An astromycologist conducting research with Paul Stamets to "get to the living heart of the universe. The veins and muscles that hold our galaxies together." The Federation co-opted their research at the start of the Klingon-Federation War in order to develop an organic-propulsion system. Staal was assigned to the U.S.S. Glenn as a Science Officer while Stamets was assigned to the U.S.S. Discovery to expedite their research. Straal was killed, along with the entire crew of the U.S.S. Glenn, during black alert manuevers testing the new propulsion system.