Dr. Just Cebrian

Dr. Just Cebrian

Senior Marine Scientist III

Professor, University of South Alabama Ph.D., 1996 Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (Spain)

Bio

Dr. Just Cebrian has studied coastal ecosystems for over 20 years.  He did his doctorate work on coastal ecosystems of the Mediterranean coast, with an emphasis on seagrass beds.  During his post-doc years in New England (USA), he expanded his work to other types of coastal systems, such as sediment flats and marshes, as well as shifting the focus to the impacts that humans have on the functioning of coastal systems. He has continued to work on these issues during his tenure at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (Alabama, USA), in particular with research aimed at understanding coastal system resiliency and informing management policies. Throughout his career Dr. Cebrian has also studied how coastal ecosystems compare with terrestrial ones in a number of functional metrics, including trophic processes and energy flow. He has thus far authored ca. 120 publications on these topics.

Research Interest

  • Coastal Ecosystem Science
  • Human Impacts on Coastal Ecosystems
  • Coastal Resiliency and Management
  • Aquatic-Terrestrial Comparative Ecology

Publications

Who We Are

The world is changing and is bound to continue to change.  At the heart of this change are us. We humans impact the environment with numerous activities.  One of the most affected environments are coastal systems, since they often concentrate high human populations.  We have a duty to manage these impacts with one clear goal in mind: enhance the resiliency of coastal systems to allow for environmentally and economically-sustainable development and resource utilization.

Our lab does research aimed at improving our understanding of coastal environmental resiliency. We study human impacts on the functioning and ecosystem services of coastal systems.  In doing this, we reach out to managers and regulators to help develop policies of sustainable development. Our research is interdisciplinary, combining diverse expertise and approaches, and strives to help provide real solutions to real problems.

Current Personnel

Joshua Goff, Senior Technician/Lab Manager

After graduating with my BS from the University of South Alabama in 2005, I came to work as an intern at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. My primary job is to manage our current projects and databases while supervising/assisting graduate students with their work. While I do not have a specific topic on which I research, I am very interested in utilizing satellite and aerial based mapping products to conduct analyses of SAV, mashes, and shoreline movement over large spatial scales. Learning about these products has shown that with the right tools and knowledge, a small team of researchers can effectively manage large areas of the coast while advising academic, public, and private sector parties using data that is continuously updated and analyzed.

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley McDonald, PhD candidate

As a coastal ecologist, my research and field experience has centered on the natural and anthropogenically induced stressors affecting the communities that thrive where the land’s edge meets the sea. My interests lie with how certain marsh and seagrass species’ individual clones respond to natural stressors and how these responses are propagated up the rhizomally-connected hierarchy to affect a coastal community in its entirety. Furthermore, the management of these vital communities is shifting due to predictions for future climate change scenarios that will add further stressors and lead to changes in community behavior. My research goals are to determine the current and future dominant stressors for these communities, and with this knowledge be able to predict how a community may respond so that a personalized management tactic can be instituted.

 

 

 

 

Caitlin Wessel, PhD student

Before coming to Dauphin Island to begin work on my PhD, I received my Master’s degree from Coastal Carolina after which I spent two years teaching.  My current research focuses on marine debris in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, specifically how abundance and distribution affects the environment, human health, and the economy.  To advance this area of study, I hope to partner with other agencies to explore and refine programs that track marine debris along the barrier island, quantify associated pollutants, and create tools to aid in the removal from the ecosystem.

 

 

 

 

 

Aaron Macy, PhD student

I received my B.S. in Oceanography from Florida Tech in fall 2011, and after a few field research positions in the Bering Sea, Shark Bay (W. Australia), and Dauphin Island, I decided how far I wanted to go down the rabbit hole. As of fall 2013, I am pursuing a Ph. D. in marine sciences. My research involves the range expansion of black mangrove into more northern locations with global climate change. My primary interest lies in ecosystem engineering species like mangroves that dramatically alter the physiochemical structure of their environment and what interactions arise between their community and connected ecosystems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura West, PhD student

I earned my B.S. in Biology from Gordon State College before coming to the Cebrian lab in fall 2014. I am interested in the dynamics of the Gulf’s rich coastal ecosystems, especially seagrass beds and marshes, and how their roles and services differ across the northern
Gulf of Mexico. I chose this lab because of its central tenets: that life is about growth and resiliency, and keeping yourself open to opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamie Amato, MS student

I am from New Orleans, Louisiana, and I received my BS in Natural Resource Ecology and Management from Louisiana State University in Spring of 2016. I am currently pursuing my MS degree researching the benefits of living shorelines. I will be working closely with private landowners and state agencies to test the efficacy of these shorelines and to promote their design. I am very interested in discovering different techniques used to create coastal habitat. I enjoy seeing the progress that comes out of these restoration projects over time and the ecosystem services that they provide. I am striving to eventually have a career in coastal restoration by building and researching these essential environments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erin Cox, Post Doctoral Researcher

I am a post-doctoral researcher. I study human impacts on coastal benthic communities where marine plants are dominant. Much of my work examines how the environment and macrophyte physiology influences species interactions at the community level. I received my
PhD in 2011 from the University of Hawaii. Prior to my arrival at Dauphin Island, I was a researcher on project eFOCE (European Free Ocean Carbon Dioxide Enrichment, efoce.eu) which determined in situ the impact of ocean acidification on seagrass meadows in the Mediterranean Sea. I also have expertise on the impacts of storm drain runoff, elevated temperature, and high irradiance on algal physiology and tropical, intertidal reef ecology. My current project at the Sea Lab will focus on quantifying the primary productivity of artificial reefs and determine how much productivity is transferred to higher trophic levels to support fish communities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interns:

