Maritime Maya 2011 Explorers



Patricia A. BeddowsPatricia A. Beddows, PhD
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Northwestern University

Dr. Beddows grew up in Northern Ontario, and her deep connection with the natural environment has since gained a sharp focus on cave systems and karst environments. She completed her Bachelor’s and Masters degrees at McMaster University in Canada, and then moved to the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom for her doctoral studies, all with a research focus on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The carbonate platform in that region hosts nearly 1000 kilometers of flooded cave passages, which function as underground rivers delivering waters from the vast interior jungle of the peninsula to the Meso-American Barrier Reef System along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan. Trish is an avid cave diver, allowing her to study these complex systems from the inside out. In addition to her research on tropical coastal karst systems, her other projects focus on alpine and glaciated karst in Canada and the United States. Dr. Beddows’ research projects aim to provide records of past climate and ecology and equally support water and waste management. As the Assistant Chair of the Department of earth and Planetary Sciences at Northwestern University, Dr. Beddows takes pride in the growth and excellence of the program and also holds a continuing lecturer faculty appointment.

Roberto EchevariaRoberto Echevaria
Boat Captain

Roberto has been the boat captain for the Proyecto Costa Escondida since its inception. Roberto moved from his native Veracruz to Chiquila in the early 1980s, and he and his family have made the port their home ever since. He is also a member of the Puerto Verde ecotourism cooperative that works to promote sustainable grassroots tourism in northern Quintana Roo. When not ferrying archaeologists and scientists to and from Vista Alegre, Roberto takes tourists to swim with the whale sharks, visit the Yalahau Ojo de Agua, as well as bird watch at Isla Pajaros in Laguna Holbox.

Jeffrey B. GloverJeffrey B. Glover, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
Georgia State University

Jeffrey B. Glover, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Dr. Glover attended Vanderbilt University as an undergraduate, where he discovered the field of anthropology. After graduating from Vanderbilt, Dr. Glover then pursued his graduate studies in anthropology at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Dr. Glover has been conducting archaeological investigations in Mexico since 1998. In 1999 he began working in the northeast corner of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Yalahau Regional Human Ecology Project, directed by Dr. Scott Fedick of UCR and Dr. Jennifer Mathews of Trinity University. Dr. Glover’s dissertation project involved a regional settlement pattern study of the 5,000 square kilometer region, which involved putting many miles on the car as he documented archaeological sites across the Yalahau region.

It was through graduate school and on the Yalahau project that Dr. Glover met Dominique Rissolo. Based on their combined knowledge of the area, Dr. Rissolo and Dr. Glover turned their focus to the coast in 2006 and founded the Proyecto Costa Escondida. The project’s goal is to investigate the ancient Maya who inhabited this unexplored stretch of coastline where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean Sea. The current Maritime Maya project, supported by NOAA-OER is a major step in helping them reach this goal.

Beverly GoodmanBeverly Goodman, PhD
Assistant Professor, Leon Charney School of Marine Sciences
University of Haifa

Dr. Beverly Goodman is a marine geoarchaeologist who specializeds in reconstructing ancient coastlines and identifying natural disasters in the past using sedimentology, micropaleontology, archaeology and geochemistry. Dr. Goodman is an assistant professor at the University of Haifa’s Leon Charney School of Marine Sciences and an associated scientist at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat, Israel. Because of her contributions to underwater discovery and research methods, Dr. Goodman has received numerous awards and fellowships including recognition by National Geographic as an “Emerging Explorer” and “Ocean Hero.” A few of her current projects include: C-CAP: Caesarea Coastal Archaeological Project (a geoarchaeological study at Caesarea, Israel); the Eastern Mediterranean Tsunami Project; the Gulf of Eilat-Aquaba Holocene Paleocoastline Study and; the Red Sea Aquacultural Impact Study. Dr. Goodman is a board member of EcoOcean Marine Research and Education, the Institute of Alpine Archaeology and the Israel Aquatic Association of sciences.

Dr. Goodman began her studies in anthropology and archaeology at Harper College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Pennsylvania State University, later turning to the Geology Program at McMaster University where she completed her PhD in geoarchaeology. Her role in the Maritime Maya project is to study the coastal landscape and collect sediment cores to use as a means to reconstruct the appearance during the site’s occupation and best focus on areas that will yield critical evidence of ancient harbors and maximize the potential for discovery of ancient seafaring.

