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Scuba Diver in Reef

Our Team

Moving marine science towards meaningful conservation outcomes requires a creative & dynamic team

Our growing collective of passionate scientists have the ability to plan, propose, and execute field efforts, synthesize large datasets, quickly identify the relevant conservation needs or research questions, innovate and recommend solutions.

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Ashlee Lillis, Ph.D.
Lead Scientist & Founder

Dr. Ashlee Lillis is a marine ecologist with 20 years of experience working in diverse habitats across the globe, from cold oceans to tropical waters, shallow to deep-sea environments. Her research focuses on the larval ecology of marine invertebrates and marine soundscapes. Ashlee is a National Geographic Explorer, a Guest Investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and has worked as a coral program manager for The Nature Conservancy in the Caribbean. Using a collaborative interdisciplinary approach, Dr. Lillis seeks to connect ideas, techniques, and people to advance ocean research, conservation, and management objectives.

Curriculum vitae

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Michelle Caputo, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist

Dr. Michelle Caputo studies the ecology, behavior, and conservation of marine organisms, with a focus on megafauna. She brings a range of expertise in GIS, ecological modeling, stable isotope analysis, and population ecology. As a joint postdoctoral scientist at Florida International University and Rhodes University in South Africa, Michelle investigates the trophic and population ecology of cetaceans, sharks, and other megafauna in a variety of systems, using field and laboratory techniques. Dr. Caputo aims to use rigorous scientific research to address pressing marine conservation concerns, including better understanding interactions between ecological processes and human activities. 

Curriculum vitae

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Research Associates


Corina Marks

Corina Marks is a marine scientist with a passion for conservation, and holds a Masters degree in Coastal Policy & Science. She is equipped with a broad range of talents from project management, logistics, training, and field sampling to data analysis and synthesis. Her skillset includes experience in Graphical Information Systems (GIS) and mapping. Now based in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, during her career she has worked as a research technician and analyst at Moss Landing Marine Lab, CSU Monterey Bay, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.


Emily Nixon

Emily Nixon is a dedicated marine conservationist, educator, and scientist with an interest in applying scientific inquiry to applied conservation and restoration. She brings experience in both lab and field settings in remote locations, with a skillset that includes coral reproduction, larval husbandry, genetic sampling, and molecular analysis. Emily is currently a Ph.D. student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography where she is investigating relationships between symbiont assemblages and juvenile coral recruitment.

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Sophie Cook

Sophie Cook has an interdisciplinary background across non-profit, education, tourism, diving, and conservation sectors that she integrates with her love for marine biodiversity and science. Her diverse experience and knowledge, plus Spanish fluency, makes her a versatile member of the SOS team. A life-long learner, Sophie recently completed her Masters in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and now works for NOAA where she is using photogrammetry to better understand changes in reef ecology.

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