Ongoing Research Opportunities

Marine Mammal Stranding Network

The Marine Mammal Stranding Network is a volunteer organization within the Student Oceanic Society Club, where students work directly with Marine Mammal Biologists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Volunteers are involved in carcass recovery and transport, performing necropsies, rescue and transport of injured live animals, filing reports, and other opportunities that may arise. Participation in the Networks gives students an extraordinary hands-on opportunity to learn about the marine mammals that utilize Northeast Florida and the basic biology of different types of cetaceans and manatees. In order to gain this valuable experience, students involved in the Network must be dedicated and willing to allocate an appropriate amount of time.

Manatee Research

Under the coordination of Dr. Quint White, JU students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of manatee research and conservation programs.

For more information, visit the MaRCO (Manatee Research Center Online) website.

Energetics of Brittlestar Arm Regeneration

Students work with Dr. Lee Ann Clements on a variety of independent and/or ongoing projects involving research on brittlestars.

Nearshore Reef Monitoring and Research

Due to ongoing research grants received by Dr. Dan McCarthy, students have the opportunity to participate in a semi-monthly monitoring program of nearshore reefs along Florida's Southeast Coast. Students also work on a variety of independent and/or ongoing projects involving coastal marine ecology.


Kingfish Population Studies

Overseen by Dr. Dan McCarthy, specimens are donated to JU each year from the Bellsouth Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament. Students assist in the morphological measurements and molecular analysis of the kingfish in order to better understand local kingfish populations and ecology.

Shark Tagging Program

JU students and staff participate in the St. Simons Island Sharkin' Club, whose members catch and release sharks for research purposes. Sharks are tagged for ongoing studies by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Fin samples and morphological data are collected for Texas Department of Natural Resources/Texas A&M University.


Faculty Research Interests

Rosemarie Borkowski​​​

Assistant Professor


B.A., University of North Carolina
D.V.M., University of Florida

Areas of Expertise

Veterinary Medicine, Biology and Medicine of Birds, Marine and Terrestrial Mammals, Diseases of Zoo and Wildlife Species, Human Anatomy and Physiology.

Bio and Research

Growing up close to the South Florida coastline and the Everglades in a very active, outdoors-oriented family, my keen interest in aquatic animals blended well with my strong desire to become a veterinarian involved with diverse species. Numerous fish, turtles, shorebirds, and even an octopus resided at our home as pets or patients in addition to the more typical companion animals. Soon after finishing college, I found work as a bottlenose dolphin trainer, an experience that was so unusual and inspiring that it significantly shaped the course of my veterinary career, motivating me to seek a number of training programs and work experiences with both wild and captive marine mammals in addition to traditional domestic species, zoo animals, and wildlife.

In addition to teaching comparative vertebrate anatomy, marine mammal biology, and other courses at JU, I provide veterinary support for the Southeast Regional Marine Mammal Stranding Network and the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, as well as agencies serving terrestrial and avian wildlife, performing animals, and pets. My work with marine mammals and seabirds frequently involves collaboration with biologists as together we investigate such topics as natural and anthropogenic causes of cetacean morbidity and mortality, extralimital experiences of seals along the Florida coast, and patterns of seabird mortality. Our experiences with ill and injured wild animals such as dolphins sometimes reveal lapses in our understanding of the natural history of these species, inspiring us to more fully understand their daily and seasonal patterns of movement, feeding ecology and nutritional requirements, and various aspects of their behavior. Additional work may also be needed to illuminate the current level of local public awareness regarding human-caused injuries of cetaceans. Our work with wild dolphins can also inform husbandry and veterinary efforts for dolphins residing in oceanaria or serving as working animals for the U.S. Navy. As both the human medical and veterinary medical communities embrace the concept of "One Health," a phrase that acknowledges that interrelatedness between human health, animal health and ecosystem health, we have become increasingly aware that marine mammals can play important roles as sentinels of ocean health, prompting us to more fully understand the level at which these animals may be affected by toxic or infectious disease processes.

My first research project with harbor porpoises was actually the product of an idea that came to me from working with a very sick dog that had a disorder of the immune system. I have often found that working with domestic and other terrestrial animals provides a wealth of ideas and questions that are applicable to aquatic animals. Students desiring to work with marine mammals can greatly increase their scientific skills through hands-on work with animals of many different species. I strongly encourage students to take part in the numerous animal-oriented internships, independent study and research projects that are available through JU in collaboration with regional zoos, wildlife and conservation centers, plus marine mammal centers.


