Collin Ortals is conducting his PhD research under the guidance of Center for Coastal Solutions Director, Dr. Christine Angelini. Collin’s work is primarily located in the Matlacha Pass (Florida), a key waterway that connects the Caloosahatchee and Charlotte Harbor estuaries.
Collin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to starting his PhD at UF, Collin’s interest in water related issues was sparked researching large rivers in the Peruvian Amazon River Basin. The Amazon, Ucayali, and Marañon Rivers remain largely unaltered by man which provide an ideal setting for understanding their geospatial evolution, and how such evolution can lead to hyper biodiverse areas such as the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.
Collin’s PhD research is focused in two locations, Sapelo Island, Georgia and Matlacha Pass, Florida. In Georgia, Collin is working with teams consisting of geologists, ecologists, engineers, and others to understand how engineering fauna, such as marsh crabs and mussels, affect the evolution of tidal creeks. This work included the deployment of instruments to understand the flow and circulation in these marshes.
In Matlacha Pass, Collin’s work is two-fold. He is using acoustic Doppler current profilers (moored and shipboard) to measure the tidal and subtidal circulations of the system to understand the connectivity between the Charlotte Harbor and Caloosahatchee estuaries. The work also includes measuring salinity and dissolved oxygen patterns to understand the driving mechanisms of low oxygen or hypoxic events within the pass, which can be detrimental to wildlife.