GPF’s Science Team
Owen Porterfield is an islander born and raised, who developed a deep appreciation for the natural beauty of his island home at an early age. Years spent hiking the Vineyard’s numerous trails and beaches left him with the realization that not only are the Island’s natural resources incredibly unique, they’re also incredibly fragile if not protected. This prompted him to study environmental science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he completed an undergraduate thesis analyzing temporal changes in heavy metal concentrations within forest soils of the northeastern United States. While still in college, Owen spent the summer of 2022 as a summer science intern with the Great Pond Foundation (GPF), a position that allowed him to play an active role in maintaining the environmental health of the Vineyard. After graduating from UMass in the spring of 2023, Owen returned to GPF as the 2023 Field Crew Leader (a seasonal position) before stepping into full-time year round staff position of Field Science Coordinator later that year. GPF if delighted that Owen joined its Science Team in November, 2023.
Emily, a field and laboratory biologist, has spent her career studying coastal waters, conservation genetics, and deep-sea hydrothermal vents. As Executive Director of Great Pond Foundation, Emily advocates for the data-driven and scientifically informed management of Martha’s Vineyard coastal ponds. Emily and her team have been monitoring the ecosystem health of Edgartown Great Pond year-round since 2016. Prior to Great Pond Foundation, Emily worked at the Marine Biological Laboratory, in Woods Hole, MA, the Moore Laboratory of Zoology, in Los Angeles, CA and onboard the R/V Vantuna.
David was born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard where he spent many summers exploring the rich and diverse ecosystems across the island. From an early age, he became fascinated with the great ponds and adjoining watersheds. His appreciation for these complex and fragile habitats inspired him to study conservation and ecology across a wide range of environments and circumstances. Throughout his career, he has worked for a diverse group of public and non-profit entities including the Trustees of Reservations, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Geological Survey, and the National Park Service. He received a B.S. in environmental studies from Endicott College in 2009, and a master’s degree in coastal zone management from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in 2018. His master’s thesis utilized high-resolution water quality data and satellite imagery to investigate the relationship between localized land-use trends and diffuse nutrient inputs throughout the Coral Gables canal. David joined GPF in 2021 as a Watershed Outreach Manager.