Meet Our Team

Mike Smith
Mike SmithFounder & Executive Director

Mike Smith received his BS in marine biology from the University of Rhode Island and his MS in education from Walden University. He has loved working in the outdoors as a shark and fish researcher, a kayak guide in the San Juan Islands sharing the water with orcas, a naturalist aboard whale watching vessels, and a Program Director at New England Science & Sailing. He has also worked as an instructor on Tall Ships teaching marine science, snorkeling, and sailing in the waters around Catalina Island. He holds a 100 Ton USCG Masters Captain License, is an ARC lifeguard instructor, and has U.S. Sailing and BCU kayak certifications. Outside of Common Tides, he is a full time K-8 teacher at The Phoenix School, in Salem, MA. His passions are spending time with his family, surfing, exploring the outdoors, and cheering the Seahawks on to win another Super Bowl!

Katie Dyal
Katie DyalFounder & Executive Director

Katie Dyal has been passionate about the world’s water since childhood. Her love and knowledge of aquatic ecosystems increased greatly as she studied, played, and eventually gained her Masters in Water and Soil Science. Since then she has helped with local reef conservation efforts in Fiji, Honduras, and Thailand as well as helping teach the local children about their oceanic habitats. She also worked as a field instructor teaching children about the Pacific Ocean on Catalina Island as well as an instructor aboard a sailing vessel along the California Channel Islands. She spent time working as a marine instructor in the Florida Keys, and working as dive master as well. Outside of Common Tides, she enjoys exploring the Rocky and Smoky Mountains whenever she can. She also loves diving deep into yogic practices, especially yoga nidra.

Dr. Robert Ellis
Dr. Robert EllisContributing Scientist

Dr. Robert Ellis grew up in Southern California and always knew that he wanted to be a marine biologist. He received his BS from UC Santa Barbara where he first got hooked on marine research by studying coral reef fishes in the US Virgin Islands. After graduating he moved out to Catalina Island where he worked as an instructor teaching marine biology to grades 4-12, then onto a couple years surf-bumming around Santa Cruz and Central America. He then went back to school, attaining his MS in Oceanography (LSU) and his Ph.D. in biology (Florida State). Bob currently studies reef fish life history for the state of Florida and stokes his passion for marine conservation by working with Common Tides and the Clear This Fish Foundation working to eradicate invasive lionfish from Panama.