Ph.D. University of British Columbia, 2006
Office Phone: 727.553.3373
CV: View PDF
Fisheries and Ecosystems Ecology Lab Website
Dr. Cameron Ainsworth on Google Scholar
Research: Fisheries Biology; Ecosystem and Resource Management.
Dr. Ainsworth’s research is focused on understanding how human activities and climate influence the structure and functioning of marine communities and developing new tools and methodologies to support ecosystem-based management. As part of this research, Dr. Ainsworth and his students employ a variety of statistical and numerical simulation models to characterize trophic linkages in marine ecosystems, habitat use by fish and invertebrates, and the influence of physical oceanography on the distribution of marine life. His ongoing studies include a management strategy evaluation (MSE) of Gulf of Mexico marine protected area design. The MSE approach is a type of closed-loop policy analysis that simulates each part of Holling’s adaptive management cycle (stock assessment, implementation of harvest rules, and policy evaluation). Key to this approach is recognizing feedbacks from the ecosystem that occur in response to management actions and evaluating tradeoffs with respect to socioeconomic and ecological policy objectives. This work is being done in collaboration with NOAA as part of their Integrated Ecosystem Assessment for the Gulf of Mexico, and other Gulf-area agencies. Another major project ongoing in the Ainsworth lab is the evaluation of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This study focuses on the short and long-term impacts of oil toxicity in the ecosystem, as well as the impacts of mediation actions like the use of dispersants and fishery closures.
In 2013, Dr. Ainsworth received a Sloan Research Fellowship, awarded to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise. These two-year fellowships are awarded yearly to 126 researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field. Dr. Ainsworth is one of only two Sloan Fellowships awarded in the state of Florida.
Distinguished University Professor
Ph.D. University of California, San Diego/San Diego State University, 2006
Office Phone: 727.553.3520
CV: View PDF
Breitbart Lab Website
Dr. Mya Breitbart on Google Scholar
Mya Breitbart on Twitter
Research: Genomics; Marine Microbiology; Wastewater Microbiology; and Virology.
In every milliliter of surface seawater, there are 1 million bacteria and 10 million viruses. Microbes are very diverse, and play important roles in global carbon and nutrient cycling. Dr. Breitbart has spent over a decade studying oceanic viral abundance, diversity, and biogeography. Along the way, she played an integral part in developing the scientific field of viral metagenomics, and her lab continues to expand the application of this technique to new environments and research questions. The Breitbart lab uses molecular techniques to examine the diversity, distribution, and ecological roles of viruses and bacteria in a wide range of environments – including seawater, animals, plants, insects, zooplankton, coral reefs, stromatolites, and reclaimed water.
Notable recent findings include the first discovery of viruses infecting zooplankton (the most numerous animals in the ocean), the first identification of single-stranded DNA viruses in invertebrates, the first multi-year study of viral abundance in the open ocean, the discovery that plant viruses dominate human feces which enabled the development of new indicators of fecal pollution, the identification of viral pathogens potentially involved in marine mammal mortality events, and the creation of new methods for identifying vector-transmitted viruses. Currently funded by an NSF Assembling the Tree of Life grant, the Breitbart lab is now focusing on exploring the diversity and ecology of single-stranded DNA viruses, whose widespread environmental distribution has only recently been recognized.
In September 2013, Dr. Breitbart was selected by Popular Science magazine (October issue), as one of their “Brilliant 10″—an annual feature profiling 10 young scientists who are doing truly groundbreaking work in their fields. To identify those individuals that the scientific community feels are the best, brightest, and most worthy of widespread recognition, Popular Science magazine polls professional organizations and scientists in the field.
Margaret A. Mars Brisbin
Ph.D. Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (Japan)
Office Phone: 727.553.
CV: View PDF
The MICO Lab Website
Research: Interactions between marine microbes, microbial symbioses, phytoplankton community dynamics in coastal and open ocean systems, harmful algal blooms, extreme events
Specialties: Microbiology, Phytoplankton ecology, Meta 'omics, Bioinformatics
My research takes advantage of high-throughput RNA and DNA sequencing as well as high-throughput imaging and high-resolution microscopy to study how marine microbes interact with each other and respond to different environmental conditions. I am especially interested in how interactions between the smallest organisms in the ocean influence large-scale ecosystem processes like primary production, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration. Current work focuses on how specific relationships between bacterial communities and different phytoplankton species influence phytoplankton bloom dynamics. For example, how does terrestrial nutrient loading interact with nutrient production by phytoplankton microbiome communities to determine which phytoplankton species is able to bloom? Moreover, how will climate change and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme events (e.g., hurricanes and heat waves) alter phytoplankton microbiomes and phytoplankton community dynamics? I aim to investigate these topics and questions in primarily coastal systems from pole to pole, including locally in Florida ecosystems. Other research interests include endosymbiosis, kleptoplasty, and plastid evolution.