Eli Waddel

Past Personnel

Graduate Students

  • Rachel Gamble, MS in Marine Science (University of South Alabama), 2014.  Fish and macroinvertebrate communities in shallow coastal waters of the Northern Gulf of Mexico:  a comparison among lagoons with varying seagrass cover
  • Eric Sparks, PhD in Marine Science (University of South Alabama), 2014.  Restoration effectiveness, nutrient filtration, and grazing in Juncus roemerianus (black needlesrush) marshes
  • Bart Christiaen, PhD in Marine Science (University of South Alabama), 2013.  Natural and human drivers of seagrass ecosystems:  detection, impact, and restoration
  • Kate Sheehan, MS in Marine Science (University of South Alabama), 2008. Associations between environmental factors and grass shrimp parasites in coastal Alabama.
  • Andrea Anton, MS in Marine Sciences (University of South Alabama), 2007. The effects of eutrofication on the ecosystem services provided by seagrass meadows
  • Jason Stutes, Ph.D. in Marine Sciences (University of South Alabama), 2007. Seagrass (Halodule wrightii) communities of the Northwest Gulf of Mexico: Differences in production dynamics and primary consumption across a gradient of human impact
  • Amy Hunter, Ph.D. in Marine Sciences (University of Alabama), 2005. Effects of human induced nutrient enrichment (anthropogenic eutrophication) on the carbon cycle of marshes dominated by black needlerush, Juncus roemerianus.
  • Adrienne L. Dunsmuir (now A. L. Stutes), MS in Marine Sciences (University of South Alabama), 2004. Effects of simulated anthropogenic eutrophication on the primary production and metabolism of estuarine microphytobenthic community
  • Alina A. Corcoran, MS in Biology (University of Alabama), 2004. The effects of ultraviolet-B radiation and sediment nutrient enrichment on benthic microalgal communities in shallow coastal lagoons of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.

Post Docs

  • Celine Lafabrie, University of Corsica, 2007-2009
  • Yushun Chen, West Virginia University, 2009
  • Ryan Moody, U. of South Alabama, 2009-2012
  • Glenn Miller,  U. of South Alabama, 2011-2012
  • Diana Montemayor, U. Mar del Plata, 2013

REU Program Students

  • Jennifer Himmelstein: 2007 - University of Maryland. The influence of the trematode parasite Microphallus turgidus on the predator avoidance, predator choice, and digestion of the common grass shrimp Palaemonetes pugio.
  • Kelsey Pickard: 2006 - Colorado College. Effects of short-term shading and sediment fertilization on seagrass growth and density.
  • Amy Adcox: 2004 - University of South Florida. Flowering dynamics in two Thalassia testudinum populations.
  • Dustin Addis: 2003 - Auburn University. The effects UVB radiation on benthic microalgae
  • Nicole Morris: 2003- Jacksonville State University. The effects of nutrient additions on the growth dynamics of two salt pan species, Distichlis spicata and Salicornia bigelovii, in coastal Alabama
  • Todd Clardy: 2001- Troy University. The effects of short-term fertilization and shading on shoalgrass production. 
  • Glenn Miller: 2000 - University of Alabama. The effects of seagrass loss on associated fish populations

Interns and Technicians

  • Joshua Hulsey (Intern) 2014
  • Beth Tuttle (HS Intern) 2012, 2013
  • Abby Lunstrum (Intern) 2013
  • Matt Murray (Intern) 2012
  • Maggie Cooper (HS Intern) 2012
  • Caitlin Linder (Intern) 2011-2012
  • Justin McDonald (Intern/Tech) 2011-2012
  • Jessica Gulbranson (FIT Tech) 2011-2012
  • Aaron Macy (FIT Tech) 2011-12
  • Jelani Reynolds (FIT Tech) 2011-2012
  • Jennifer Hemphill (FIT Tech) 2011-2012
  • Amy Langston (Intern) 2011
  • Hannah Phillips (Intern) 2011
  • Lauren Schumacher (Intern/Tech) 2011-2012
  • Matt Metcaf (Intern) 2011
  • Katherine Hovanes (Intern) 2010
  • Lindsay Biermann (DISL/FIT Tech) 2010-2011
  • Sara Kerner (DISL/FIT Tech) 2010-2011
  • Jenessa Kay (Technician) 2010-2011
  • Kellen Watson (Intern) 2010
  • Jason Howard (Intern) 2010
  • Rachel Gamble (Fall Intern)2009
  • Amber Schat (Summer Intern) 2009
  • Loren Marino (Intern) 2008-2009
  • Lynn Moore (Intern/Technician) 2008-2010
  • Ashley McDonald (Fall Intern) 2008
  • Sybil Glenos (Summer Intern) 2008
  • Matthew Merrill (High School Intern) 2008
  • Nate Lemoine (Exxon Intern) 2007 
  • David "Paddy" Patterson (Full-time Tech) 2004-2005 
  • Mary-Elizabeth "Mairi" Miller (Full-time Tech) 2004-2005 
  • Katy Blankenhorn: (Part-time Tech) 2004
  • Craig Newton: (Part-time Tech) 2001-2002 
  • Beth Klees: (Exxon Intern and Part-Time Tech) 2002
  • Cassius Fishbein (High School Intern) 2002, 2003 
  • Reid Carter (High School Intern) 2003 
  • Chris Legget (High School Intern) 2003 
  • Bug Illiff (High School Intern)2001

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