Daniel LeonardDaniel Leonard
PhD Student, Department of Anthropology
University of California Riverside

Dan is a current PhD student in the anthropology department at the University of California Riverside (UCR), focusing on Maya archaeology. He has been involved in research projects in Belize and Guatemala and is currently conducting his dissertation fieldwork in the Yalahau region of northern Quintana Roo, Mexico. Dan’s dissertation involves an archaeological and environmental survey of the freshwater wetland systems in search of evidence of ancient Maya wetland agriculture. Working with a team of soil scientists from Mexico City, Dan is also reconstructing a sequence of hydrologic changes in the wetlands to understand the ancient environment and how the Maya may have adapted agricultural systems to changes in their environment. With his experience working in the Yalahau region, Dan joins the Proyecto Costa Escondido to assist in the paleoecological studies and investigations of ancient maritime Maya culture in the estuaries surrounding Vista Alegre.

Emily McDonaldEmily McDonald
Web Coordinator
Field Operations Specialist
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research / 2020 Company, LLC

Emily McDonald is a Field Operations Specialist with 2020 Company, LLC for NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) planning and coordinating many of OER’s exciting projects and explorations. Emily came onboard with OER in 2008 at as Knauss Sea Grant Fellow and continued on with the office, deepening her interest in exploration and the oceans. She earned her Bachelors degree in Marine Science in 2006 from the University of South Carolina and completed her Master’s degree in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. Emily is excited to join the Maritime Maya Project as web coordinator, documenting the project through logs, photographs and video to bring the excitement of exploration to the public.

Wes PattersonWes Patterson
Graduate Student
University of South Carolina

Wes Patterson received his B.A. in Anthropology from Georgia State University in 2010. Since then, he has worked with Dennis Blanton at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta both in the field and in the lab in an attempt to better understand the route of Hernando de Soto through southern Georgia in the early 1500s. Wes will begin his graduate studies at the University of South Carolina in August 2011 and hopes to build on his experiences in south Georgia by investigating Late Mississippian settlement patterns along the lower Oconee River. Wes has a variety of archaeological interests, including GIS applications and the interaction of past peoples with their environment. When he isn’t hard at work, Wes enjoys all things musical (especially playing the guitar), photography and kayaking.

Dominique Rissolo

Dominique Rissolo, PhD
Executive Director
Waitt Institute

Dominique Rissolo is the co-director of the Proyecto Costa Escondida and has been exploring the wilds of the Laguna Holbox and the Yalahau region with Jeffrey Glover since 2006. Dominique received his PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Riverside and is a broadly trained archaeologist with 20 years of field experience in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The use of caves and cenotes (sinkholes containing groundwater) by the ancient Maya was the primary focus of Dominique’s research in Quintana Roo during his graduate years. The unique natural and cultural history the caverns and submerged cave systems along the Peninsula’s eastern coast began to draw Dominique’s attention to the sea and to the lives of Mexico’s ancient sea farers. Dominique’s interests have expanded to include ancient Maya maritime commerce and interaction as well as how the Maya transformed and adapted to coastal environments. Dominique is currently the executive director of the Waitt Institute in La Jolla, California, where he co-manages a deep-sea survey program and is involved in grant-making through National Geographic. Dominique is also an adjunct professor at San Diego State University and a research associate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Derek Smith

Derek Smith
PhD Student, Department of Biology
University of Washington

Derek Smith opened his eyes to the wonders of the undersea world in early 1998 while completing a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz. Certain he would go on to become the world’s expert on some fascinating marine organism after graduating, he quickly realized his love of the ocean included far too many interests to be confined to working in one discipline, much less one study animal. Determined to remain in the academic setting, Derek continued teaching scientific diving classes at UC Santa Cruz for three years before setting out to gain research and teaching experience in as many varied locales as possible; first as the Diving Safety Officer for the University of Southern California, followed by the Caribbean Marine Research Center, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and most recently the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. He has trained hundreds of scientific divers, safely overseen countless dives all over the world, and initiated or assisted with research projects in just about every marine discipline and environment.

While working as the DSO for the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, Derek completed his Master’s degree in the Zoology department at the University of Hawaii studying the effects of unintentional disturbance events in the form of shipwrecks and downed aircraft on natural coral reef habitats in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Currently in the Biology PhD program at the University of Washington, Derek has broadened his scope to studying the ecology of submerged structures all over the world with the hopes of both informing ocean conservation efforts and designing bio-engineered artificial reefs to help mitigate damage to our coastal ecosystems. A self-renowned underwater photographer and videographer, when he’s not diving Derek can usually be found knitting sea creatures for family and friends.