A coral reef ecologist, with a Ph.D. in Marine Biology and Fisheries from the Rosenstiel School of the University of Miami, Dr. Manzello is Coordinator of NOAA's Coral Reef Watch program, an effort focused on the monitoring of coral reef ecosystems through satellite and in situ observations. Coral Reef Watch is a part of the NESDIS Center for Satellite Applications and Research and uses NOAA satellite data to monitor environmental conditions that lead to coral bleaching and other marine ecological disturbances. NOAA's Coral Reef Watch provides the only source of satellite-based monitoring, alerts, and warnings of upcoming coral mass bleaching events.
From 2001-2020, Derek worked at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, FL, where he led the development and implementation of the in situ climate change and ocean acidification monitoring of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program for U.S. coral reef ecosystems.
Dr. Manzello has published on multiple topics in coral reef ecology, and he regularly conducts research that spans the disciplines of biology, chemistry, and geology. His primary research interest is understanding the impact of climate change and ocean acidification to coral reef ecosystems. Manzello has conducted over 1000 scientific dives while researching coral reefs in all U.S. jurisdictions, as well as international locations in the Pacific (Galapagos, Panama, French Polynesia, Fiji, Palau, Papua New Guinea) and Indian Ocean (Chagos Archipelago). From 2010-2020, Derek was nominated four times for Outstanding Paper of the Year by NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research; he took home the award in 2011. Manzello, along with seven colleagues, was awarded the US Dept of Commerce Bronze Medal in 2020 “For leading the federal response to identify, understand, track, and mitigate the devastating effects of stony coral tissue loss disease in Florida.”