Ananda Ellis, Marine Stewardship and Monitoring Specialist, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Ananda Ellis

Marine Stewardship and Monitoring Specialist

Ellis leads the Mission: Iconic Reefs (IR) dive operation teams responsible for site preparation, maintenance, and monitoring of outplanted coral at the seven IR sites. Additionally, she acts as a liaison between the dive operation teams, NOAA, and restoration practitioners and partners for IR.

Originally from the mountains of Colorado, Ellis was introduced to the oceans and snorkeling at an early age while on family vacations. Never having lost a fascination for the underwater world, she became dive-certified while completing an undergraduate degree in Biology at Lewis & Clark College, and later pursued a master’s degree in Marine Biology with a focus on Coral Ecophysiology at California State University, Northridge.

Ellis has lived in the Florida Keys since 2010, first working as the Marine Education Director for the Pigeon Key Foundation, and later as a coral research diver for Florida Fish & Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). At FWRI, she led two elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) projects which monitored several of the last remaining stands of elkhorn coral on the Florida Reef Tract. Disheartened by the continued decline of this important reef-building species, Ellis was excited to become a part of Mission: Iconic Reefs and help restore local coral populations along the Florida Reef Tract.