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CoastWatch Team

Job Title Name Biography CoastWatch Groups
CoastWatch Program Manager Veronica P. Lance, PhD
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NOAA NESDIS STAR SOCD CoastWatch / OceanWatch / PolarWatch

Veronica Lance is a NOAA federal employee and current Program Manager for the NOAA CoastWatch/OceanWatch/PolarWatch Program and previously served as CoastWatch Program Scientist for over 5 years. She is trained as a biological oceanographer with a Ph.D. from Duke University. Veronica’s research interests include the use of ocean satellite data to study phytoplankton and primary productivity. She serves as a liaison between the upstream satellite specialists in the Satellite Oceanography and Climatology Division and downstream users of NOAA’s CoastWatch data. She holds a Visiting Assistant Research Scientist faculty position at University of Maryland, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center.

Program Management
CEOS COAST Program Manager for NOAA CoastWatch Merrie Beth Neely, PhD PMP
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Global Science and Technology for NOAA NESDIS STAR SOCD

Dr. Neely serves as GEOAquaWatch Secretariat’s Scientific Coordinator employed as a NOAA-affiliate contractor through Global Science and Technology, Inc. working for NOAA’s Satellite Oceanography and Climatology Division.   She is a certified program manager, phytoplankton ecologist, and oceanographer holding advanced degrees from University of Tampa and University of South Florida.  With a background in harmful algal blooms and coastal, estuarine, and riverine water quality monitoring; she brings considerable knowledge of field sampling and laboratory analysis experience; including sensor operation and maintenance, managing big data, biological and nutrient water quality laboratory and observatory management, and interdisciplinary research program leadership.

Program Management , Research, Applications, & International Relations , Training & Outreach
CoastWatch Central Contract Team Manager Heng Gu, MS
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Riva Solutions, Inc. for NOAA CoastWatch

Heng Gu has been supporting NOAA CoastWatch program since 1997, and served as Central Contract Team Manager since 2008. Gu leads the CoastWatch Central Contract Team to generate and distribute satellite ocean products to NOAA internal and public users. His first job with NOAA was supporting the ADEOS mission, right after the launch of ADEOS I Ocean Color and Temperature Scanner (OCTS) by NASDA (National Space Development Agency of Japan) in 1996. Gu's first assignment was to write a C code to convert 10 bit OCTS raw sensor data to 16 bit integer and output to Level 0 files. One year later, ADEOS I was decommissioned after the satellite sustained structural damage to the solar panel array, and the team was recruited to support the CoastWatch program.

Central Operations
West Coast Operations and Deputy PolarWatch Node Manager Dale Robinson, PhD
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NOAA Affiliate for Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Dale Robinson is the Operations Manager for the CoastWatch West Coast Node (WCN). In this role, he works with local stakeholders and engagement partners to develop and distribute value-added satellite products that are designed for use in the operational and research activities of NOAA and the entire CoastWatch community. To further support operational and research activities, he works directly with engagement partners to give them the advice, tools, and training needed to make it easy for users to discover, access and use valuable NOAA satellite products for their ocean applications.

Node - PolarWatch , Node - West Coast
East Coast Node Manager Michelle (Shelly) Tomlinson, MS
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NOAA National Ocean Service National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science

Shelly is the Coastwatch East Coast Node manager, providing useful satellite products to a wide range of users on the East Coast. She works in the Stressors and Impacts Division (SDI) within National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), in the National Ocean Service (NOS). Ms. Tomlinson’s current research focuses on the application of satellite derived ocean color sensors to detect, monitor, and forecast the occurrence of harmful algal blooms.  This work has supported the development and transition of several HAB forecast systems within NOAA. Prior to working for NCCOS, Tomlinson spent 4 years at NESDIS' National Oceanographic Data Center where she archived and managed ECOHAB data.

Node - East Coast
Great Lakes Node Manager Andrea Vanderwoude, PhD
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Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Andrea VanderWoude, PhD, is a satellite oceanographer, data scientist, and geologist. Dr. VanderWoude is currently the CoastWatch Great Lakes Node Manager. She has been using remote sensing for over 20 years and specifically hyperspectral imagery for more than 5 years to understand ecological and physical processes in the Great Lakes and the coastal and Southern Ocean. Dr. VanderWoude is working on providing ocean color, lake surface temperature, ice type and extent, and hyperspectral remote sensing data to stakeholders in the Great Lakes region. 

