Our staff...

Alan Moore - President and Director of Operations and Development

Alan is the CMERA Director of Operations and Development. He creates teaches and creates new programs and classes to constantly update and improve the learning experience at CMERA. 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. You can contact Alan at alan@cmera.net

Dr. Carlos Polo-Silva - Professor
Dr. Polo-Silva holds a B.S. in Marine Biology from the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University UJTL (Colombia), an M.S. from IPN-CICIMAR, Mexico, and a PhD from the University Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. All his thesis work has been studying feeding ecology of thresher and blue sharks. Carlos has worked together with scientists from the University of Alaska, the University of Wyoming, and the University of Utah. Carlos has been a passionate full-time University professor at UJTL and has worked as a consultant and a representative for PEW charitable trust and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Carlos is an IUCN shark member and CMS (Convention of Migratory Species) member. He continues being a Latin American shark conservation consultant and regularly participates at CITES and CMS international meetings, while working for HSI and IFAW.

Dr. Angelica Barrera-Garcia - Professor
Dr. Angelica Barrera-Garcia is a Marine Biologist from the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University – UJTL (Colombia) and an honors Master´s IPN-CICIMAR, Mexico where she studied fish osteology. During her Doctorate in Science, she studied the ecotoxicology of blue sharks in Mexican waters trying to find the physiological effects (oxidative stress indicators) on sharks caused by heavy metals, obtained through feeding habits. She worked with researchers from the University of Fairbanks, Alaska and the University of Wyoming. Additionally, she worked as an environmental consultant monitoring Colombian marine fishery resources. Recently, she worked as a master’s degree professor at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University.

Paige Plier - Education Director

Paige is a graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife science and a minor in captive wild animal management. She also received her M.A. from the University of Florida in Environmental Science. She has worked as an Environmental Specialist with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in Pensacola. Paige is passionate about increasing awareness of modern day environmental issues and reviving positive human relationships with wildlife. 

Matilda Miller - Marine Biologist / Captain
Matilda is a graduate of 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. This is Matilda's fourth year working with CMERA tagging and collecting data on elasmobranchs in the Gulf of Mexico. Matilda is planning on going into field research after obtaining her masters degree. You can contact Matilda at matilda@cmera.net

Jacey Jackard - Biologist

Jacey is from Haslett, MI where she graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife. Growing up, she spent most of her time outdoors or doing gymnastics, and later began to coach the sport after high school. Before CMERA, Jacey was a Park Naturalist at a nature center in Michigan, where she taught kids about flora and fauna. As much as she loves Michigan and the sport of gymnastics, aquatics and wildlife are her true passions. She is scuba certified and loves spending most of her time outdoors being active and in the water. This is her second year with CMERA, starting as a student and now continuing as an intern. She is excited to continue her professional and educational experiences so she can teach future generations.

MaKayla Nguyen - Biologist

MaKayla is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello with a bachelor’s degree in Organismal Biology and a minor in natural sciences.  Her undergrad research detailed the effects recreational activities had on mussel populations in the Lower Saline River.  MaKayla plans to pursue a master’s degree in Marine Biology.

David Carlysle – Captain
David graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.  After becoming a registered Professional Engineer, he owned and managed an engineering consulting firm for almost 30 years before retiring and pursuing other interests, including becoming a United States Coast Guard masters boat captain.  David is Moriah Moore’s father and has supported and helped her with shark and ray research since 2011.  David is a master scuba diver, a licensed paramedic and a certified firefighter. 

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!

Contact Information

Mailing/Classroom address:


35246 US Hwy 19 N 

Suite 230

Palm Harbor, FL 34684

Marina address:

Home Port Marina

135 Orange St.

Palm Harbor, FL 34683