College of Charleston Department of Biology

College of Charleston Department of Biology


Students in Dr. Courtney Murren's Plant Ecology Lab were using the new LiCor 6800 in the field for the first time at Stono Preserve last week. This instrument is the field standard for environmental measurements and in plant biology specifically.

According to Dr. Murren, "They were so excited to have the opportunity to learn about the instrument, its capabilities in environmental science, and to add to their resume of skills/instruments they've learned in CofC biology."

College of Charleston Department of Biology
What are our SSM Cougars up to? Well, if you’re Christian Simmons, a senior marine biology student on the pre-vet track, you are dissecting white muscle from a weakfish and homogenizing the tissue through centrifugation in our General and Comparative Physiology Lab! The purpose of their experiment is to look at different enzyme markers for metabolic activity in marine organisms and to do so they’ve got to get down and dirty in the lab.
College of Charleston Department of Biology
If anyone knows of anyone who would be interested in these guys, please contact College of Charleston Department of Biology.
Bailey Fallon ('20, Marine Biology) and Dr. Chris Freeman from the College of Charleston Department of Biology recently published their work on microplastics and sponges in PeerJ:

Bailey (pictured below) and Chris began work on this project in the Fall of 2018. In 2019, they collected samples at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panamá. From fall 2019 to the present they analyzed the samples and prepared the manuscript. Congrats!
President's List honoree Casey O'Brien is a rising sophomore College of Charleston Department of Biology major and Spanish minor. He enjoys going to the beach, surfing, and skateboarding. After graduating from CofC, he would like to continue studying biology and hopes to work in healthcare someday.

President's List honoree Ben Hyland ('23) is a pre-med student majoring in biology. Last year, Ben joined the pre-health society of Alpha Epsilon Delta. He credits CofC AED with helping him find his job as a Mobility Technician at MUSC this summer. According to Ben, "But what I especially admire about my experience at CofC thus far is the balance between passionately pursuing a career and forging bonds with other students – in my case, brothers at Sigma Nu. It’s a great and diverse collection of men that I hope to call friends for a lifetime."
College of Charleston Department of Biology
President's List honoree Olivia Johnson is a biology major with a minor in psychology from Lee, Massachusetts. During her senior year of high school, Olivia became a certified nurse's assistant and is now working as a CNA in the hospital this summer. In December 2021, she will be joining Vida Volunteer with CofC and traveling to Costa Rica to volunteer at their medical clinics. In addition to being a full-time CofC student, Olivia will be attending the accelerated nursing program at the Medical University of South Carolina during her junior year. After graduation, she plans to become a Pediatric Nurse.
College of Charleston Department of Biology
College of Charleston Department of Psychology
Hey ! I have opportunity for Paid Internship, from freshmen to recent graduates. You'll be dealing with Horsehoecrab that has a blueblood which contains important immune cells that are exceptionally sensitive to toxic bacteria. These crab are used in different vaccines and other medical purposes.

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Kelsey Yetsko earned a B.A. in Marine Biology from CofC in 2014. After graduating from CofC, she started a Masters program at the University of North Florida in 2015, where she focused on studying the genetic basis behind thermal tolerance in the threatened staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) found in the Florida Keys (paper:

Kelsey earned an M.S. in Biology in 2018 and started a laboratory technician position at the University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience. There, she analysed DNA and RNA sequence data for their Sea Turtle Hospital to better understand the sea turtle disease fibropapillomatosis, which is a disease associated with a herpesvirus that results in cancerous tumors and mainly affects juvenile green sea turtles in coastal tropical and subtropical regions (paper:

While finishing up some data analysis from her time with the Whitney Sea Turtle Hospital, Kelsey started a Ph.D. program in August 2020 at Florida International University in the Environmental Epigenetics Lab (funded by a Presidential Fellowship). At FIU, Kelsey will be studying epigenetic mechanisms (or how the DNA is packaged and gene expression regulated) in corals to better understand how they respond to environmental changes and interact with their symbiotic algae.

College of Charleston Department of Biology
Grice Marine Lab
College of Charleston Alumni
Join us today at noon for a Darwin Week and College of Charleston Department of Biology Seminar:

"Molecular Adaptation to Environmental Stress: Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Solutions." George Somero, Stanford University. 12pm.
President's List honoree Devin Leigh is a College of Charleston Department of Biology major from Loris, SC. He attended the Academy for the Arts, Science, and Technology in Myrtle Beach and graduated from their pre-med major. Upon graduation from CofC, Devin hopes to attend MUSC to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.
President's List honoree Kahea Willm is a College of Charleston Department of Biology major who plans to go to PA school after graduation. She joined Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Professional Health Honor Society (CofC AED) during her freshman year and is now on the executive board as a fundraising chair.

Kahea participated in the SCRUBS Mentoring Program at Roper St. Francis, which allowed her to spend a semester shadowing doctors, nurses, PAs, and various other health professionals. Kahea and a friend started a fundraiser, called CofC 4 C.A.R.E.S, where they collaborated with local businesses to raise over $500 for the MUSC CARES Free Clinic.

Kahea also completed the EMT course hosted by Lowcountry EMS and CofC, which she said is a great learning experience for those interested in medicine. Recently, she began a job at Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery as a medical assistant.

Welcome to the Biology Department at the College of Charleston! The department offers a B.S. or B.A. in Biology, B.S. in Marine Biology, and an M.S.

in Marine Biology. The department excels at promoting undergraduate and graduate research and has long had an excellent reputation for mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, having received a commendation of excellence from the South Carolina Commission of Higher Education in 1998. About 75 Biology and Marine Biology students participate in undergraduate research each year. Many of these s

Operating as usual


See the newest NOAA press release ( highlighting research in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument by College of Charleston Associate Professor Dr. Heather Spalding (Biology Dept), graduate student Ian Rolfe (GMPB), former graduate student Taylor Williams (GPMB), and colleagues.

Ian Rolfe assisted with experiments to validate best management practices. Taylor Williams is now a doctoral student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and studying the nuisance alga for her dissertation research.

That's Dr. