Beneath the Waves Film Festival

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Beneath the Waves Film Festival
Austin Gallagher, President and Founder of the Beneath the Waves Film Festival
Erica Staaterman, Vice President and Board Director of the Beneath the Waves Film Festival
Beneath the Waves Film Festival is a unique worldwide film festival and communication platform. Its mission is to give the oceans a voice through digital media and scientific storytelling.

Board of Directors

Austin is an integrative biologist who started Beneath the Waves Film Festival in 2009 under the advice of one of his professors while pursuing his master’s degree. He is a PhD Candidate at the University of Miami and his work is focused on predicting the resilience of marine predatory fishes to human-induced changes in the environment, specifically focusing on shark and fisheries interactions. Austin is always documenting his research and thinking about new ways to engage the public. His films often tell stories of our perceptions of nature, and his recent film “Coastguards” was the recipient of several awards at festivals and competitions worldwide.

Erica is a marine scientist who explores auditory scenes in the ocean: the clicks, chirps, and growls of a world that was once thought to be silent. A PhD Candidate at University of Miami, her dissertation examines the role of coral reef soundscapes in larval fish navigation. Erica is a naturalist at heart, and has been lucky enough to travel to many parts of the blue planet, always with a camera or hydrophone in hand. She is passionate about combining science and film as a communication tool, and has made several films, including “Sonic Reef,” a film which was awarded third prize in the National Science Foundation’s “Creating the Future” video contest.

Zachary Reichenbach is Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and is Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). He is a graduate of Loyola University Maryland where he received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting and his Master of Business Administration degree in finance. His professional experience includes providing busines valuation and litigation services ranging from simple contract disputes to complex corporate litigation matters. Zach is an avid triathlete and skier who can be frequently found competing in ironman triathlons or skiing the mountains in Park City, Utah. Team Members

Alex currently resides as a graduate student at San Diego State University. As a chemical ecologist, her research focuses on the effects of heavy metal pollutants on the chemical communication between organisms. Alex is a strong proponent of unconventional science communication and extending the broader impacts of her work to the general public. When she is not busy busting a move in the cold room or filming her next rap video, she can normally be found frolicking through the California kelp forest or blogging for Deep Sea News.

Perri has always loved the ocean from the time she was a baby and took her first steps on sand, until now while diving in reefs all over the world. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Miami studying for a double major in Marine Affairs and Policy and Ecosystem Science and Policy. Perri’s ultimate goal is to be able to work in conservation management and environmental education, teaching people about all the fascinating aspects of the environment that she herself gets so excited about. She also one day hopes to manage nature preserves and work on the conservation of lesser known but-ever-so-wonderful organisms that don’t get as much media attention as others.

Andy is a doctoral candidate at Florida International University studying how the physiology of organisms dictates their role in communities and environments, and how we can use this information to understand how humans are influencing marine ecosystems. Outside of research, he is deeply interested in education and public policy to bring science to a broader audience and raise awareness of the importance, value, and threats to our environmental resources. Andy is also a guest blogger for the Climate Change Ecology blog.

As a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington, Ashwin studies peripheral auditory and visual processing in fishes. His passions for marine science and communicating his research often result in him not shutting up about how cool fish are. His first short documentary, ‘Shifting Sands’, portrayed the legal battles between recreational beach users and shorebird conservationists in North Carolina, and won ‘Best Student Film’ at the first Beneath the Waves Film Festival. He also begrudgingly enjoys freshwater ecosystems.

David Shiffman is a Ph.D. student at the University of Miami’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, where he studies the ecology and conservation of sharks. He is an active science communicator using social media, writing for the widely read blog Southern Fried Science, and he was recently named one of the top biologists to follow on Twitter by the Huffington Post.

Phil is a PhD Candidate at Florida Institute of Technology and his research focuses on the impacts of climate change scenarios on larval crustacean development and behavior. Phil also has over 6 years of teaching experience at the K-12 level. He has coupled his passion for science and outreach by creating films, designing educational lessons, and sharing his research with the community. Phil hopes that his work through Beneath the Waves and the Youth Making Ripples program will help promote ocean education and dismantle communication barriers between the scientific community and the public.

As a native of South Florida, Lauren became fascinated by the ocean at a very young age. Her interest in marine science brought her to the University of Miami where she pursued dual majors in Marine Biology and Film and to Florida Tech where she recently completed her PhD. Her dissertation and current post-doctoral research focuses on the impacts of climate change and oceanography on millennial-scale coral-reef development in the tropical eastern Pacific.

The Waterman's Way


Films such as the BlueJourney-Amerika Samoa - Stronger Together: The Waterman's Way were accepted into the 2014 Beneath the Waves Film Festival.

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