P. Dreux Chappell
CV: View PDF
Research: Marine Microbial Ecology, Marine Microbiology and ‘OMICs, Phytoplankton Physiology, Trace Metal Biogeochemistry, Nitrogen Fixation
I have an interdisciplinary background with a BA in Biology and a Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography and am interested in studying the interplay between phytoplankton physiology and ocean chemistry. Research in my group encompasses molecular microbial ecology, phytoplankton cultivation/physiology, and trace metal biogeochemistry. We use a suite of molecular biological tools including high-throughput sequencing and quantitative PCR combined with analysis of trace metal and macronutrient concentrations in seawater to link biological activity and chemical distributions in controlled laboratory settings and in the field. Our group both develops and uses molecular methods to assess phytoplankton community composition and to quantitatively evaluate nutrient limitation in the field with a goal of better informing biogeochemical models. We are particularly interested in using quantitative molecular tools to answer questions regarding the biological availability of different forms of nutrients to phytoplankton (i.e., iron as dissolved, particulate, colloidal, or bound to organic ligands; phosphorus as phosphate, dissolved organic phosphorus; etc.), as these distinctions can have significant geochemical implications. We perform research that spans the global ocean, with projects focused on both the coastal and open ocean environments collected from Pole to Pole.
Kendra L. Daly
Ph.D., University of Tennessee, 1995
Office Phone: 727.553.1041
Lab Phone: 727.553.1207
CV: View PDF
Zooplankton Ecology Lab Website
Dr. Kendra L. Daly on Google Scholar
Southern Ocean Science Website
Research: Zooplankton Ecology; Gulf of Mexico and Antarctic Ecosystems; Low Oxygen Regions in the Ocean; Ocean Observatories; Sensor Technology.
Dr. Daly's research interests focus on zooplankton ecology with the aim of understanding the physical and biological factors that control the abundance and distribution of zooplankton and the role of zooplankton in marine food webs, biogeochemical cycles, and fisheries oceanography. Recent projects include investigations of (1) the Gulf of Mexico lower trophic food web response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, (2) the role of marine snow in the sedimentation of Deepwater Horizon oil to the sea floor, and (3) ecosystem dynamics and predator-prey interactions in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, using the SCINI remotely operated vehicle with a variety of sensors.
Dr. Daly is a 2015 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also is Secretary of the Biological Oceanography section of AGU, Chair of the Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board (OOIFB), a member of the International Science Advisory Board for Ocean Networks Canada, and serves on the NSF Regional Class Research Vessel Science Oversight Committee.
Research Assistant Professor, College of Marine Science
Ph.D. Marine Science – Concentration in Marine Resource Assessment, University of South Florida, College of Marine Science (2017)
Office Phone: 727-553-3358
CV: View PDF
Fishery Ecosystems; Dynamical Systems Theory and Ecological Regime Shifts; Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management; Fish Ecology; Applied Multivariate Statistics; Methods Development in Numerical Ecology; Spatiotemporal Analyses
In ecology, the problem of “pattern and scale” (Levin, 1992) persists where, in systems with many interacting factors and processes, the mechanisms that control the structure, function, and health of the system’s resources exist at multiple temporal and spatial scales that may change over the lifetime of the resource. Dr. Kilborn’s research focuses on describing large marine ecosystems and their associated fisheries in terms of the biological and non-biological aspects relevant to management and for moderating competing stakeholder interests. He uses parametric and non-parametric, uni/multivariate statistical methods to develop decision-support products, such as the Gulf of Mexico fisheries ecosystem model implemented using the Ecosystem-Level, Management-Indicator Selection Tool (Kilborn et al., 2018), that distill the multiple, dynamic interactions and trade-offs within an ecosystem into a more manageable format for managers and stakeholders. Dr. Kilborn also uses, and develops (Kilborn et al., 2017), state-of-the-art methods in numerical ecology to determine (1) what spatiotemporal scales are most relevant to different marine ecosystem resources, (2) what internal or external factors most affect the organization of resources over time and space, and (3) what large or small scale influences may account for, or predict, shifts in those organizational states. Ultimately, the results of his work are meant to provide necessary context and perspective for those that are investigating which of the complex ecosystem dynamics should be monitored and managed, and for fostering practical and sustainable long-term use of the variety of important services that large marine ecosystems provide. Finally, Dr. Kilborn also enjoys working and mentoring students through teaching the College’s Biometry (Fall; CRN: 88449) and Applied Multivariate Statistics (Spring; CRN: 18230) courses annually.
Frank E. Muller-Karger
Biological Oceanography and Remote Sensing
Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1988
Office Phone: 727.553.3335
Lab Phone: 727.553.1186
CV: View PDF
Institute for Marine Remote Sensing Lab Website
Research: Changes in Marine Ecosystems Using Field-based and Satellite Remote Sensing Time Series.
