I received my B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1996 with a triple major in Biology, Environmental Science and Economics. I continued at UVA and received a M.S. in Environmental Science with a thesis focused on coastal fish assemblages on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I received my Ph.D. under Kirk Winemiller at Texas A&M in 2004 with a dissertation focused on food webs of a tropical floodplain river in Venezuela. I also spent two years as the Donnelley Environmental Fellow at Yale University in David Post's lab. I started at FIU in 2006 as an assistant professor.
Craig A. Layman
Ph.D. Students & Candidates
Stephanie Archer, Ph.D. student
I received my B.S. in Ecology from the University of Georgia in 2004 and my M.S. in Ecology from Utah State University in 2009 with a thesis focused on the behavioral ecology of predator avoidance in the June sucker, Chasmistes liorus. My interests lay in the intersection between community and ecosystem ecology, particularly how community structure affects nutrient availability and in turn how nutrient availability drives community structure. As a member of the Layman lab I am developing a project that will investigate the role of sponges in nutrient cycling as well as the factors controlling sponge community composition in nearshore back-reef ecosystems such as seagrass beds and hard bottom habitats.
Sean Giery, Ph.D. Student
Sean is developing a project on how anthropogenic alterations of coastal ecosystems may alter the mate signaling system in Gambusia mosquitofish. Sean has a broad interest base that sweeps from evolutionary ecology to the philosophy of science.
Zack Jud, Ph.D. Student
After completing my B.S. in Biology at the University of Scranton (Scranton, PA), I entered the M.S. program in Biology at Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, FL), working under the guidance of Dr. Jon Shenker. For my M.S. thesis, I examined the diets of juvenile tarpon in east-central Florida’s man-made mosquito control impoundment marshes to determine how anthropogenic disturbance affected feeding and prey selection (paper pdf).
In the fall of 2008, I began my doctoral work under Dr. Layman at FIU. My research in the Layman Lab focuses on anthropogenic influences in estuaries and coastal river systems. The bulk my work is carried out in the Loxahatchee River Estuary, near Jupiter, FL. I study a diverse variety of human interactions in this system, including the effects of anthropogenically altered freshwater inflow on common snook movements, the assembly of benthic infaunal communities following large- and small-scale oyster reef restoration projects, and the potential impacts of invasive species on estuarine ecosystems. Most recently, I documented the first estuarine intrusion of invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish in the western Atlantic and Caribbean (paper pdf).
Elizabeth Stoner, Ph.D. Student
I received my B.A. in Environmental Science with a concentration in biology with honors from Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY in 2008. During my time in school, I studied in South Caicos, TCI at the Marine Resources Center with the School for Field Studies, and conducted independent research on the effects of anthropogenic nutrient effluent on the diversity and abundance of mangrove organisms. For my senior thesis, I evaluated whether sub-lethal effects of copper sulfate impacted the foraging behavior and diet of bluegill sunfish in upstate New York. For my Ph.D work, I am continuing my exploration of the effects of human-mediated disturbances on ecosystems. Specifically, I am evaluating how anthropogenic nutrient loading may drive 'blooms' of the epibenthic native invader, Cassiopea jellyfish, and how these animals may affect benthic community structure and ecosystem function of seagrass habitats. My research takes place on Abaco Island, Bahamas under the direction of Dr. Craig Layman at Florida International University.
I received my B.S. from Eckerd College in 2006 with majors in Marine Science and Spanish. From 2006-2007, I studied back-reef fish communities of the Mexican Caribbean funded by a Fulbright grant, working out of the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados del I.P.N. I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at F.I.U. under the direction of Dr. Craig Layman. My primary research interests lie in the field of landscape ecology and understanding the ecological consequences of environmental variation. Specifically, I am interested in how human alterations to landscapes affect structure and function at multiple levels of ecological organization (e.g., individual, population, community and ecosystem).
Undergraduate Researchers & Laboratory Assistants
Chrisitina Acevedo, Undergraduate Researcher
Christina is studying the trophic ecology of juvenile grunts, including how it is affected by density dependence and aspects of seascape ecology.
Joey Peters, Undergraduate Researcher
I have broad interests in the application of ecology and conservation biology. More specifically, I am interested in the interface between terrestrial and marine systems and how human alteration of connectivity affects ecosystem function, particularly in urban and developing regions. I have done research in Abaco, Bahamas on the impacts of ecosystem fragmentation in tidal creeks. Currently, I am working on my undergraduate thesis evaluating the difference in fish assemblages and community structure of mangrove and rip rap rock ecosystems.
Serina Sebilian, Undergraduate Researcher
Serina is fascinated by how humans are altering coastal ecosystems. She is currently focused on the impacts of nutrient loading on the density of zooxanthellae in Cassiopea jellyfish tissues.
Martha Zapata, Undergraduate Researcher
Intrigued by the significance of landscape context on animal behavior, I am interested in the nocturnal foraging of Haemulidae spp. in seagrass beds – particularly how seagrass density and distance could mediate fish condition, and looking at the associated day-night variation in community structure on patch reefs
David Riera, Laboratory Assistant
I received my A.A. from Miami Dade College in 2011 in Biology and while continuing at MDC I completed an A.S. in Biotechnology with certifications in Industrial engineering. For two years I was apart of an undergraduate research collaborative program in Molecular Biology and Bio-informatics at Miami Dade's Microbiology and Biotechnology Lab under Juan Morata. I started at Florida International University in the Fall of 2011 to finish my B.S. as a double major in Marine Biology and Environmental Science with a minor in Chemistry. Recently I became the Lab Manager for Dr. Layman's Lab while assisting with sorting and differentiating organisms of a long term sampling oyster reef monitoring program in the Loxahatchee River system.
Former Lab Members:
- Caroline Peyer, Ph.D.
Congratulations Caroline! Caroline's dissertation focused on the ecology of nearshore fishes in The Bahamas, with a specific interest in individual specialization of these species.
- Márcio S. Araújo, Post-doctoral Researcher
Marcio is a new faculty member at Universidade Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, Brazil. Congratulations Marcio!
- Dinorah Chacin
Dinorah helped on numerous projects in the lab, and has a cool upcoming paper on bird assemblages across wetland sites in The Bahamas. She has joined Chris Stallings lab at USF.
- Vanessa Haley, M.S. Student
Vanessa finished her M.S. in fall 2009. She completed a fascinating project on the movements of bonefish (Albula vulpes) to presumed spawning sites on Andros Island, Bahamas. Her work will be critical in the design of new Marine Protected Areas on Andros.
- Brian Langerhans
North Carolina State University
- David Post
- Deron Burkepile
Florida International University
- Albrey Arrington & Bud Howard
Loxahatchee River District
- Joel Fodrie
University of North Carolina
- John Bruno
University of North Carolina
- Jon Grabowski
- Kirk Winemiller
Professor, Texas A&M University
- Amy Rosemond
Professor, University of Georgia
- Jake Allgeier
PhD candidate, University of Georgia
- Carmen Montaña
Texas A&M University
- Friends of the Environment
based on Abaco Island, The Bahamas
- Bahamas National Trust
Manages Bahamian National Parks
- The Nature Conservancy
Link to TNC's Bahamas page
- The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF)
- The Andros Conservancy and Trust
- Loxahatchee River District
- Aaron Adams and The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust