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Shalimar M

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at East Carolina University


Ecology, marine biology, oceanography, fisheries management, environmental policy, remote sensing


I’m passionate about the connection between environmental health and management. My background is broadly in marine ecology with interests in coral reef systems, fish behavior, food web interactions, marine protected areas, environmental policy, environmental justice, and so much more! I’ve recently begun research using remote sensing methods in mangrove ecosystems as well as using LiDAR data to map coastal bathymetry (this is part of my PhD work now). I grew up in Miami, Florida and it's really given me an appreciation for diverse cultures and diverse natural systems. I’ve spent as much time as I can outside, trying to learn the most I can from the systems that surrounded me. My favorite is scuba diving and immersing myself underwater to discover what feels like a whole other world teeming with life. In my free time, I also love to go hiking, kayaking and staying active in any way that I can.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Coral Reef Health

Formulating your own research ideas can seem like a daunting task from afar but is a lot more manageable once you start brainstorming. A project idea we could work on can involve using existing datasets to tackle an ecological question. For example, using a dataset to analyze coral reef health over time and assess impacts (i.e., bleaching events, disturbances, high temperatures, etc.) by doing basic statistical analysis. This project will involve learning to use excel and potentially R to run statistics. But don’t be scared about having to use math if you're interested in marine science. There are many resources that can help explain statistics, or we could look at the social dimensions of reefs, management, and conservation by analyzing environmental policy instead. There’s so many approaches that you can take to focus on your own strengths or what you hope to learn and improve on.

Coding skills

R, python, and JavaScript

Languages I know

Spanish, intermediate

Teaching experience

Between 2014-2016 and 2018-2020, I mentored 8 high school students and 2 undergraduate university students throughout the academic year in creating environmental projects/research that included learning about conservation, native plants, coastal habitats, and sustainability. Between 2021-2022 I tutored General Chemistry at East Carolina University and also was a success coach to freshman undergraduate students where we covered tips on making a schedule, meeting deadlines, crafting emails, and overall advice on how to academically succeed.


Work experience

Florida International University (2018 - 2020)
Environmental Coordinator
Coral Restoration Foundation (2017 - 2018)
Communications & Development Program Intern
Florida International University (2013 - 2017)
Environmental Programs Assistant
Florida International University (2012 - 2016)
Lab and Field Assistant


Florida International University
BS Bachelor of Science (2016)
Environmental Science & Marine Biology
East Carolina University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Integrated Coastal Sciences

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