Node - Great Lakes
Gulf of Mexico / Caribbean and Atlantic OceanWatch Node Manager Gustavo Goni, PhD
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Physical Oceanography Division at NOAA/AOML

Dr. Gustavo Goni is the Node Manager for the Atlantic OceanWatch and Gulf and Caribbean Node.  He is also a director of the Physical Oceanography Division at NOAA/AOML.  Dr. Goni manages the NOAA eXpendable BathyThermograph (XBT) Program, which is a component of an international effort to design, implement, and maintain a global network of XBT transects. Dr. Goni is the Chairman of the WMO/IOC Ship of Opportunity Program, which main objective is to fulfill upper ocean observational requirements as established by GCOS and GOOS.  One of Dr. Goni's main areas of research is the investigation of the variability of boundary currents using combined hydrographic and satellite data analysis. At larger spatial scales, Dr.

Node - Gulf of Mexico / Caribbean / Atlantic OceanWatch
Central Pacific OceanWatch Operations Manager Hui (Daisy) Shi, PhD
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Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (CIMAR)

Hui (Daisy) Shi is the Operations Manager for OceanWatch-Central Pacific. She is based at the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the University of Hawai'i. Daisy’s expertise is in using climate model output and ocean observations combined with her understanding of atmospheric dynamics to investigate the influence of climate processes on resources important to society. Her previous work focused on the coupling between terrestrial precipitation extremes and marine heat waves under a changing climate and on the impacts of climate variability on living marine resources. Daisy earned her PhD in Meteorology from the University of Hawai‘i. She earned MS degrees from Columbia University and Peking University.

Node - OceanWatch Central Pacific
Water Node Manager David Vallee, PhD
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NOAA's National Water Center
No biography provided Node - Water (Inland)
West Coast and PolarWatch Node Manager Cara Wilson, PhD
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Environmental Research Division Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Cara Wilson is the PI of the West Coast Node of CoastWatch and of PolarWatch. She works at the Environmental Research Division of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Monterey California.  She was instrumental in developing the CoastWatch Satellite Course back in 2006 and has been helping to teach it ever since. Her research interests involve understanding the dynamics associated with the anomalous summertime chlorophyll blooms that develop in the North Pacific.  

Node - PolarWatch , Node - West Coast
CoastWatch Central Help Desk Coordinator Michael Soracco, MS
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Riva Solutions, Inc. for NOAA CoastWatch

Michael Soracco is the HelpDesk Coordinator for NOAA CoastWatch/OceanWatch/PolarWatch. He specializes in user access by developing and maintaining data products, the data portal (and website) and runs the helpdesk. Michael studied aerospace engineering for his B.AE at Georgia Institute of Technology and earned his Master’s degree in Administration at Central Michigan University. He served as a commissioned officer in the NOAA Corps servicing equatorial moored buoys, conducting coastal hydrographic surveys, and as an ocean remote sensing operations officer. He has developed and taught the NOAA GIS course and is a fundamental source of the CoastWatch program’s “corporate memory.“

Central Operations , Training & Outreach
Central Pacific OceanWatch Operations Manager Melanie Abecassis, PhD
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Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC)

Melanie Abecassis is a Visiting Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Maryland, CMNS-Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center. She is the former Operations Manager for OceanWatch and is currently working on compiling virtual CoastWatch training resources. Dr. Abecassis is a Marine Ecologist with a Ph.D. from Universite Paul Sabatier (Toulouse III). Melanie’s research interests include animal habitat modeling and using satellite data to reduce endangered species bycatch.

Node - OceanWatch Central Pacific , Training & Outreach
East Coast Node Operations Manager Ron Vogel, MS
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Ron Vogel, the East Coast Node Operations Manager, applies oceanographic satellite data to coastal environmental issues on local and regional scales. He works directly with stakeholders, including environmental managers, decision-makers, and academic researchers in the areas of water quality, climate change and fisheries. By developing applications for routine environmental monitoring and analyses ecological understanding, he converts data to information and then to impactful knowledge for communicating with the stakeholders and informing environmental decisions. Ron has expertise in both visible and infrared satellite remote sensing.

Node - East Coast
Great Lakes Node Operations Manager Songzhi Liu, MA
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NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Songzhi Liu is the operations Manager at CoastWatch Great Lakes Node. He has been working on satellite data for over two decades. His work is mainly focused on how to transform satellite data into daily usage. To achieve this goal, he developed multiple operational programs to receive, process, analyze, and archive the Great Lakes satellite data. He worked with many collogues and researchers to generate the Great Lakes regional mapping products from remotely sensed data.

