Connor Tate

Research Associate

Connor is a Research Associate at IHMC and a Gulf Breeze native with a passion for ecotourism, sustainability and conservation.  She joined IHMC in 2017 working with David Fries on sensor enabled reefs for autonomous ocean monitoring. She has since worked on a variety of projects across multiple domains. She is a Ph.D. student in the IHMC/UWF Intelligent Systems and Robotics program, where  her dissertation research focuses on expanding autonomous environmental monitoring capabilities for improved prediction, remediation and management of marine phenomena. Her thesis focuses on the development of adaptive monitoring strategies between remote sensing platforms, autonomous ocean platforms and human field teams.

At IHMC, she works with Dr. Matthew Johnson on human-machine teaming and team dynamics. With Dr. Ian Perera, she works to develop and run human subjects research experiments for the assessment of trust calibration in human-machine teams. Her work in eXplainable AI with Dr. Robert Hoffman has been to develop a method for evaluating XAI systems. Her work with Dr. Jeffrey Phillips in the human performance lab has been to develop an underwater eye-tracking system for the monitoring of diver physiology and cognitive function. She enjoys working at the intersection of the human and the environment and believes that the health of each depends on the other.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental geosciences from University of Florida in 2015. After graduating from UF, she traveled to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Those experiences, combined with her family, education and travel focused upbringing, fostered a great sense of stewardship for the environment, marine resources and Pensacola.

Connor believes IHMC’s collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach can bring innovative solutions to the complex issues we face in society and the environment.

Her work on the Advance Manufactured Bio-mimetic Reef and Sponge Genomics Sampling included assist project management, project organization, purchasing, and intern management; grant writing; CAD design; manufacture reef models; education and outreach. Her research interests include habitat complexity, spatial light, remote sensing, additive manufacturing, materials science, aquaculture, and coastal engineering.

Her community involvement includes Friends of Pensacola State Park- Communications Director and LIFE Program Coordinator, Marine Science Academy, SeaGrant IFAS, BARC TAC, The Nature Conservancy. Her hobbies include hiking, ecotourism, painting, ceramics, dancing, and travel.


  • Lighting System Packaging for Smart Underwater Reefs for Sensing, Communications, and Robotics
  • Bio-mimetic Sentinel Reef Structures for Optical Sensing and Communications.