  • BLY 305 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • BLY 335/336 Marine Mammal Biology
  • BLY 3xx/4xx Human Ecology, Infectious and Zoonotic
  • Disease (exact number in future catalog)
  • BLY 499 Senior Seminar
  • BLY 215 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BLY 216 Human Anatomy and Physiology II

Lee Ann J. Clements

Professor; Chair, Division of Science and Mathematics


B.A., University of Virginia
M.S. and Ph.D. in Marine Science, University of South Carolina

Areas of Expertise

Biological Oceanography, Physiological Ecology and Regeneration in Invertebrates, and Echinoderms

Bio and Research

My interest in Biology and marine life began during my childhood. My maternal great-grandfather made his living catching crabs and oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. The family was tied to the ebb and flood of the tides, and to this day that area is among my favorite places to relax. My father also made his living from the oceans; he was a naval officer until he retired. I attended the University of Virginia knowing that I wanted a career in Marine Biology. The first step was to get a good background in the biological sciences. While at Virginia, I also got my first teaching experience as an undergraduate assistant in the introductory biology labs, my first opportunity to do research, and my first look at a coral reef. A field course in the Bahamas introduced me to tropical marine ecology. I subsequently attended the University of South Carolina and received both my Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Science.

My research interests are focused around the physiology and ecology of echinoderms, specifically the process of regeneration in brittlestars and starfish. I have always tried to encourage students to participate in research since my early experience with it was so rewarding. My current projects include investigating the role of metallic pollutants in altering developmental, the effects of wave motion on skeletal regeneration, and the role of genetics in determining regeneration rates.

All of our students need a basic understanding of the general principles operating in all organisms. Getting involved with the problems and questions that have intrigued scientists is the best way to learn about science. I teach Introduction to Marine Science, Oral Communication, Biological Oceanography, Marine Geology, and Physiological Ecology. My goal is to get upper-division majors to apply the basic core to real data and situations so they can function as professionals in their chosen field. I use various methods including lectures, student presentations, laboratory experiments, library research, and primary literature reading with discussion.

In addition to my role as Professor of Marine Science, I also chair the Division of Science and Math. I have several students working on undergraduate research projects in my lab. My spare time activities include grading tests and papers (only kidding, I think), directing a church choir, sewing, doing craft projects and spending time with my husband and two children.


  • MSC101 Introduction to Marine Science
  • BLY223S Oral Communications in the Biological Sciences
  • BLY412WI Physiological Ecology
  • MSC406 Biological Oceanography
  • MSC307 Marine Geology

Nisse Goldberg

Assistant Professor


B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz
M.S., Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Ph.D., University of Western Australia

Areas of Expertise

Marine and Terrestrial Ecology with a Focus on Seaweeds, Fungi, Lichen, and Plants.

Bio and Research

My research examines temporal and spatial changes of photosynthetic organisms living in terrestrial, intertidal, and marine habitats. As a subtidal ecologist, I am also interested in studying seaweed diversity and species-level recruitment along the southeastern coast of the U.S. I am also interested in studying diatom diversity in the St. Johns River and in coastal waters. In terrestrial environments, I am exploring changes in plant diversity in the Florida rosemary scrub habitat and among marsh islands in the tributaries of the St. Johns River. I have investigated the temporal changes in an oak hammock since the infestation of an invasive beetle that has devastated populations of red bays in the area.

I endeavor to provide opportunities for undergraduate students who are interested in studying in the intertidal, marine, and terrestrial habitats. Students in my Botany class are monitoring diversity of plants in a constructed wetland behind the MSRI building. Students conducting independent-study projects have conducted surveys of invasive and native plants in terrestrial habitats, and have used GIS to map populations of mangroves and other plants. Jacksonville is fortunate to have a diversity of habitats for undergraduate students to investigate.

Research Partners

I currently collaborate with scientists in the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens and the National Park Service.

Service - Learning Projects

I am a strong believer in the value of service-learning to our students at JU. Community partners have included the National Park Service, Caroline Arms Apartments, Ft. Caroline Elementary School, Campus Kitchens, Tree Hill Nature Center, Arlington Community Garden, and the St. Johns Riverkeeper. Students have developed field guides of plant assemblages, management plans for the removal of invasive plants, surveys testing attitudes towards the St. Johns River, and workshops to teach participants about plants and gardening.


