Liz Dutra started working at CIMAS at the start of 2018. She received a MS in biological sciences from FAU with a focus in marine science and climate change. Her research at CIMAS focuses on how climate change and ocean acidification is affecting coral reefs. She uses carbonate chemistry to analyze coral that have been recolonized by endolithic algae to study the algae’s effects on the erosion of coral framework. The studies are run at four different pH levels to represent the potential effects ocean acidification will have on corals. The research contributes to society by providing information to managers and political officials on the value of protecting coral reefs amidst the upcoming effects of climate change.
Liz’s passion for her work stems from her love for the ocean and being in the water. She is a local Floridian that loves going to the beach and wants to make sure it is still around for future generations. Her love for the ocean goes beyond CIMAS, through her involvement with a local non-profit organization, Big Blue and You, where she is the marine education and outreach manager. The non-profit was co-founded by Danni Washington, one of Liz’s best friends from high school, and is dedicated to inspiring and educating youth about ocean conservation through arts and media. For the past seven years, Big Blue and You has hosted the ArtSea Festival in Miami to combine the love of art with education about current environmental issues. ArtSea is a one-day event to celebrate ocean conservation between community members, scientists, and local artists. Liz uses hands-on activities for kids to reinforce the science behind marine conservation and coral reefs. Recently, Big Blue and You was a part of the USA Science and Engineering Festival held in Washington DC were they produced an ArtSea pop-up which featured an exhibit by Liz to educate kids on coral reefs. In the exhibit, Liz used a red cabbage pH indicator experiment to demonstrate the role ocean acidification plays on coral reefs. Over the three-day festival, over 3,000 people came to the exhibit. If you are wondering just how important the ocean is to you, Liz would say, “Take a deep breath and after you exhale say ‘thank you’ to your ocean because 60-70% of the oxygen we breathe comes from the ocean.”