Frank Müller-Karger is a Professor in the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida. He studies coastal and marine ecosystems including the links between water quality, biological production, and biodiversity, and how these may be connected to climate change and human activities. He uses satellite remote sensing and field work to measure how marine life is changing. Muller-Karger serves as co-lead of the US and international Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON), the Marine Life 2030 program endorsed by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and the NOAA Climate Program Office/Sanctuaries Climate Indicator Task Force. He has published over 340 scientific articles. He received the individual William T. Pecora Award in 2021, is a AAAS Fellow, and served on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. Muller-Karger promotes science and technology, working with the public to advance environmental conservation, locally, nationally, and internationally. For fun Frank likes to be out on the water on a boat and to paint landscapes using watercolors.
Research Professor and St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership Peter R. Betzer Endowed Chair
Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1984
Office Phone: 727.553.3367
CV: View CV
Research: Population dynamics of exploited marine species; impacts of fishing and other anthropogenic stresses on marine ecosystems; ecosystem modeling and analysis.
Dr. Murawski is a fisheries biologist and marine ecologist involved in understanding the impacts of human activities on the sustainability of ocean ecosystems. He has developed approaches for understanding the impacts of fishing on marine fish complexes exploited in mixed-species aggregations. Additionally, his work on impacts of marine protected areas and other management options has formed the scientific basis for resource management regulation both nationally and globally. Such assessments can help inform management regulations to rebuild animal populations from the effects of overexploitation, oil spills and other chemical contaminants, loss of juvenile nursery areas, nutrient enrichment, climate change and other stressors.
Dr. Murawski currently serves as Director and Principal Investigator for the Center for Ocean Mapping and Innovative Technologies (COMIT), a cooperative agreement between the NOAA Office of Coast Survey and USF to develop technologies to map undersea ocean and coastal regions. He was also Director of the Center for Integrated Analysis and Modeling of Gulf Ecosystems (C-IMAGE), which was funded by grants from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to study effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. His research interests are varied and center around the theme of acquiring actionable science that can influence public policy and help achieve sustainable marine ecosystems.
Dr. Murawski formerly served Chief Scientist of the National Marine Fisheries Service and has a long record of achievement in providing scientific information necessary for sustainable use of living marine resources. He is the recipient of the Department of Commerce Gold Medal, the Senior Executive Service Meritorious Rank Award, and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among many other awards.
Ernst B. Peebles
Office Phone: 727.553.3983
Lab Phone: 727.553.1296
CV: View PDF
Selected Publications: View PDF
Research: Biological Oceanography/Marine Resource Assessment.
Dr. Peebles’ research foci include: 1) spatio-temporal interactions between coastal fishes and their prey, particularly as these are affected by freshwater flows to the coast and other physical processes, to manage environmental flows into estuaries and to develop community-level metrics for establishing the extent of eutrophication in coastal water bodies; 2) use of stable isotope analysis to investigate factors that influence coastal biomass pathways to identify site fidelities and movements that determine geographic habitat connectivity; and 3) DNA barcoding and hydrodynamic models to our effort to characterize habitat connectivity during egg and larval stages. In a related effort, we have been using otolith microchemistry (LA-ICP-MS) to connect adult fish to the geographic regions they used as nursery habitat and to detect exposure of individual fish to stressful events such as oil spills.
Office Phone: 727.553.3403
CV: View PDF
Research: Physiological response of marine animals to extreme environments, ocean acidification, deoxygenation and warming, polar and deep-sea biology, biology of mollusks.
My research employs a unique suite of field and laboratory techniques and approaches to assess the ecological consequences of climate change, including ocean acidification, deoxygenation and warming, and the role of animal energetics in ecosystem dynamics. I carry out broad comparative physiology studies to determine the limits to evolution and ecology. Physiological mechanism provides a foundation upon which ecosystem responses to climate change and consequences for biogeochemical cycles can be understood. My studies compare organisms across size, depth, latitudinal and phylogenetic lines, from microzooplankton to macronekton, ctenophores to fishes, from the poles to the equator and from the abyssal plains to the ocean surface. We strive to integrate across levels of organization, from mitochondria to ecosystems. I focus on the physiology of individual species and what this can teach us about their origin, behavior, ecology, diversity and the ecosystems in which they live.
Ph.D. Oregon State University, 2007
Office Phone: 727.553.3371
CV: View PDF
Fish Ecology Laboratory Website
Fish Ecology Laboratory on Facebook
Research: Ecology; Marine conservation and management efforts.
Research in Dr. Stallings’ lab focuses on basic concepts in ecology, yet includes a strong applied component to inform marine conservation and management efforts. Overarching efforts seek to estimate the abundance of marine organisms and examine the ecological processes that drive population and community dynamics. His lab’s questions are often framed to evaluate the effects of human activities, such as fishing and coastal development, on ecological systems. Therefore, much of the research is field-intensive and involves both experimental and large-scale observational approaches. However, the lab also incorporates an extensive laboratory component through mesocosm experiments and use of stable isotope analysis. Moreover, the Stallings Lab explores large datasets, using multivariate statistics and GIS to reveal broad-scale ecological patterns that may be further explored through focused regional field studies.