Node - Great Lakes
Gulf of Mexico / Caribbean and Atlantic OceanWatch Operations Manager Joaquin Trinanes, PhD
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NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

Dr. Joaquin Trinanes is the Operations Manager for the NOAA/CoastWatch Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico Node, and for Atlantic OceanWatch. The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (NOAA/AOML) in Miami hosts both nodes. Dr. Trinanes is Associate Professor at the University Santiago de Compostela. He received his PhD in Physics on the development of a global Fisheries Information System using satellite data. His research interests are focused on remote sensing, oceanography, and scalable data management and analysis.

Node - Gulf of Mexico / Caribbean / Atlantic OceanWatch
Central Pacific OceanWatch Node Manager Ryan Rykaczewski, PhD
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NOAA Fisheries PIFSC Ecosystem Sciences Division

Ryan Rykaczewski is the Node Manager for OceanWatch - Central Pacific.  He is based at the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu, Hawaii where he leads the Pelagic Research Program in the center's Ecosystem Sciences Division.  Ryan's scientific work focuses on understanding the sensitivity of marine biogeochemical cycles, ecosystem structure, and fisheries production to changing ocean climate.  He is particularly interested in better understanding how changes in oceanic and atmospheric dynamics can influence the composition, and distribution of planktonic organisms and pelagic fish.  Ryan earned his PhD in Biological Oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2009

Node - OceanWatch Central Pacific
CoastWatch Central Support Scientist Jebidiah Jeffery, MS
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Riva Solutions, Inc. for NOAA CoastWatch

Jebidiah Jeffery is the Support Scientist for NOAA CoastWatch Central Operations. He specializes in the analysis and monitoring of CoastWatch Moderate Assurance Systems and Product Deliveries. In addition, Jeb also helps to monitor and maintain CWAPS (CoastWatch Automated Processing System). Jeb earned a B.S. degree in Meteorology from Millersville University and a M.S. degree in Atmospheric Science from University of Maryland, College Park. 

Central Operations
Communications Specialist V Wegman, BA
Headshot of V Wegman
Global Science & Technology, Inc

Victoria "V" Wegman is the Communications Specialist for NOAA CoastWatch Central Operations. They specialize in providing accessible, user-centered resources. As such, V helps to develop and manage the CoastWatch websites and training course materials. They earned a B.A. in Communication from Ohio State University with a focus in Science Communication, and additionally support the NWS Office of Observations in a similar role.

Training & Outreach
CoastWatch Central Support Scientist William Drenta, BS
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Riva Solutions, Inc. for NOAA CoastWatch

Will Drenta is a Junior Support Scientist that mainly works on system support including Moderate Assurance, data processing, and data production. He studied Computer Science at James Madison University and started working with NOAA as a contractor for RIVA Solutions, Inc. in January of 2022. He mainly works as a Python programmer writing various production scripts, performing research for CoastWatch Central and will act as the main researcher for a future Machine Learning endeavor.

Central Operations
CoastWatch Central Senior Scientist Julie Warner, MS
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Riva Solutions, Inc. for NOAA CoastWatch

Julie Warner is a Senior Support Scientist for NOAA CoastWatch Central Operations working on data monitoring and processing as well as data quality analysis and visualization methods. She earned her BS degree in Mathematics and Physics from American University and her MS degree in Applied Physics from Johns Hopkins University. She worked on performance analysis of radar systems before joining CoastWatch in April 2022.

Central Operations
CoastWatch Central Senior Scientist Phil Keegstra, PhD
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Riva Solutions, Inc. for NOAA CoastWatch

Phillip Keegstra is a developer for NOAA CoastWatch / OceanWatch / PolarWatch where he serves as the principal developer for the CWAPS (Coast Watch Automated Processing Software) processing system. He received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and supported NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in software development for astrophysics and website development for education outreach before joining CoastWatch.

Central Operations
CoastWatch Central Senior Scientist Sathyadev Ramachandran, PhD
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Riva Solutions, Inc. for NOAA CoastWatch

Sathyadev Ramachandran is serves as a Sr. Support Scientist at the NOAA / NESDIS Center for Satellite Applications and Research in College Park, MD in support of the CoastWatch program. Sathya has been a NOAA affiliate for over 20 years and worked at Suitand and Camp Springs facilities in various roles, prior to joining CoastWatch. His interests include validation and analysis including for various applications, in the use of remote sensing for Ocean Color, SST, Altimetry, Salinity, Winds and Ice product and has designed, developed and supports the Near Real Time validation activities for CoastWatch.

Central Operations
CoastWatch Central Software Developer Peter Hollemans, MS
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Consultant for Riva Solutions, Inc.

