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Coral Ecosystems


Dr. C. Mark Eakin
Dr. C. Mark Eakin Dr. Eakin serves as an Oceanographer in the NESDIS Center for Satellite Applications and Research. A coral reef specialist, with a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Miami, Dr. Eakin is Coordinator of NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch program, an effort focused on the monitoring of coral reef ecosystems through satellite, in situ, and paleoenvironmental observations.

Dr. Eakin has worked for NOAA since 1991. From 2000-2005, Dr. Eakin directed NOAA Paleoclimatology (part of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center), and was Director of the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology in Boulder, CO. Prior to that, he was a program manager for the NOAA Office of Global Programs in Silver Spring, MD, funding and coordinating research to improve our understanding of climate variability in the past, how to predict it in the future and the influence of climate variability and change on our environment.

Dr. Eakin received his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Miami in 1991 specializing in coral reef ecology, especially the impact of El Niño on eastern Pacific coral reefs. Dr. Eakin’s research is in coral reef ecology and carbonate budgets, and has performed research on various topics including the effects of disturbance such as climate change, El Niño and oil spills on coral reefs, and the behavior of marine organisms. He was heavily involved in developing the International and U.S. Coral Reef Initiatives and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN). He recently chaired the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the GCRMN. In 2004, Dr. Eakin co-chaired a 7 part series of symposia on “Coral Reefs and Global Change” at the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium in Okinawa and is currently coordinating collection of data from the 2005 Caribbean coral bleaching event.

Kelly Drinnen
Kelly Drinnen Ms. Drinnen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from James Madison University. She is a certified SCUBA diver and K-4 teacher with two years of classroom experience and over 13 years of informal education experience at Sea World of Florida and Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. She is currently an Education Specialist for the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in Texas. Kelly's professional career has focused primarily on marine education. Her current responsibilities include coordinating professional development workshops for educators; developing, revising and maintaining many of the communication tools used to share sanctuary information with the public; and making presentations to local community organizations. Kelly is also the primary liaison between the sanctuary and informal organizations, such as aquariums and zoos, that wish to incorporate sanctuary issues and messages into their exhibits and programs.

Kelly comes from a family full of educators and likes to say she has "teaching in her genes." This, coupled with her love of the ocean, and wildlife in general, led her to a career in informal education where she gets to share her interests, in two languages, and meet people from around the world.

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Underwritten in part by: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration