Dr. Kevin Boswell

Marine Sciences Program

Department of Biological Sciences


I am a marine ecologist, with general interests in the ecology and behavioral dynamics of coastal and marine nekton and surface oriented vertebrates. My research program broadly focuses on the interacting factors that mediate the distributional patterns, behavior, habitat use, energetics and natural ecology of coastal and oceanic animals, including the implications of ecosystem variability, particularly for rapidly changing environments. To address many of these interests, my lab integrates advanced sampling techniques, such as active and passive underwater acoustics, with observations from autonomous aerial and aquatic platforms to collect high-resolution data to simultaneously describe spatial and temporal patterns of interest, ranging from individual-level interactions to broad ecosystem dynamics. The observational and analytical techniques my lab employs are robust across an array of ecosystems and animal types facilitating a high-level interdisciplinary and collaborative research program.


Areas of Interest:  Active and Passive Acoustics; Estuarine, Coastal and Pelagic Ecology; Behavior; Population Biology; Habitat Loss; Oil and Gas Development; Biological Oceanography

Dr. Marta D'Elia- Post Doctoral Researcher

Marine Sciences Program

Department of Biological Sciences


I come from Italy with a degree in Environmental Science and general interests in how environmental factors structure marine organisms. I love to conduct research and travel is my passion. My experience as a researcher began at the Institute for the Marine Coastal Environment, in Sicily where I studied the behavior of fish in the Sicily Channel considering the importance of seabed properties and plankton aggregations using hydroacoustics. As part of my PhD research, I developed and applied  post-processing techniques to utilize multiple acoustic frequencies to extract data and aid in the classification of anchovy, sardine, and horse mackerel. By utilizing echo trace analysis coupled with the species-dependent back scattering properties, I was able to isolate the various species to describe the spatial distributions of these important species.  Another aspect of this research was the development and application of  statistical methods to aid in the classification, specifically focusing on classification tree and random forest methods (developed in R).


I am currently focusing on the application of multifrequency analyses to classify and characterize the spatial and temporal variation of the mesopelgic region (i.e., the deep scattering layer) in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Our aim is describe and quantify the acoustic signals belonging to different classes of mesopelagic species to better understand the factors that structure the patterns in mesopelagic biomass (i.e., oceanographic conditions, water mass mixing, pelagic production, etc.).

Dr. Camilo Roa- Post Doctoral Researcher

Marine Sciences Program

Department of Biological Sciences

I am an ocean and electronic engineer with interest in underwater acoustics, acoustic modeling and signal processing. I have worked on marine sensors, instrumentation and control systems of electric motors for unmanned vehicles. I also have experience in electromagnetic sensors and its application to humanitarian landmine detection. For my doctoral research, I developed a 3D inversion technique for the sound speed profile of the seabed.

Areas of Interest

  • Underwater acoustics

  • Linear inversion methods

  • Seabed geoacoustic modeling

  • Signal processing

  • Acoustic-visual detection and classification systems

  • Acoustic impact on marine life

Graduate Students

Ivan Rodriguez-Pinto

PhD Candidate


My current research interests are focused on physical-biological interactions, specifically, the coordination and control of self-organized collective systems in a noisy environment. My dissertation research is particularly focused on whether dynamic environments modulate collective responses of fish schools when under predator attack. I am using acoustic imaging data of predator attacks on fish schools collected in estuarine environments that vary in water quality and habitat complexity. The variability in these environments can influence the ability for a fish school to respond collectively to a predator. Understanding the plasticity of the collective behaviors of fish schools will provide insight into the spatiotemporal properties and evolutionary pressures of prey fish- a crucial and commercially important link between primary producers and consumers in fisheries management.Aside from my dissertation research, I am also interested in the development of technical applications to marine science. Currently, I am working on an open-source framework for mosaicking images taken from an acoustic imaging sonar mounted on an autonomous vessel. This technique can effectively map the nearshore environment as well as identify structural bathymetric features in any type of water condition. In addition, I am also working on understanding the biomechanical properties of large pelagic predators (i.e. Sailfish).


I received my B.S. in Cybernetics with emphasis in Systems Biology at the University of California - Los Angeles in 2011. 

