Dave Burdick hails from Conneaut, Ohio, a small town nestled along the south coast of Lake Erie. Soon after graduating from Hiram College in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology, Dave headed south to the islands of the Bahamas, where he worked as an environmental educator/divemaster at the Forfar Field Station. The experience on Andros affirmed his interest in marine biology and, in particular, his fascination with coral reefs. Perhaps most motivating, however, was an awareness of the degraded state of the reefs and the impacts on the local people dependent on marine life for food and income.
In an attempt to gain the knowledge and skills that would help him to better assist communities in managing their coastal resources, Dave pursued a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Dave carried out an investigation of the effectiveness of a coral reef restoration technique on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas for his Master’s thesis, and earned his Master’s Degree in the spring of 2006.
In January 2004 (before completing his degree), Dave moved to Guam to serve as the NOAA Pacific Islands Assistant for the island. The aim of assistantship program was to build local capacity within the coastal resource management community of the U.S. Pacific Trust Territories. While the program focused primarily on building capacity in spatial technologies (e.g., GIS, GPS, etc.), Dave’s background in marine ecology and environmental policy allowed him to contribute to other needs of Guam’s coastal resource management community as well. Since his recent arrival on Guam, Dave has enjoyed meeting the island’s people and exploring Guam’s reefs, waterfalls, and historical and pre-historical sites. He has also taken advantage of Guam’s central location in Micronesia and its proximity to Southeast Asia with trips to Palau, Fiji, the Philippines, Bali, Australia, Pohnpei, and other fascinating locales. Much more than relaxing getaways filled with sun, sand, and surf, Dave viewed these ‘adventures’ as a chance to explore the wide range of interesting cultures in the region and also to expand his knowledge of the many different reef systems and the people that depend on them -– and taking thousands of photos along the way.
Only since living on Guam has Dave been actively involved in underwater (and some above-water) photography. He is eager to improve his skills and to advance beyond digital point-and-shoot cameras. Dave has freely contributed numerous photos to the natural resource management community on Guam for various education and outreach projects, as well as to a handful of NOAA publications. You can find more of his photos at http://dburdick.smugmug.com. You can also see more of his photos and learn more about the coastal resources of Guam by visiting the Guam Coastal Atlas website - one of the projects Dave developed for the University of Guam Marine Lab - at http://www.uog.edu/marinelab/coastal.atlas/.