Ruth A. Musgrave

Ruth A. Musgrave is the Director of WhaleTimes, Inc. (, a non-profit marine science education organization. Ruth received her BS in Education from Indiana State University. Ruth creates, teaches, and coordinates marine science education programs. She is also an award-winning children’s nonfiction author ( Ruth’s expertise includes connecting children and the general public to on-going ocean research, the researchers, the habitat, and the animals in unique and exciting ways. As part of the DEEPEND Team, Ruth created and coordinated the kindergarten to 6th grade education components including Creep into the DEEPEND Virtual Research Missions, Postcards from the DEEPEND, and accompanying curriculum. She also worked with the rest of the DEEPEND Outreach/Education Team to share the research and discoveries with people of all ages. Visit DEEPEND’s Education ( and Taking Science Deeper ( pages or WhaleTimes’ website ( to find out more.

Nina Pruzinsky


I became a member of the DEEPEND Consortium when I started working as a Graduate Research Assistant in Dr. Tracey Sutton’s Oceanic Ecology Lab at Nova Southeastern University in August 2015, and I completed my master’s thesis in May 2018. For my thesis, I examined the identification, faunal composition, and spatiotemporal distributions of larval and juvenile tunas (Family: Scombridae) in the oceanic Gulf of Mexico from 2010 to 2017. Since the Gulf of Mexico is a major spawning area for tuna, it was crucial to investigate the population dynamics of their early life stages in the area affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

During my thesis, I developed a synthesis of the morphological characteristics used to identify the taxonomically challenging larval and juvenile tuna life stages. My thesis also increased the existing knowledge on the identification of juvenile tunas by identifying further resolution of species-specific body ratios of this taxonomically problematic life stage. Using Generalized Additive Models, species-specific environmental preferences (e.g., watermass, salinity, chlorophyll a, etc.) and seasonality were identified as the main drivers of tuna spatial distributions across the epipelagic Gulf of Mexico. Diel catchability was also examined, and results indicated that sampling at night was a better strategy for catching late-larval and juvenile size classes.

 Check out where Nina is now!

Kimberly Schmutz

I am interested in understanding the trophic dynamics and ecology of deep-sea ecosystems. My thesis focuses on the diet of several anglerfish species by conducting gut content analysis as well as investigating the role lures play in attracting different prey types. In my project I will also be investigating feeding patterns between male and females due to the lack of data while addressing whether males feed at any stage of their life. Before beginning my graduate studies at NSU, I studied at the College of Charleston investigating life history dynamics of coastal estuarine fish under the guidance of Dr. Gorka Sancho and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Marta D’Elia

Dr. Marta D’Elia is a post-doctoral research scientist in the Fisheries Ecology and Acoustic lab at FIU where she broadly focused on understanding the dynamic of the fish and the principal interactions and processes that influence them across a range of spatial and temporal scales. She has an MS degree in environmental science. She graduated from the “Environmental Management and Analysis of Marine Ecosystem”, program at University of Palermo (Italy) and she earned her PhD at the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice (Italy). She worked at the National Research Council of Italy before joining FIU. Within the DEEPEND project Marta will primarily be working for Dr. Kevin Boswell in the active acoustic component, to examine patterns in the biological scattering layers and analyse their response to physicochemical parameters, primary productivity and oceanographic conditions.

Madeline Eaton

I am interested in the ecology of deep-sea fishes and their habitat as well as potential conservation efforts. I am studying the spatial distribution of the genus Cyclothone, which are small, bristlemouth fishes, in the Gulf of Mexico. Although these fishes are known for their high abundance in trawls from waters across the globe, their distribution in the Gulf of Mexico is poorly described. Upon analysis of their morphological features and spatial distribution in the water, I aim to provide baseline information in order to observe changes in their distribution and abundance over time. Before attending NSU, I studied at Manchester University where I received my bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies. .