Our Staff

Kim Alexander (Gulledge previously)

Community Ecologist

Kim joined FNAI in January, 2005, and has been involved with natural community mapping and vegetation monitoring projects as well as rare plant surveys and the coastal uplands project for DEP. Her background is in plant systematics and field botany, with an emphasis on the flora of North Central Florida. Kim has a master's degree in Botany from the University of Florida.

Dave Almquist

Invertebrate Zoologist

Dave has been FNAI's Invertebrate Zoologist since 2005 and added the responsibilities of Assistant Data Manager in 2017. He is most knowledgeable about beetles, but has worked with a variety of rare invertebrates, including bees, grasshoppers, and spiders. Dave is responsible for compiling, entering and updating information about the invertebrates tracked by FNAI, evaluating additional species for inclusion in the database, and surveying for the presence of rare invertebrates. On the data management side, he helps by bulk loading data, training staff on database methodologies, and increasing accuracy and efficiency of data entry by creating and maintaining tools and guidance documents.

Kelly Anderson

Field Botanist

Kelly joined the FNAI team in March 2020. Primarily she conducts rare plant monitoring and surveying, vegetation monitoring, invasive plant surveys, and natural community mapping. Kelly has a M.S. in Biology from Austin Peay State University where she studied floristics and biogeography of riverscour communities on the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River from the Cumberland Plateau of Alabama.

Jenna Annis

Field Biologist

Jenna joined FNAI in October, 2015. She is involved with a variety of projects, including natural community mapping, vegetation monitoring, rare plant surveys, and rare animal surveys. Jenna has a bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences and a Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences with emphasis on Botany from Eastern Illinois University. While at EIU, Jenna conducted undergraduate and graduate ecological research with two Florida State-listed carnivorous plants, Pinguicula ionantha and Pinguicula planifolia.

Kerri Brinegar

Data Analyst

Kerri joined FNAI in December 2017. With her interest in both computers and biology she assists in a variety of projects including, data services, website maintenance & web mapping, python scripting, tool development, GIS mapping and GIS analyses. She also assists various staff on GIS related questions and problems. Kerri has a B.S in Biological Sciences and an M.S in Geographical Information Sciences from Florida State University.

Camille Eckel

Field Botanist

Camille joined FNAI in October 2019. She is involved in a variety of different projects including rare plant surveys, natural community mapping, and vegetation monitoring. Camille graduated from Oregon State University with her B.S. in Biological Sciences, and has traveled around the world doing botanical field work.

Robert Gundy

Field Biologist

Gundy, who prefers to go by his last name, has been with FNAI since 2016. He works on a variety of projects including herpetological surveys, rare plant surveys, invasive species monitoring, conservation status ranking, and mapping rare species data. He has worked across the country as a field technician with reptiles and birds. His scientific interests in biology include herpetology, ornithology and botany but his curiosity for wildlife knows no taxonomic limits. A Florida native, he graduated from Florida State University in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in biology.

Brenda Herring

Field Botanist

Brenda has worked with FNAI since 1994 conducting natural community and rare plant surveys on public and Department of Defense lands. She has worked on large scale ecological monitoring projects, historical rare and invasive plant surveys, floristic inventories, Florida DEP Conservation Easement Monitoring inspections, and Florida Forever Field Assessments. Brenda has a Master of Science degree in Botany from the University of Florida. Her M.S. research “A Floristic Inventory of Ichetucknee Springs State Park” started her path for a life-time love and interest of the flora of Florida.

Geena Hill

Research Biologist

Geena joined FNAI in 2020 and is primarily responsible for data management and research of at-risk butterflies in North Florida. She also assists with other FNAI projects such as endangered species surveys, species status ranking, and vegetation monitoring for reference natural community sites. Prior to FNAI, Geena worked at the Florida Museum of Natural History on several pollinator ecology projects, as well as a private consulting firm that focused on mitigation banking. Her experience involves project coordination, environmental resource permitting, and conservation planning in both the public and private sectors. Geena has a B.S. in Archaeology from Kent State University, and a M.S. in Interdisciplinary Ecology and Wildlife Conservation from the University of Florida.