Benjamin Binder

PhD Candidate


I received my bachelor’s degree from Coastal Carolina University in May of 2010 and immediately left for the Florida Keys to begin working for Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. As an FWC biologist I was fortunate enough to participate in a range of research projects; including a long term telemetry based MPA connectivity effort in the Dry Tortugas, lionfish recolonization and removal projects throughout the Keys, and various other studies that allowed me to interact and collaborate with different agencies from the region. Most relevant to my current thesis work, we studied historically known reef fish spawning aggregations (FSAs) in the lower Keys using various acoustic technologies, telemetry techniques, and diver surveys. My thesis work is an extension of the FSA work in the Keys, focusing on using local fisherman to locate and quantify the density, spatial distribution, temporal predictability and age structure of FSAs along the contiguous reef tract in S. Florida. Along with the spatiotemporal aspects of FSAs I am interested in the reproductive behavior and biology of aggregating fish, and their potential to alter local nutrient cycles and influence benthic organisms. Aside from my research I am an avid waterman and hope that my research will contribute to the protection and preservation of our local fisheries resources.

Allison White

PhD Student


For as long as I can remember, I've always been fascinated by marine life. As early as high school I knew that my true passion was fisheries research. Reading about the rapidly deteriorating state of global fisheries, I became determined to help improve the sustainability of fish harvesting. I began working towards this goal at Texas A&M University at Galveston, where I received Bachelor's degrees in Marine Biology and Marine Fisheries. During this time, I also completed an undergraduate research project with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium comparing fish and invertebrate assemblages on natural and artificial reefs. After graduating, I received a Master's degree in Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. For my thesis I examined the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of life history and productivity trends in Atlantic Weakfish (Cynoscion regalis). My thesis project happened to coincide with the stock assessment for weakfish, which provided me with the opportunity to observe the stock assessment process first hand and even participate in it.

I am currently pursuing a PhD in Biology, focusing on the possible application of acoustics to a multispecies fishery-independent survey of reef fishes. Through this work, I am hoping to design a survey which will improve the quality and quantity of data available in the Southeast United States. Outside of my research, I am interested in diving, caving, cave diving, and generally anything having to do with fish and/or caves.

Nicholas Tucker

PhD Student/Lab Manager

I received my Bachelor of Science from Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage. During my experience there, I had a hand in many marine science projects. I worked with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game assessing stocks of razor clams (Ninilchik) and scallops (Kodiak). I used ROV footage from NOAA to identify rates of symbiosis between basket stars and sea whips. Post graduation I've worked with NOAA in two facets- one as an acoustic technician for the National Marine Mammal Laboratory and also as a Fisheries Observer for the National Marine Fisheries Service. Here at Florida International University, I have worked with Red Snapper identifying their relative abundance and distribution. I have also helped process some data for the DEEPEND project. 

I am currently working on my PhD. I have been working in both the Gulf of Mexico and the northwest Atlantic studying the prey fish populations in each area and their interactions with marine mammal predation. I would like to better understand the trophic ecology of these areas as well as develop more robust models for them. 

Lab Technicians

Daniel Correa

Daniel started off as an undergraduate in our lab and is currently taking some post-graduate courses. He has been a huge contributor to our technological advancements. His skills in engineering have led to new motion sensors and operating boxes for acoustic equipment. He has also made great strides in making the ASV a more efficient autonomous vehicle. 

Olivia Odom

Olivia is an undergraduate at FIU who is currently working on our Red Snapper project. She is transitioning from working with sea turtles and is interested in becoming familiar with acoustics. 

Lab Alumni

Past Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr. Guillaume Rieucau- Currently Assistant Professor at LUMCON

Dr. Laura Catano- Currently Adjunct Assistant Professor University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Dr. Erin LaBrecque - Currently a freelance scientist

Past Students

Gabriel Diaz (Undergraduate/ Lab Technician). Working as a North Pacific Groundfish Fisheries Observer for NOAA in the Bering Sea/Gulf of Alaska. Contact: gdiaz094@fiu.edu

Mark Barton (PhD student). Thesis title: "Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Arctic Nearshore Fish Community and Food Web Structures". Currently a post-doctoral researcher in Joel Trexler's Aquatic Ecology Lab. Contact: mbart034@fiu.edu 

Aubree Zenone (MS student).  Thesis title: "A Comparative Study of Concurrent Acoustic and Diver Survey Data, and Fish Community Descriptions of a High Latitude Coral Reef, Florida, USA."

Currently Assistant Manager for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Coral Reef Conservation Program.

Cristina Antonio (Lab Technician). Graduated with BSc in Biological Sciences. Currently an environmental technician with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

© 2016 by Kboswell

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