain that experience through the internship. They were very disappointed. Moriah was still able to gain some field experience from her classes at the University of West Florida, but did not get to work in the field enough to add anything to her resume. Many of Moriah's friends opted for an internship at several labs and aquariums in the US, and again they were very disappointed to find that most of their time was spent in the lab or preparing food for animals at the facility, and only a few hours a week (if any) were spent in the field or working directly with the animals at the facility.
CMERA was founded to provide students the unique opportunity to be in the field and work directly with marine life. This program was designed to be 100% hands-on and in the field, so that each day you spent with CMERA you are on a boat catching and handling live animals. We are trying to give students the chance to use equipment, handle wild animals, and to participate in ongoing research. Many students choose a major without having any experience in their field of study. CMERA provides that experience so students can get a feel for real science outside a classroom or lab. Our application process is simple and we try to accommodate every applicant as best we can.
We hope that this experience will ignite a passion for science and research in the students involved, and we hope that this experience will help guide each student's path after they graduate. This experience has helped many of our previous students choose a specialty for graduate school, get accepted into other internships and into a career and we are thrilled to assist in that process!
Moriah is the President of CMERA. She has a master's degree in Coastal Marine and Wetland Studies from Coastal Carolina University, a bachelor's degree in Marine Biology from the University of West Florida and a United States Coast Guard Captains masters license. Her specialty is elasmobranchs, but she is very knowledgeable in all areas of marine biology and has experience teaching marine biology at elementary, college, and public levels. She has gained experience in field research with different organizations around the globe, and has conducted her own independent elasmobranch research for several years.
Alan is the CMERA Director. He is a United States Coast Guard licensed masters boat captain and has many years of experience in field research, handling and tagging animals, and species identification. He previously owned and operated a scuba diving charter company that was in Sport Diver Magazine UK and on the Military Channel documentary Quest for Sunken Warships: USS Oriskany. He also has numerous years of experience in law enforcement with the federal government.
Cory Dick - Biologist
Born in Lake City, Minnesota, but moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin for college right after high school and graduated from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Grew up fishing, hunting, camping, and exploring the outdoors. Fishing has had the largest affect on my life causing me to study biology as an undergraduate and look for a fisheries or aquatic biology program as a graduate student. Love to travel and study all aspects of biology while traveling to new locations. Plan to spend this summer as well as last summer in Alaska studying salmon for the AK Fish and Game.
Sam Fischer - Marine Biologist
Sam is from Wisconsin where he graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire with bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Spanish. Despite being land-locked Sam was able to spend a great deal of time working on the ocean in both educational and research settings. Sam has worked as an American Red Cross Swim Instructor for 5 years and is not only Lifeguard/First Aid/CPR Certified but is also Water Safety Instructor certified. He spent time working on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts as an Environmental Education Instructor with the Maria Mitchell Association. He has also worked as an 8th Grade Science Teacher. In regards to research experience Sam has spent time in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador where he worked for the Charles Darwin Research Station on an ongoing Tiger Shark tagging project within the Archipelago as well as several other projects. These include a field study on game fish populations in the archipelago, a shark education campaign, and a recent sea mount survey of the Galapagos Spreading Center in conjunction with the University of Southampton and NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer. Sam’s true passion lies in elasmobranch conservation; especially large shark species, where he strives to dispel fear and promote conservation through education at all levels.
Alex Morris - Marine Biologist
Alex is from Annapolis, MD where she graduated from American University with a Bachelors in Environmental Science and Biochemistry. She played 4 years of Division I Field Hockey along with doing undergraduate research on the population genetics of sea grass in the Mariana Islands. The project goal is to identify genetic markers to identify the genetic diversity among the sea grass populations to give a suggestion on island health. Alex has is a PADI certified diver and loves to spend time learning about the ocean by experiencing it first hand. She will be starting her Masters in the fall at the University of West Florida studying Marine Biology.
Taylor Truett - Marine Biologist
Even though she’s from Colorado, Taylor always had a passion for the ocean. She graduated from the University of South Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in Marine Science completing her undergraduate marine biology research experience at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. After graduating, she moved to Key West where she got experience diving and worked with a nonprofit organization educating the public on coral reef conservation. She now hopes to direct those efforts towards elasmobranch conservation and research.
Matilda Miller - Intern
Matilda is currently enrolled at the University of Tampa. Matilda has been volunteering with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on the dive team to increase her experience with diving and marine animals. She is also working on a research project focusing on the feeding frequencies of dwarf seahorses in different temperature environments. Matilda worked with CMERA in 2016 tagging and collecting DNA and other data on elasmobranchs in the Gulf of Mexico. Matilda is planning on going into field research after college.