Expedition Team

Michael Gil - S-214


From as early as he can remember, Michael Gil was wild about nature and in particular the sea, making regular trips to the Jersey shore (a very different experience than the TV show) to visit family throughout his childhood.  This passion, combined with his love of writing and photography, led him to enter the University of Texas at Austin as a journalism major, with lofty aspirations to work for the National Geographic Society as an explorer/journalist extraordinaire.  However, Mike’s path took a drastic turn after spending his first summer in college living on an uncultivated island in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef.  His extensive time spent conducting surveys and studies of the reefs surrounding Lizard Island that summer launched him onto the career path on which he finds himself today.

Mike is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Florida, focusing on how nutrient pollution and spatial habitat features can affect herbivory on coral reefs, and thus the ecosystem’s susceptibility to algal takeover.  Between his inspirational time on Lizard Island and now, he has engaged in an array of research projects in aquatic ecology with extensive conservation implications. Mike continues to hold true to his initial aspiration to be an explorer, with a history of backpacking through faraway lands and, more recently, conducting research in French Polynesia and teaching in Mexico.  Though he credits Lizard Island for leading him to change his major discipline in college, Mike credits SEA Semester class S-214 for solidifying his decision to make science and education lifelong pursuits.  He is thoroughly excited to work hard, alongside friends, old and new, on this timely expedition.  For more information on Mike’s research, and to take a look at his amateur photography/videography skills, above and below the surface, check out: http://michaelgil.wordpress.com.