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Meet The Lakewatch Team

Dr. Gretchen Lescord is the Director of Florida LAKEWATCH. She is also an Assistant Professor of applied limnology in the School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences (SFFGS) at the University of Florida.


Originally from coastal New England, Dr. Lescord spent her early career in Canada, where she researched the ecology and water quality of lakes, with a special interest in contaminants, such as mercury and arsenic, and how they accumulate in freshwater fish and the food webs that support them. She obtained her Ph.D. in Boreal Ecology, with a specialization in stressed aquatic ecosystems, in 2019. She has studied the chemical ecology of lakes and rivers across North America and has over 13 years of experience in some of the world’s most specialized and advanced laboratories. In Florida, she pairs her expertise in aquatic ecology, chemistry, and community science to support and lead the LAKEWATCH program.


Dr. Lescord works closely with LAKEWATCH staff, as they collect and analyze data on water quality, aquatic plants, and wildlife populations in lakes across Florida. She also collaborates with other UF Faculty and Florida State Agencies charged with monitoring, researching, and managing lakes. Her goal is to help provide information and data to inform policy decisions and promote lake management practices that benefit freshwater ecosystems and the people of Florida. Dr. Lescord also supervises graduate students who work on limnological research around North America. She teaches two courses at the University (Introduction to Fisheries Science and Fish & Limnology) where she uses the LAKEWATCH data and circulars as educational materials. Her students also considers our volunteers' questions when working on literature reviews and research projects.


You can contact Dr. Lescord at:

Photo of Daniel Canfield

Dr. Daniel Canfield is the founder of Florida LAKEWATCH. He is a professor of Limnology at the University of Florida, and his specialty is applied research that directly relates to the management of aquatic ecosystems. Among his many achievements in this area is the TEAM (Together for Environmental Assessment and Management) approach — a process for developing effective lake management plans or water resource policy.


He also is one of the founders of the Fishing For Success program, which received a national award in 2003 and the Albert “Ray” Massey Award for Citizen Volunteers from the City of Gainesville for 2005. Among other lake management activities, he currently serves as the Univ. of Florida member on the Technical Advisory Group for the Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council.


He has served as president of the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) and is a recipient of its prestigious Secchi Disk Award for his many contributions to the management of America’s lakes. The Florida Lake Management Society has also honored him with the Ed Deevey Jr. Award in “recognition of contributing to our scientific understanding of Florida’s water bodies.”


You can contact Dan at:

Dr. Liz Moreau is the new LAKEWATCH Extension Manager and will work closely with the Regional Coordinators in support of the Mission and Goals of the program.


Liz is a newcomer to the field of limnology, coming to us with a marine ecology background. But don’t hold that against her! Having lived her first 20 years in Ohio and Michigan she gained an early appreciation for freshwater ecosystems and recreation. Since then, she has lived in four states (WA, AK, NH, SC) and two countries (Ecuador, Costa Rica) before landing in Florida in 2017 for her PhD studies at UF.


Liz brings a wealth of relevant research skills and citizen science experience to LAKEWATCH! Her research has focused on crustacean fisheries and disease ecology, working with various stakeholders to address applied scientific questions. She has also worked extensively with citizen scientists and their data in her role as a sea turtle biologist for the state of South Carolina.


In her free time Liz enjoys kayaking, scuba diving, camping, gardening, and spoiling her dog, Juniper, and cat, Huxley. She also loves traveling, learning about new cultures, and exploring naturally beautiful places.


You can contact Liz at: or (352) 273-3611

Dr. Zhuona Li is the Scientific Laboratory Manager for LAKEWATCH. She is responsible for overseeing daily operations and managing the lab staff. Since 2014, she has been a resident of Florida and holds a PhD in analytical toxicology, along with master's and bachelor's degrees in environmental science. Throughout her career, Zhuona has actively participated in projects related to marine and Lake environmental impact assessments.


Feel free to reach out to Zhuona at or (352)273-3625.

Daniel Willis is a Research Coordinator II for Florida LAKEWATCH. Dan trains and coordinates with volunteers to collect water quality data for Florida’s waterbodies. He helps compile the data and disseminate the information back to the volunteers and the general public. Dan has been with the Florida LAKEWATCH program in some capacity since 1991.


Dan was born in Florida and grew up in Okeechobee, Florida. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Resources and Conservation from the University of Florida and received his Master of Science degree from the University of Florida's Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences program.


You can contact Dan at: or (352) 273-3638.

Jason “Mo” Bennett is a Regional Coordinator for Florida LAKEWATCH, and is responsible for the North Florida and Panhandle regions.  Mo works to train and support new and existing volunteers. He has been with LAKEWATCH since 2006.


Mo is from Missouri (hence the nickname), but has lived in Florida since 2003.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and his Master of Science degree in Fisheries from the University of Florida.


Mo enjoys woodworking, fishing, and scuba diving with his son.  You can contact Mo at: or (352) 273-3639.

Marina Schwartz is the Data Manager for Florida LAKEWATCH. Marina designs and maintains LAKEWATCH’s data management and sharing systems and supports LAKEWATCH staff in research, teaching, and extension activities. Marina has been with LAKEWATCH since 2018.


Marina is a Florida native from the Tampa area. Marina received her Bachelor of Science degree in Integrative Animal Biology from the University of South Florida in 2016 and a Master of Science Degree in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from the University of Florida in 2019.


Marina and her husband, Andy, love to travel, and enjoy finding new hiking, camping, and fishing adventures across the United States. She is always in pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee.


You can contact Marina at: or (352) 273-3640

David Watson is a Regional Coordinator for Florida LAKEWATCH. He is responsible for running the analysis for phosphorus, conductivity, and color samples in the water chemistry laboratory.  He is also responsible for updating and maintaining the bird surveys.

David moved to Gainesville and has been with Florida LAKEWATCH since 1996.

David received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Alabama and a Master of Science in Fisheries and Applied Aquaculture from Auburn University.


David is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hiking, beach sunning and kayaking. 


You can contact David at:

Colton Hasson is a Laboratory Technician for Florida LAKEWATCH. Colton cleans glassware and sampling bottles and bags them for transportation. He also assists with keeping the laboratory clean. Colton has been with LAKEWATCH since May of 2013.


Colton is currently enrolled at Santa Fe College where his studies focus on biology and science.


Colton is a sports enthusiast, including football, basketball, baseball, soccer and golf. He was born in Gainesville and bleeds orange and blue! Go Gators!


You can contact Colton at:

Thomas McManus is the Chemist II for Florida LAKEWATCH. He is responsible for nitrogen, phosphorus, and chlorophyll analysis, as well as assisting the laboratory manager with all other laboratory operations and analysis as needed. He has been with LAKEWATCH since April 2023.


Thomas is from Colorado and has lived in Florida since 2006. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and Cell Science, with a minor in Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Florida.


Thomas enjoys fishing, boating, surfing, and about anything else on or near the water.


You can contact Thomas at:

Brittany Alexander is the OPS Laboratory Technician at LAKEWATCH. Brittany washes and maintains glassware for use in the laboratory. In addition to preparing supplies for sampling, she assists the regional coordinators with sample collection in various counties. 


Brittany earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sustainability, with a minor in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida. 


In her spare time Brittany enjoys skateboarding, hiking with her cat Finn, watching football (Go Bucs), traveling, fashion, reading and French baking