  • JU 101
  • BIOL 204 Botany
  • BIOL 312 Plant Taxonomy
  • BIOL 404 Ecology
  • BIOL 407WI Marine Botany
  • BLY 499 Biology Seminar
  • Special Topics: Conservation Ecology

Daniel A. McCarthy

Assistant Professor; Director, Marine Science Program


B.S., Jacksonville University
M.S., Florida State University
Ph.D. in Marine Ecology, King's College, University of London, England

Areas of Expertise

Invertebrate Zoology, Marine Ecology, and Reproduction of Marine Organisms

Bio and Research

Being raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, my father taught me to scuba dive when I was somewhere around 10 years old. He was the first to spark my interest in the marine environment, as we had numerous adventures out on Florida waters either fishing, snorkeling or scuba diving. It was during these early years that I knew that I wanted to one day become a marine biologist. In fact, some of the reefs that I study today are reefs that my father and I explored many (and I mean many) years ago.

Broadly, my research interests lie within the fields of marine benthic and larval ecology. I am especially interested in the ecology of early life histories of marine invertebrates, specifically the interactions of their reproductive processes with the environment. This includes how marine organisms enhance reproductive success by using environmental cues to spawn: 1) synchronously, and 2) at the optimal times for larvae to either survive in the plankton or find space to settle. Most of my recent research has focused on sessile organisms, such as sabellariid polychaetes, that exist on nearshore hard-bottom habitats off the Atlantic coast of Central and South Florida.

Particularly, I am intrigued by the idea that the sabellariid and associated hard-bottom reefs are important intermediate habitats for fish and possibly invertebrate species that make the transition from estuarine habitats to deeper reefs. Such information is not only ecologically interesting, but also useful to coastal managers who have to strike compromises between whether to allow proposed human activities (such as beach restoration) that may cause impacts to these reefs, and how to best mitigate and/or conserve these habitats.

While at JU, I have procured several research grants that have or will benefit students and enhance their learning experience at JU. For instance, I recently completed a funded project with Florida Sea Grant which assessed the importance of substratum composition and a novel marine by-product to enhance mitigation of essential fish habitats along the Florida coast. This grant included funding for several student assistants and work-study students. Additionally, I have three years of funding on a joint project with UNF which developed the 2008 and 2009 public state of the river reports, and will support a 2010 report. We hope to continue producing this report every year. This grant also includes substantial funding for several student assistants. Finally, I have two years of funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to study the effectiveness of artificial reefs that are mitigating for lost shallow nearshore reefs (during beach renourishment projects) along the east Florida coast. This grant also includes funding for several student assistants.

In terms of teaching at JU, I have tried to offer science courses that have challenged and educated students through various engaging classroom, lab and field activities. In all of the courses I teach, I strive to: 1) present important and current topics within each subject, 2) develop students' understanding of scientific theory and approach, 3) provide upper-level students with extended fieldtrips to South Florida, the Florida Keys, and the Bahamas for hands-on learning in a variety of marine environments, and 4) offer opportunities for research experience in both the laboratory and field. Because I feel it is important in their education and future success, I have placed an emphasis on providing students with real life research experiences. To this end, I try to be very active in obtaining research grants that give students numerous opportunities to participate in pertinent environmental research.

I currently serve as the Director of the Marine Science Program overseeing the management and maintenance of several labs, two boats and one aquaculture facility. In this role, I have also assisted in the design and concept of the new Marine Science Research Institute and the probable implementation of a Master of Marine Science graduate program at JU.

Finally, I am married to Heather McCarthy, and we have three beautiful daughters Jelena, Calypsa, and Marina. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family doing water-related activities such as fishing, boating, swimming and scuba diving. We also enjoy hanging at the house singing and strumming the guitar, as well as playing with our half-Great-Dane/half-blue-tick-hound dog named Hala.


  • MSC 310W Marine Ecology
  • MSC 304 Ichthyology
  • BLY 302 Invertebrate Zoology
  • MSC 101 Introduction to Marine Science
  • MSC 422 Coral Reef Ecology
  • ENV1 01 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • MSC 431 Oceanographic Techniques
  • BLY 314 Evolution
  • BLY 499 Biology Seminar

Anthony J.A. Ouellette

Assistant Professor


B.S., University of Central Florida.
Ph.D., University of Minnesota.