Dan Hipes

Director

Dan is responsible for providing primary fiscal, administrative, and scientific oversight of FNAI. He develops projects for, and coordinates the varied activities of the program related to land management and conservation in Florida and the region. He has broad expertise in rare species inventory as well as ecological evaluation of natural areas throughout Florida, combining field data collection and GIS technical skills to guide conservation and management of our natural heritage. Dan started work with the Florida Natural Areas Inventory in 1993 as a field biologist. He was promoted to Senior Zoologist in 1995, the Chief Scientist in 2001, and Director in 2016. Dan has a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Science from Auburn University where he studied waterfowl behavioral ecology and habitat analysis.

Katie Hooker, Ph.D

Research Scientist

Katie joined FNAI in September 2020 and is working with state and federal agencies to help them apply pragmatic solutions to address their wildlife and land management needs. She supports FNAI's programs through study design, spatial and statistical analyses, and population modeling. Katie is also acting as the Forest Ecologist for the National Forests of Florida. Her background is in community ecology, working with wildlife population demographics and the factors that influence them across the continental US and Hawaii. Katie has a bachelor's degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona, a master's in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Clemson University, and a PhD in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida.

Ethan Hughes

Field Botanist

Ethan began his work with FNAI in May 2020. He is primarily focused on botanical work, such as OBVM, NC mapping/monitoring, rare plant surveys, LEO Longleaf mapping, and invasive survey work. His interests are in plant taxonomy, natural community classification, and rare plant species ecology. He received his M.S. degree in floristic work in 2020, focusing mainly on natural community classification through vegetation survey work and rare plant species surveys.

Dale Jackson, Ph.D

Senior Research Zoologist

As FNAI's longest-tenured staff member, Dr. Jackson helped to found FNAI in 1981 and was instrumental in ushering the program through the successes and challenges of its early years. Since moving southward from Illinois to pursue graduate studies, he has spent 4 decades studying and conserving Florida's herpetofauna, with research emphasis on freshwater turtles, and has published more than 90 scientific papers and book chapters. At FNAI he oversees database development for amphibians, reptiles, and aquatic invertebrates and is a principal participant in our office's advisory role to the Florida Forever land acquisition program. Dr. Jackson earned his B.S. degree in Zoology from Eastern Illinois University, and his Ph.D. degree in Zoology from the University of Florida.

Amy Jenkins

Senior Botanist

Amy joined FNAI in 2004 as a field biologist and has been the Senior Botanist since 2005, holding primary responsibility for management of the state-wide rare plant conservation database and tracking list, rare plant monitoring and surveying, supervising large natural community mapping projects, and training staff in FNAI database entry and protocol. Amy has conducted field work throughout the state, including invasive and rare plant surveys, field assessment of land acquisition projects, and present and historic natural community mapping. Amy coordinated a comprehensive ecological inventory of Orange County and co-authored the 2010 edition of the Guide to the Natural Communities of Florida. She has been working in field ecology in Florida since 1997. Amy has a bachelor's degree in Biology from Florida State University and a Master of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida.

Ann Johnson, Ph.D

Community Ecologist

Ann has been with FNAI since 1987 and has been community ecologist since 1998. Ann supervises FNAI's natural community database, conducts rare plant surveys, and is involved in a field project to map vegetation on all Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission properties in Florida. She is co-author of the chapter "Dunes and Maritime Forests" in Ecosystems of Florida, edited by R.L. Myers and J.J. Ewel. Ann has a Ph.D. degree in Ecology from the University of California at Davis and has done post-doctoral studies on scrub species at Archbold Biolgical Station in Florida.

Carolyn Kindell

Research Scientist

Carolyn joined FNAI in 1993. She has conducted several current and historic natural community mapping projects, vegetation monitoring projects, rare plant surveys, conservation land acquisition assessments, and enjoys helping FNAI colleagues with gopher tortoise surveys. She has expertise in pyrogenic natural communities in Florida and working with land managers to develop restoration strategies. Carolyn has a Master of Science from Florida State University where her research focused on local variations in wiregrass (Aristida stricta) populations in wet and dry habitats.

Amy Knight

GIS Program Specialist

Since coming to FNAI in 2000, Amy has coordinated the Florida Forever Conservation Needs Assessment, a project that involves GIS analyses and resource data development in support of the Florida Forever program. She is also involved in a variety of other projects at FNAI. Amy recently took on new responsibilities as FNAI's GIS Program Specialist and provides GIS support to the office as well as continuing to conduct project-specific GIS analyses. She has a master's degree in Zoology from the University of Florida.

Martin Ma

System Administrator

Martin has been with FNAI since 2002. Martin has more than 15 years of IT industry experience. As system administrator, he is responsible for the daily administration and maintenance of FNAI's network and Oracle database. Martin provides solutions and deployment/migration stratagems to keep the system updating smoothly and efficiently.

