We are excited to welcome a new member of the REEF staff! Alli Candelmo joined the team this week as the Invasive Species Program Coordinator. She comes to REEF with a wealth of experience in field biology, education, and conservation.

Alli attended Rutgers University where she obtained a Ph. D. in Ecology and Evolution. She has studied the population dynamics and management strategies of invasive lionfish in the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos, working with the local stakeholders and communities on both islands to help improve removal efforts and gain a better understanding of invasive lionfish. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research examined a number of anthropogenic impacts on coastal ecosystems and early life history finfish, including; toxicants, ocean acidification and increased temperatures. She had the opportunity to collaborate with REEF on the Grouper Moon project in 2016 and 2017, examining survivorship of early life stages of Nassau and Tiger Grouper. During her graduate career she was a National Science Foundation fellow, developing hands-on science activities for GK-12 classrooms and was a mentor for the Douglass Project. She worked as a NRC Post-Doctoral research associate with NOAA Fisheries and was a NIH post-doctoral research associate in collaboration with NOAA Fisheries and New York University Langone Medical School. Alli is a strong advocate for conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems, regularly volunteering for local community programs; for three years she led the Lionfish Community Culling program in Little Cayman and before that was co-chair of the Jersey Shore Surfrider Foundation chapter in New Jersey leading beach cleanups, storm recovery post Super Storm Sandy, plastic reduction campaigns, and ocean friendly garden campaigns.

In her free-time Alli enjoys cooking, gardening, traveling, and all outdoors adventures; hiking, paddleboarding, surfing, kayaking, snowboarding and scuba diving. She is happiest during her times spent in and around the oceans and will never turn down an opportunity to go breathing underwater; if she has a spear in hand and can catch some lionfish for dinner even better. She is very excited to join the REEF team and have the opportunity to combine quality research, outreach, and education to lead to tangible improvements in the management of coastal and marine ecosystems and improve our conservation efforts.

Welcome, Alli! To learn more about all of our amazing staff, visit the REEF Staff Bios webpage.