TDP Faculty

The Diversity Project is run by a team of dedicated marine scientists. Each year we work together to provide a transformative, student-centered field experience, studying the coral reefs of French Polynesia.

barberDr. Paul Barber is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He is the founder and director of The Diversity Project. His expertise is evolution and conservation of marine biodiversity, particularly coral reef ecosystems.



peggyDr. Peggy Fong is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA. Her expertise is on marine ecology, particularly coastal marine ecosystems and marine algae. She is an instructor for the Marine Biology Quarter at UCLA, and is extensively involved in marine education.


Dr. Senai Habtes is a Research Assistant Professor of  Biological Oceanography at the University of the Virgin Islands. He studies fisheries oceanography and zooplankton ecology and uses time series data to study patterns in, and impacts to marine organisms in tropical and subtropical regions.

Dr. Caitlin Fong is a Postdoctoral Research at the University of California Santa Barbara. She studies marine ecology, particularly natural and human induced disturbances on coral reef ecosystems.


Jeannie Barber-Choi is a senior science writer at UCLA and lecturer who teaches Science Communication.




Mike Anghera is the UCLA Dive Safety Officer, and makes sure all of our divers can conduct work on SCUBA safely, and with confidence.



Dr. Kimo Morris is a Professor of Biology at Santa Ana College. His expertise is in invertebrate zoology, habitat delineation, and applied marine sciences.



HBCU Faculty Partners

We could not do what we do without the support of our amazing faculty partners who work to ensure that promising students know about our program and support them through the application process. We couldn’t do TDP without them.

CukerDr. Ben Cuker is a Professor of Marine and Environmental Studies at Hampton University.   His expertise spans limnology of turbid lakes, estuarine ecology and hypoxia.




Dr. Deidre Gibson is Professor and Chair of  Marine and Environmental Studies at Hampton University. Her current activities include communicating ocean sciences to informal audiences (COSIA), ocean science education (COSEE) and research involving zooplankton dynamics and feeding behaviors.

Dr. Maurice Crawford  is an Associate Professor, Fish Ecology, Department of Natural Science at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). His interests span conservation and restoration of estuaries, marine dispersal, and science policy.



Dr. Larry Blumer is Professor of Biology at Morehouse College. He is currently focused on STEM education research, particularly focused on undergraduate science labs.



Dr. Henry Williams is a Professor in the School of the Environment at the Florida A&M University (FAMU). He is a microbiologist who specializes in the study of predatory bacteria, and is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Dr. Tyler Smith is an Associate Research Professor of Marine Science at the University of the Virgin Islands. He studies coral reef ecology, ciguatera, and the ecology of mesophytic reefs.


Previous TDP Collaborating Faculty

Over the years, a variety of collaborators have contributed to the success of The Diversity Project through their mentoring of TDP students in the field.

 chrisDr. Chris Meyer is the Director of the Mo’orea Biocode Project and a curator of Invertebrates at the Smithsonian Institution. His expertise is in marine biodiversity, particularly the quantification of diversity using molecular genetic techniques.

ForestDr. Forest Rohwer is a Professor at San Diego State University. He is a marine microbial ecologist who studies the diversity and function of microbes and viruses, particularly in coral reef ecosystems. His lab leads the microbial metagenomic aspects of The Diversity Project.

NancyDr. Nancy Knowlton is  the Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and was a scientific leader of the Census of Marine Life. She is a marine ecologist and evolutionary biologist with long-standing interests in marine biodiversity and conservation.

GellerDr. Jonathan Geller is a Professor at Moss Landing Marine Lab who studies marine biodiversity and the ecological genetics of biological invasions. He is particularly interested in marine invertebrates, and the adaptation of marine organisms to their environment.


CollinsDr. Allen Collins is a NOAA zoologist in the National Systematics Lab. While broadly interested in marine biodiversity, he focuses largely on the evolution and systematics of cnidarians and sponges.