Areas of Expertise

Toxic Cyanobacteria, Molecular Microbiology, Biochemistry.

Bio and Research

Dr. Ouellette joined the Department of Biology and Marine Science at Jacksonville University during the summer of 2008. Before coming to JU, I was an assistant professor of biology at SUNY Oswego, and before that I was a postdoctoral associate in the Aquatic Microbial Ecology Research Lab of Dr. Steven Wilhelm.

Dr. Ouellette's research interests include cyanobacteria. Microcystis is a cyanobacterial genus that includes toxic and non-toxic members. Toxic members synthesize microcystin, a hepatotoxin that has many known structural variants. Toxic Microcystis are cosmopolitan and cause great health concern, particularly when they occur in drinking reservoirs or recreational areas. Furthermore, Microcystis can form large blooms, which can manifest as green scum floating on the water surface, which is unfortunately not uncommon in Florida, including the St. Johns River. Monitoring efforts largely focus on microscopic identification and toxin analysis. DNA detection methods are becoming quite popular for monitoring water bodies for harmful organisms due to their potential sensitivity, speed, and relative ease. I am interested in using molecular biology tools to investigate the distribution of Microcystis.


  • BIOL 170 Introduction to Ecology and Evolution
  • BIOL 221 Nutrition
  • BIOL 222 Microbiology for Health Professionals
  • BIOL 301 Microbiology

Gerard Pinto

Associate Research Scientist


Ph.D., Plymouth Polytechnic, Plymouth, England. Aquaculture, Marine Ecology, and Ecology and Life History of Manatees.
Ph.D. Auburn University, Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures, Alabama, U.S.A.
BS Plymouth University (formerly Plymouth Polytechnic), Fisheries Science, Plymouth, England, U.K.

Areas of Expertise

Fishery Science, Aquaculture, Manatee Conservation and Ecology, Seagrasses.

Bio and Research

Dr. Pinto is an Associate Research Scientist at the Marine Science Research Institute at Jacksonville University. Over the past decade, he helped to develop and implement State-approved Manatee Protection Plans for Duval and Clay counties, Florida. He is a consultant to the City of Jacksonville Waterways Commission and conducts research to monitor manatee populations in Northeast Florida.

Dr. Pinto has worked to raise public awareness about manatee issues through the Manatee Research Center Online (MARCO) web site, safe boating and speed zone advisory guides, educational seminars, TV and print media. He conducts aerial surveys and manages a manatee Geographic Information System (GIS) database of aerial sightings. He has conducted research in habitat mapping for manatees and gopher tortoises, water quality monitoring, ecosystem restoration, vessel traffic and compliance studies, near water surface acoustical studies, and manatee scar patterns. In addition, he has a background in fisheries and aquaculture and has conducted research, teaching or work on commercial fish production systems and marketing in the Caribbean, Kenya and the U.S. His future research interests include fisheries sampling and the impact of freshwater withdrawals, sea level rise and harbor deepening activities on the flora and fauna of the Lower St. Johns River Basin.

Jeremy Stalker

Assistant Professor, Marine Science


Ph.D., Geosciences, Florida International University
M.S., Geology and Geophysics, University of Montana
B.S., Geology, Michigan State University

Areas of Expertise

Hydrology, Stable isotope, ionic, and nutrient Geochemistry, Coastal Oceanography, Geophysics, Forensics

Bio and Research

I have taken a path of academics and professional work in my career, besides my academic degrees I have worked as a hydrologist for the United States Geological Survey and as a geophysical consultant in Southeastern Alaska. I grew up in Michigan, with yearly pilgrimages to the coast of Florida, and have lived and studied overseas. I let my curiosity of the natural and human world get the better of me and started studying geology and geochemistry.

My primary research interests are in hydrologic processes at terrestrial ocean margins, and issues of water scarcity and forensics. My research primarily focuses on the use of geochemistry and geophysical tools to elucidate the movement and timing of water masses and nutrients in estuaries, the coastal ocean, precipitation sources, groundwater, and terrestrial surface water systems.

