Zack holds a Ph.D. in biology from Florida International University, and an M.S. in marine biology from Florida Institute of Technology. Much of Zack’s research has been carried out on the Indian River Lagoon estuary and its tributaries – a system that has suffered from massive environmental degradation in recent years. Zack has worked extensively with a number of economically and recreationally important gamefish species in an attempt to identify, protect, and restore the habitats they rely on throughout their lives.
From snook and snapper, to tarpon, bonefish, and permit, Zack has used a variety of tagging and tracking techniques to learn how, when, and why fish move, in order to better protect their homes. Zack’s work with fish habitats led him to the world of oyster reef restoration, since oyster reefs provide critical nursery habitat for many fish species. He has also conducted extensive research on the lionfish invasion and its impacts on Florida’s coastal and estuarine ecosystems. Zack believes that it is critically important to bridge the gap between the scientific community and the public through education and outreach. To this end, he regularly gives lectures throughout Florida, and has appeared in numerous documentaries, short films, and news stories.