Phone: (904) 620-1936
Office: Building 59, Room 3308
Aquatic microbial ecology, cyanobacterial systematics, pshycology
Areas of Expertise
aquatic ecology, biology, coastal biology, algae, ecosystems
B.S. John Carroll University (1995)
M.S. Kent State University (1998)
Ph.D. Ohio University (2002)
My research interests fall into two main categories: aquatic ecology and systematics, both of which deal largely with algae. The algae are a polyphyletic assemblage that are the primary producers in most aquatic ecosystems. A great group of organisms, they serve as the basis of myriad aquatic ecosystems. Unfortunately, they have received a lot of publicity in the last decade as eutrophication has led to greater numbers of algal blooms, with concurrent deleterious ecosystem level problems.
My lab has undertaken several projects to understand and quantify how algal communities change in response to different environmental parameters. We are currently working to elucidate the role of nutrient loads in influencing the epiphytic algal community. Further, we are working on a collaborative project to examine the role of native riparian vegetation as a method of ameliorating nutrient loads into tributaries of the St. Johns River.
Second, my lab is very interested in cyanobacterial systematics (untangling evolutionary relationships). To that end we have a collected cyanobacterial strains from around the world and employ morphological (cell dimensions, divisions, ultra-structure, folding patterns of the 16-23S ITS regions), ecological and molecular (sequencing of the 16S rDNA gene, ITS regions) data sets to elucidate phylogenetic relationships.
We have also recently started several projects using cyanophages (viruses which infect cyanobacteria). We are examining the distribution and occurrence of freshwater cyanophages, what taxonomic groups are present during and after bloom events, the genetic make up of the phages, and how they impact the cyanobacterial community.
Thus, if you are interested in all things algal or aquatic, we may be the lab to contemplate…
Butler, J.A and G.L. Heinrich. 2013. Distribution of the ornate diamondback terrapin in the Big Bend region of Florida. Southeastern Naturalist 12:552-567.
Clark, K., K. Savick, and J.A. Butler, 2012. Babesia microti in rodents and raccoons in northeast Florida. Journal of Parasitology.
Butler, J.A., G.L. Heinrich, and M.L. Mitchell. 2012. Diet of the Carolina diamondback terrapin in northeastern Florida. Chelonian Conservation Biology 11:124-128.
Munscher, E.C., E.H. Kuhns, C.A. Cox, and J.A. Butler. 2012. Decreased nest mortality for the Carolina diamondback terrapin following removal of raccoons from a nesting beach. Herpetological Conservation Biology 7:167-184.