Not Set Ecology & Evolution- Marine Biology

Ecology & Evolution

While the principles of ecology and evolution apply everywhere, organisms in the marine environment have unique ecological relationships that influence their populations and shape their long-term evolutionary trajectories. Many marine organisms disperse eggs or larvae very widely and this dispersal connects ecological and evolutionary processes among populations of adults that are often spread over very large geographic areas. The movement of water laterally and vertically transports organisms and nutrients in ways that can make marine food webs extremely large and complex. The flow of water and material from rivers to the ocean connects the inshore marine environment with terrestrial ecological processes that often unfold far from the shoreline. And of course marine invertebrates represent some of the most diverse groups of living organisms. Research in marine biology addresses the challenges of tracing how general ecological and evolutionary principles unfold in the ocean but also those of identifying how the unique features of marine environments influence the outcomes of these processes.

Faculty 1

Scott Burgess

My research combines ecological and evolutionary principles to study the population biology of coastal marine species (mainly invertebrates such as bryozoans and corals). Topics studied include larval dispersal, population connectivity, population dynamics, life history evolution, adaptive phenotypic plasticity, maternal effects, and local adaptation. I typically use some combination of field and laboratory experiments, field surveys, and mathematical modeling.

Don R. Levitan

I am interested in the ecology and evolution of marine invertebrates. My work examines the interactions between ecological processes, natural and sexual selection, and molecular evolution. I am particularly interested in how sperm availability and population density influence the evolution of gamete traits and reproductive behavior and the cascading effects of this selection on reproductive isolation and speciation. I enjoy integrating field experiments and molecular studies with theory.

Sophie J. McCoy

I am a community ecologist with broad interests in ecology, evolution, physiology, and environmental chemistry.  My research focuses on macroalgal populations, intertidal communities, and links between biology, environmental conditions and water chemistry.  I use a combination of field and laboratory methods to understand natural variability in marine populations, responses of individual species and communities to climate change and pollution, and feedbacks between biology and water chemistry.

Andrew Rassweiler

Dr. Andrew Rassweiler is a marine ecologist who combines field experiments, data analysis and mathematical modeling to address both basic and applied questions, mainly in temperate reef ecosystems.  He has used this mix of tools to understand community dynamics, particularly the mechanisms that lead to abrupt shifts from one species assemblage to another.

Janie L. Wulff

I study the ecology of sponges and the organisms with which they interact as mutualistic partners, competitors, and prey, especially in coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangroves.

Emeritus Faculty 2

William F. Herrnkind

Much of my research has involved underwater technology, manipulative field experiments, and mesocosms to study the Caribbean spiny lobster.

Robert J. Livingston

I study aquatic ecology, pollution biology, field and lab experimentation, and ecosystem-level research in freshwater, estuarine, and marine systems.

Richard N. Mariscal

I study cnidarians, including their prey-predator interactions, symbiotic associations, and defense mechanisms.

Coastal and Marine Lab Faculty 1

Sandra D. Brooke

My primary research is on coral reefs from shallow waters to the deep sea. My focus is on understanding their distribution, abundance, and physiology, as well as how they are affected by anthropogenic impacts.

Felicia C. Coleman

My research focus is marine ecology, particularly as it relates to reef fishes and their interactions with other species in their community and their habitat.

Chip Cotton

Current research in my lab is largely concentrated on the study of age, growth and reproduction in marine fishes.  Many of the fishes involved in these studies are deep-water, “k-selected” species, therefore conservation is often a requisite component of my projects.

Dean Grubbs

My research interests are in ichthyology and marine ecology with an emphasis on the biology of coastal, pelagic, and deep sea fishes.  Much of my research focuses on exploited, imperiled, or poorly studied elasmobranch species and is often directed towards answering questions necessary for sustainable management and conservation of their populations.  I am particularly interested in the drivers of community structure and habitat use patterns as well as population dynamics and life history variability.

Christopher Koenig

My research is focused on economically important reef fishes of the southeastern United States. Subject areas include studies of absolute abundance and survival in nursery habitats, demographics of reproductive groups on offshore spawning sites, deep-water coral-reef restoration, and trophic interactions of marine fishes.

  1 Can mentor graduate students in the Department of Biological Science.
  2 Cannot mentor graduate students in the Department of Biological Science.