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President, Marine Scientist, DSO

Paul Fitzgerald

Paul is an accomplished marine biologist with over 30 years of experience as a chief scientist conducting ecological field studies of benthic ecosystems. As a leader in the scientific diving community and veteran AAUS DSO with over 10,000 scientific dives, he has been recognized with the Coastal Partnership Award by FKNMS for his leadership and professional contributions in coral reef damage assessment, reef restoration, coral transplantation, and coral nursery development.  


Scientific Diver

Cannon Hobbs

Cannon's passions include coral biology and conservation, scientific diving, and species identification. She completed her undergraduate career at the University of Georgia and received her M.P.S. in Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School. Cannon deeply enjoys and takes pride in the vital work that Pinnacle conducts to protect and preserve vulnerable coastal habitats.

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Senior Scientist

Randi Shiplett

Randi Shiplett is an experienced marine biologist and team leader who has worked on projects throughout Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Ms. Shiplett is skilled in the design and implementation of complex coastal and oceanographic research studies, QA/QC management of data collection, rigorous statistical analysis, production of comprehensive peer-reviewable scientific reports, and has extensive experience developing and implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) for laboratory and field protocols.


Scientific Diver

Maddy DeSisto

Maddy is particularly interested in sharks, teleost fish, and conservation. She received her B.A. in Biology and Environmental Science from Bucknell University and her M.P.S. in Marine Conservation from the University of Miami. Maddy is most excited by Pinnacle’s work relating to conservation, such as coral relocation, habitat restoration, and biological monitoring.

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Marine Biologist

Cristie Ledon

Cristie is a Florida native and marine scientist with a strong background in marine mammal bioacoustics, wildlife behavior, and resource management.  Cristie has completed dual Master of Science degrees in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management from Nova Southeastern University in Dania Beach, FL. She is an experienced and capable scientist and team leader. She routinely manages complex data sets, performs rigorous statistical analysis, and prepares peer-reviewed scientific 



Scientific Diver

Ashley Long

Ashley is most intrigued by anthropogenic impacts, marine conservation, and public outreach. She received her B.S. in Biology from Lincoln Memorial University and will complete her M.P.S. at Nova Southeastern University in May 2024. Ashley believes the scientific integrity and collaborative nature of the Pinnacle team results in a reputable company that truly makes a difference.


Scientific Diver

Maria Uribe Mejia

Maria has been captivated by cetaceans and helping marine life from a young age. She graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2023 with her B.S. in Biological Sciences. Maria has further cultivated her passions while at Pinnacle, where she is most interested in underwater photography and capturing marine organisms in their natural environments.


Field and Lab Scientist

Natalie Nicosia

Natalie is an undergraduate intern who is passionate about sea turtle disease research and conservation. She will graduate with her B.S. in Biological Sciences from Florida Atlantic University in May 2024. Natalie is particularly excited by Pinnacle’s projects involving beach renourishment and the biological monitoring of the important habitats that may be influence by similar practices.


Field and Lab Scientist

Kathryn Coates

Kat is a multidisciplinary biologist with diverse interests in bioacoustics, genetics, and natural history of forest dwelling organisms. She has a M.S. in biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is working on her Ph.D. in integrative biology at Florida Atlantic University. She most enjoys Pinnacle's biological monitoring in Jupiter Island as it was the first time she was able to witness the practical application of monitoring a biological community after beach nourishment activities.

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