Areas of Expertise
Research Interests: Marine Mammology
Teaching Responsibilities include: Human Anatomy & Physiology I & II, Marine Mammal Biology
B.S. (Biology) University of Central Florida (2000)
M.S. (Biology) University of Alaska Anchorage (2004)
Ph.D. (Animal Science) University of Connecticut (2008)
Joined UNF faculty in 2010
Research in my lab examines comparative aspects of growth physiology to evaluate how species use differential growth strategies to cope with their environment and maximize their survival potential. I am interested in how different early life history strategies, such as maternal investment, affect offspring growth and survival. Much of my research has investigated marine mammal species because they are a diverse taxa with distinctive life history traits, including varied periods of maternal investment and extremes in growth rate, which are influenced by the dynamic environments in which they live.
This research is accomplished through collaborations with domestic and international scientists across the United States, Russia, and Canada including collaborators at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, Alaska SeaLife Center, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, The Marine Mammal Center, National Marine Mammal Laboratory, and the Vancouver Aquarium.
To evaluate how species use differential growth strategies to maximize their survival potential my lab takes an interdisciplinary approach that integrates investigation of the endocrine response of an organism to changes in nutrition at four levels of organization: (1) molecular and cellular regulation of growth; (2) tissue specific growth response; (3) individual organism growth, development, and survival; and (4) population health and survival.
Endocrine Regulation of Inter- and Intra-Species Differences in Growth
The somatotropic axis, including growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGF binding proteins, is a bridge between growth physiology, sex, developmental age and nutritional status in domestic animals. However, the importance of the somatotropic axis in growth and development of marine mammals has not been previously explored. Furthermore, developmental changes in the somatotropic axis in species that preferentially deposit lipid during periods of rapid growth, such as pinnipeds, have not been studied. Marine mammals exhibit diverse maternal strategies and life history patterns. For example, Steller sea lions have long periods of maternal dependence (≥1 year), while harbor seals have short lactation periods (4 to 6 weeks). Steller sea lions are sexually dimorphic, while harbor seals are not. Intertwined with age, life history strategy, and sexual dimorphism is the impact of nutrient availability, including the transition from dependence on milk to independent foraging, which can impact growth rate and survival. Comparison of the hormonal regulation of growth and the impact of nutrient availability in species with distinct developmental patterns will enhance our understanding of the link between physiology, nutrition and life history of diverse species.
Effect of Nutritional Stress on Population Health and Survival
Global climate change shifts the availability of food resources accessible for wildlife, often making food more difficult to find. Nutritional stress in wild populations, such as reduced quantity or quality of food, in extreme cases, may lead directly to emaciation and death. However, natural or anthropogenic changes in prey availability can also result in decreased growth making animals vulnerable to disease and predation. Although not a direct effect, reduced growth can also have substantial impacts on survival and population trends. Monitoring nutritional status of populations of marine mammals is essential to maintaining healthy sustainable populations and minimizing anthropogenic effects on population trends. My laboratory is working to develop a ‘predictive index’ that can be used to evaluate nutritional status of populations of marine mammals. This index will provide managers responsible for conservation of wildlife a useful tool to monitor nutritional status of wild populations. As environments are continually modified due to global climate change, study of organismal response to environmental perturbations that may influence survival are critically important.
Publications & Presentations
Mazzaro, L.M., J.P. Richmond, M. Kluever, J. Morgan, J.L. Dunn, S.A. Zinn, E.A. Koutsos. 2011. Evaluation of an alternative to feeding whole frozen fish in Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas). Zoo Biology. 30: 32-51.
Richmond, J.P., T. Jeanniard du Dot, D.A.S. Rosen, S.A. Zinn. 2010. Seasonal influence on the response of the somatotropic axis to nutrient restriction and re-alimentation in captive Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). Journal of Experimental Zoology. 313A:144-156. *Cover Photo
Richmond, J.P., T. Norris, S.A. Zinn. 2010. Re-alimentation in harbor seal pups: Effects on the somatotropic axis and growth rate. General and Comparative Endocrinology. 165: 286-292.
Richmond, J.P. and S.A. Zinn. 2009. Validation of radioimmunoassays (RIA) for growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I in phocid, otariid, and cetacean species. Aquatic Mammals. 35(1):19-31.
Jeanniard du Dot, T., D.A.S. Rosen, J.P. Richmond, S.A. Zinn, A.S. Kitaysky, A.W. Trites. 2009. Changes in glucocorticoid, IGF-I, and thyroid hormones as indicators of nutritional stress and subsequent re-feeding in Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A. 152(4): 524-534.
Richmond, J.P., J. Skinner, J. Gilbert, L.M. Mazzaro, S.A. Zinn. 2008. Comparison of the Somatotropic Axis in Free-ranging and Rehabilitated Harbor Seal Pups (Phoca vitulina). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 39(3):342-348.
Richmond, J.P., J.M. Burns, L.D. Rea. 2006. Ontogeny of total body oxygen stores and aerobic dive potential in Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology. 176:535-545.
Richmond, J.P., J.M. Burns, L.D. Rea, K. Mashburn. 2005. Postnatal ontogeny of Erythropoietin and hematology in free-ranging Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). General and Comparative Endocrinology. 141: 240-247.
Burns, J.M., C.A. Clark, J.P. Richmond. 2004. The impact of lactation strategy on physiological development of juvenile marine mammals: implications for the transition to independent foraging. International Congress Series. 1275: 341-350.