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Originally from New York, Jessie began her studies of marine science at her local community college and later graduated from Stony Brook University with a B.S. in Marine Sciences.  There she participated in longline surveys with NOAA, and contributed to white shark nursery research while honing her molecular techniques. She received her Ph.D. from Florida International University under the mentorship of Dr. Demian Chapman. Her dissertation research explored different approaches to improve shark fisheries management. She has developed the Anal Fin Monitoring Program (AFMP)- a cost effective way for resource-limited nations to collect important landings information from their shark fisheries, advanced the application of environmental DNA to shark conservation, and co-authored a project that developed a molecular technique to detect protected shark species in international trade. She is currently in the process of assessing the sustainability of the Belize shark fishery and identifying the region of origin for one of the top traded fins in the Asian shark fin trade. While keeping busy with research she continues to stay present in science communication through educational talks and citizen science shark tagging trips. Her hope is that Fishers4Science can be a platform for fisherfolk to become more involved in all things science, while expanding our collective understanding of shark populations globally. 



Hector grew up on the water, where his first introduction to fishing was at a young age going lobster fishing with his grandparents, dad, and uncle. As an adult, he is a commercial lobster and shark fishermen as well as a licensed boat captain, BTB tour guide and PADI Divemaster. Hector was an integral component of getting the collaboration between researchers and shark fishers started and has not only aided the team as a fisher but as a research assistant. When researchers were unable to come to Belize during the pandemic Hector continued tagging efforts and data collection. When he is not on the water, he is under it either SCUBA diving or free diving. His experience and the perspective he offers as a fishermen combined with his natural curiosity and passion for the ocean is undoubtedly what makes him such an asset to the team.  

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