Matt is a Master’s student in Environmental Studies with the College of Charleston, and also a contracted NOAA lab technician in Dr. Peter Etnoyer’s lab. His research has focused on octocoral taxonomy/morphology, but he has also participated in the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process, looking at the health and condition of mesophotic coral reefs in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. On this cruise, he will be working alongside biologist Santiago Herrera to observe, collect, preserve, and study tissue samples and images/video transects of octocorals at multiple sites, including sites that have been observed in the NRDA research expeditions.