In This Section

Marine Biology Research

Areas of Research
  • Invertebrate ecology (Dr. Harding, Dr. Koepfler, Dr. Walters)
  • Microbial and plankton ecology (Dr. Koepfler)
  • Nekton ecology and behavior, including:
    • Estuarine and coastal fish (Dr. Abel, Dr. Harding, Dr. Young)
    • Marine mammals (Dr. Young)
    • Sea turtles (Dr. Koepfler)
    • Sharks (Dr. Abel)
  • Physiological ecology of marine organisms (Dr. Abel, Dr. Harding)
  • Salt marsh and wetland restoration ecology (Dr. Walters)
  • Systems ecology, particularly in salt marshes and estuaries (Dr. Harding, Dr. Koepfler, Dr. Walters, Dr. Young)
  • Molecular marine biology (Dr. Burge)
  • Invasion biology and ecology (Dr. Harding)
  • Community ecology (Dr. Harding)
  • Sclerochronology (Dr. Harding)
  • Molluscan ecology, population dynamics and aquaculture (Dr. Harding)
  • Plankton Ecology, nutrient dynamics, harmful algal blooms (Dr. Boneillo)
  • Crustaceans and animal behavior (Dr. Rosch)
  • Bio-optical monitoring and photosynthesis of seagrass (Ms. Stoughton)
Faculty
  • Dr. Daniel Abel (Professor) has research interests in the fields of shark biology and environmental science. His interests also include innovative techniques for teaching critical thinking skills.  He is the co-author of the textbooks Environmental Issues: An Introduction to Sustainability and Issues in Oceanography; is director of the CCU Campus and Community Sustainability Initiative, and is a Senior Fellow with the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development. 
  • Dr. George Boneillo (Lecturer) has research interests in plankton ecology and nutrient dynamics in coastal ecosystems.  He has been studying the causes and impacts of harmful algal blooms. His research has focused primarily on Aureococcus anaophagefferens, the organism responsible for brown tides.
  • Dr. Erin Burge (Associate Professor) is a molecular marine biologist who has investigated numerous topics, including host-pathogen interactions between striped bass and mycobacteria, shrimp immune gene expression, ecotoxicology in the mummichog, and the environmental immunology of oysters. His teaching and research focus on molecular mechanisms of immunity and physiological adaptation to pathogens and environmental stressors in fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.
  • Dr. Juli Harding (Assistant Professor) has research interests in marine ecology, with an emphasis on the community ecology of coastal and estuarine ecosystems. Recent projects include research ranging from trophic dynamics to benthic-pelagic coupling, population dynamics, restoration and conservation ecology, sclerochronology and its applications to environmental reconstruction and archaeology, as well as the biology and ecology of invasive species. Her research and teaching use molluscan and fish populations to address topics in marine community ecology and place these communities within the broader context of ecosystem function across spatial and temporal scales.
  • Dr. Eric Koepfler's (Professor) expertise is in the field of microbial ecology. He has conducted research in both benthic and pelagic systems ranging from freshwater (James River in Virginia) to hypersaline benthic (Laguna Madre in Texas) environments. His specific research interest is in the examination of microbial involvement in carbon production, food web dynamics, and biogeochemical nutrient cycling. He is presently researching microbial community response to maturation of tidal marsh creek systems associated with sea level rise.
  • Dr. Eric Rosch (Lecturer) is a marine zoologist specializing in crustaceans and animal behavior. His past research includes foraging and aggressive behaviors in coral reef fish, population ecology and biodiversity of marine invertebrate macrofauna, and fiddler crab behavior, ecology, and larval development. His recent research interests pertain to the behavioral ecology of coastal animals, especially crustaceans, and how natural and anthropogenic factors affect their ecology. Ongoing projects include foraging and mating behaviors of fiddler crabs at Waties Island, SC and the distribution and abundance of ghost crabs (Ocypode quadrata) on the South Carolina coast, with an emphasis on the effect of human disturbance on burrowing, predation, and mating behaviors.
  • Ms. Margaret (Mandy) Stoughton (Lecturer) is a biological oceanographer whose research interests include bio-optical modeling and photosynthesis of seagrass. 
  • Dr. Keith Walters (Professor) is a marine ecologist currently studying invertebrate population and community ecology within estuarine systems. A former Fulbright scholar, Dr. Walters' research experiences range from investigating arctic sea-ice communities in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to subtropical seagrass systems in Brisbane, Australia. Recent research interests include wetland restoration, salt marsh plant-animal interactions, copepod metapopulation processes, and marine snow dynamics
  • Dr. Robert Young (Professor) is a marine biologist whose research interests include the ecology, behavior, and management of fishes and marine mammals, as well as other areas of coastal and estuarine ecology.  A former president of the South Carolina Marine Educators Association, he has been involved in numerous marine education programs for students, teachers, and the community.