The hydrologic systems are intimately linked with the ecology and ecosystems they interact with. Often hydrology and hydrologic limitations dictate the ecosystems present in an area, and with prolonged interaction the biota can in turn start to change the hydrologic dynamics of a system. My current active research includes hydrologic systems in the everglades and coastal wetlands of south Florida and the Florida Keys, the coastal estuaries of Mexico, drinking water access in Liberia, the complex anthropoginically altered systems in the western United States, and now the estuary in my backyard the St. Johns. I have collaborated with and received funding from state agencies such as the Florida Department of Environmental protection, and the South Florida Water Management District, as well as federal agencies like the USGS, NOAA, DOD, and the EPA.

My focus in geochemistry is the application of stable isotopes (O,H,S,N,C,Sr) and ionic constituents (Ca,Fe,Mg,Ba,Si) as tracers in hydrologic systems. These tracers occur in unique concentrations and ratios in water from different sources, when applied they can answer numerous questions about the timing and spatial importance of each source. This water balance can be applied to the movement of nutrients in a system, and can be especially important when working in complex, hard to sample systems. Beyond the ecosystems and hydrologic applications, I have been working on using isotopes to determine sources of water in municipal tap systems in places like the southwestern United States, where a significant portion of water is imported through aqueduct systems. I am also active in applying isotopes in forensics to determine animal migratory patterns, human geolocation, and archeological applications of past human settlement and migration.

I would love to get both undergraduate and graduate students involved in research, I benefited greatly from field and laboratory research interaction as both an undergraduate and graduate, it fed my interest as a scientist and provided very valuable experience for my next steps in employment and graduate studies.


  • MSC 101 Introductory Marine Sciences
  • MSC 690 Climate Change and the Oceans


John N. Heine

Research Associate


B.S., University of California at Irvine
M.S., California State University

Areas of Expertise

Marine Science, Phycology, and Scientific Scuba Diving

Bio and Research

I am a marine ecologist mainly interested in algal ecology, kelp forest ecology, and polar biology. I have a Bachelor's degree from the University of California and a Master's degree from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories of the California State University.

I have worked on a variety of research topics, such as algal productivity, chemical defense in invertebrates, telemetry of rockfishes and sharks, the ecology of deep-water marine algae, algal recruitment, rhodoliths, and coastal maritime hammock ecology.

I have worked as a university Diving Safety Officer for many years, training scientific research divers. I have authored a number of diving textbooks, including Scientific Blue-Water Diving, NAUI Master Scuba Diver, Scientific Diving Techniques: A Practical Guide for the Research Diver, and Cold Water Diving: A Guide to Ice Diving. I am a NAUI diving instructor and instructor trainer, and I have served as the president of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences.​


A. Quinton White, Jr.

Executive Director, Marine Science Research Institute; Professor of Biology and Marine Science


BS l968, N. C. Wesleyan College, Biology
MS l972, University of Virginia, Biology
Ph.D. l976, University of South Carolina, Biology

Areas of Expertise

Marine Ecology and Physiology. Effects of pollutants on behavior and physiology. Comparative Physiology and Behavior of Invertebrates: Manatee Behavior and Ecology. Kingfish Population Ecology

Bio and Research

Born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia, joined the faculty at Jacksonville University in 1976, in 1978, established the major in marine science at JU and served as chair of the Department of Biology and Marine Science from 1991-94. Chaired of the Division of Science and Mathematics from 1994 to 2000. In September 2000, appointed Interim Dean College of Arts and Sciences. August 2008, involved in building the new state of art LEED certified Marine Science Research Institute. Active in marine science education, having received National Science Foundation grants to conduct Marine Science Workshops for Teachers and for Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement. I have been active in research concerning the St. Johns River and the impact of man on marine ecosystems. My marine science research has taken me to China, South America, the Galapagos Islands, the Bahamas and Australia. While most of my research is done on the surface of the sea, I have been down to 1,500 feet in the Johnson-Sea Link submersible to do research on deep sea crabs. I have written over 35 research and technical papers or reports and received numerous grants and contracts to support marine research at JU. Currently, I am conducting research on manatees, king mackerel and the St. Johns River.

I am married to Dr. Susan Hite White, a pediatrician who practices in Mandarin. We have a 14 year-old son, A. Quinton White, III, a 11 year-old daughter, Stephanie Michelle White and an 9 year-old son, Garrett Alexander White. They are active at Southside United Methodist.

In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, gardening, scuba diving, golf and racquetball, along with reading and just plain relaxing.