Peter Hollemans is the creator of the CoastWatch Utilities software and the CoastWatch Data Analysis Tool (CDAT). He specializes in data analysis, visualization, data processing methods, and scientific data storage formats. Peter obtained a BS in physics and MS in computer science from the University of Victoria, where his Master’s thesis focused on computational complexity theory. He started his work for NOAA/CoastWatch as the operations manager at the West Coast node in 1997 and created the initial processing systems and websites for the West Coast, Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico, and East Coast nodes, and installed the satellite tracking station at AOML in Miami. Peter is also an aviation enthusiast and holds a commercial pilot’s license.

Central Operations
Multiparameter Eddy Tracking Developer for NOAA CoastWatch Applications Heather L Roman-Stork, PhD
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Heather Roman-Stork is a satellite oceanographer with the Lab for Satellite Altimetry and CoastWatch. She is a member of the Sea Surface Height Team, the CoastWatch Applications Team, and the Water Quality Working Group. Her main focus is on developing a multiparameter mesoscale eddy tracking product along with a Multiparameter Eddy Significance Index (MESI) that will support CoastWatch. She received her MS in meteorology from the Florida State University and her PhD in marine science with a concentration in physical oceanography from the University of South Carolina. Her research experience includes intraseasonal and climatic variability in the tropical Indian Ocean, air-sea interactions, mesoscale eddies, and ocean currents.

Research, Applications, & International Relations
CEOS COAST Satellite Application Scientist Nikolay Nezlin, PhD
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Global Science & Technology, Inc

The research of Dr. Nikolay Nezlin is focused on application of satellite remote sensing for a wide range of ecological and oceanographic studies, including the assessment of water quality and coastal evolution in the Chesapeake Bay and other ocean regions. 

Research, Applications, & International Relations
Research Scientist SeungHyun Son, PhD
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Seunghyun joined the STAR ocean color team in 2007 and is working as a research scientist. His research in NOAA was focused on validation/evaluation of the satellite ocean color products, algorithm development, and application for the ocean color remote sensing. His broader interests span monitoring water quality properties and marine ecosystem using various satellite remote sensing and sea-measured data, human/climate-induced changes in the coastal ecosystems, understanding spatial/temporal variation of phytoplankton productivity at various scales, and understanding interactions with physical structure of marine ecosystem on phytoplankton.

Research, Applications, & International Relations
GEO BluePlanet Executive Director and Lead for Coastal Eutrophication products in CEOS COAST Emily Smail, PhD
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Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC)

Emily Smail is the Executive Director of the GEO Blue Planet Initiative and a Senior Faculty Specialist at the NOAA-University of Maryland Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies. She also serves as the co-chair of the GEO AquaWatch Initiative’s outreach and user Engagement working group and supports outreach and education efforts for the NOAA CoastWatch / OceanWatch program. Previously, Dr. Smail worked in informal science Education at the Waikiki Aquarium and policy in the United States Senate through the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program. She received a B.S. in Biology from the Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D.

Research, Applications, & International Relations
Research Scientist Guangming Zheng, PhD
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Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC)

Guangming's research focuses on applying deep learning driven artificial intelligence to developing remote-sensing algorithms for monitoring and forecasting water quality in coastal and inland waters. The main objective is to address major water quality issues that may threaten coastal ecosystems, fisheries, and human health such as coastal hypoxia and harmful algal blooms. He received his B.E. from Tongji University and M.S. from Fudan University, Shanghai, in 2002 and 2005 and his Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego in 2013.

Research, Applications, & International Relations
CEOS COAST Application Developer for NOAA CoastWatch Prasanjit Dash, PhD MBA
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Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA)

Prasanjit Dash is a Remote Sensing Scientist with over 20 years of experience in terrestrial infrared satellite applications. He has worked on several national and international space-based projects in the USA, Europe, and India. Between 2000 and 2005, He was with KIT, where he worked on the development of algorithms and validation strategy for land surface temperature.

Research, Applications, & International Relations
CEOS COAST Research Scientist for NOAA CoastWatch Rachel Lazzaro, BS
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Global Science & Technology, Inc

Rachel Lazzaro is a research scientist supporting the work of the CEOS COAST Application Knowledge Hub project through the development of a habitat suitability mapping tool, as well as technical assistance with the development of the web portal.

Research, Applications, & International Relations
Marine Optical BouY (MOBY) Associate for CoastWatch Stephanie Flora, MS
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Moss Landing Marine Laboratories at California State University

Stephanie Flora currently works for the Marine Optical BuoY (MOBY) project, which is NOAA funded. Stephanie processes the daily MOBY data served on the CoastWatch Website.  She ‘satellite-weighs’ the data and puts it on the MLML website for NOAA and/or NASA to download every day.

Research, Applications, & International Relations