Katy NeSmith

Zoologist

Katy has been with FNAI since 1986. She is currently responsible for collecting and processing rare animal occurrence data, concentrating on birds; conducting field surveys for rare animals (most recently seaside sparrow, limpkin, Florida scrub-jay); and identifying, evaluating, and describing high priority natural areas in Florida. She has worked on county inventories and is involved in several current and historic natural community mapping projects. Katy has a master's degree in Biological Science from Florida State University.

Jon Oetting

Chief of Conservation Planning Services

Jon has been with FNAI since 1999. He is involved in several conservation planning projects, including GIS analysis, modeling rare species habitat, and assessment of conservation priorities for the Florida Forever program. Jon also oversees FNAI's environmental review and data sharing efforts. He has a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Illinois and a Master of Science in Planning degree from Florida State University.

Nathan Pasco

Conservation Data Analyst

Nathan started work with FNAI in 2011. He serves as the Conservation Data Analyst, maintaining and improving a statewide database of Florida conservation lands and overseeing a site database for environmental land acquisition projects. He also provides GIS mapping and analysis support to a variety of projects. Nathan has a MS degree in Geography from Florida State University.

Frank Price

Data Manager and Assistant Director

Frank has worked for FNAI since 2007. In 2010, after managing FNAI's invasive plant mapping program for several years, he moved into the role of Data Manager. In this position he is responsible for the design, maintenance, and support of primary data systems and leads the development of standards and tools to ensure data quality and consistency. In 2017, Frank also became FNAI's Assistant Director and as such assists with organizational planning and office mangement. Frank came to FNAI with a varied natural resource background including experience in terrestrial and aquatic ecology, riverine dynamics, and fisheries research. He is also experienced with most of the major software packages used in the storage and analysis of spatial data including ArcGIS, Oracle, Access, SQL Server, and Crystal Reports. He develops customs solutions and data products using SQL and Python. Frank has a Master's degree in Environmental Planning and Natural Resource Management from Florida State University.

Dexter Sowell, Ph.D

Research Scientist

Dexter joined FNAI in 2017. He assists other staff in conducting vegetation monitoring, natural community mapping, gopher tortoise surveys, Florida Forever site assessments and Early Detection-Rapid Response (EDRR) invasive plant surveys. He has conducted numerous compliance inspections of FWC Uplands-funded invasive plant treatments on public conservation lands. He is active with the Florida Invasive Species Partnership (FISP) and liaisons with several CISMAs throughout the state. He has broad experience with Florida's native flora, including rare and listed species, fire-dependent ecosystems, invasive plant species management, and prescribed burning. Before joining FNAI, Dexter worked for several years as a biologist for the Florida Forest Service in southwest Florida, and has previously worked with an environmental consulting firm. Dexter has a BS degree in Biological Sciences from Florida State University, a MS degree in Biology from Georgia Southern University, and a PhD in Biology from the University of Virginia.

Carly Voight

GIS Analyst

Carly joined FNAI in May 2019 to assist with GIS projects such as the Southeast Longleaf Ecosystems Occurrences (LEO) database. She holds a B.S. in Ecosystem Management from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a master's in Tropical Conservation and Development - Latin American Studies from the University of Florida. Carly has over 10 years of experience working for non-profit conservation organizations. At The Nature Conservancy, Carly was the lead GIS Analyst for a spatial conservation planning project on migratory species in the Gulf of Mexico. As a GIS Specialist at a community-based NGO in Belize, she conducted forest cover change analysis, deforestation predictive modeling, and spatial prioritization modeling.

Nicole Zampieri

Field Biologist

Nicole joined FNAI in 2017 as field botanist and works on rare plant surveys, natural community mapping, invasive plant surveys, report writing, rare species database management, and other projects. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science from Florida State University, an M.S. in Geography from FSU, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Geography at FSU. Her dissertation research is on dendroecological patterns in growth and climate change impacts to longleaf pines (Pinus palustris) in Florida's longleaf pine savannas.

Rebecca Zeroth

Field Scientist

Becca joined FNAI in August, 2016. Her primary responsibility is managing the gopher tortoise projects. She also assists on other projects, including herpetofaunal surveys, conservation easements and tracking rare species occurrences. Her background is in ecology, herpetology and conservation. Becca has a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Towson University and a Master's degree in Applied Ecology from the University of Exeter.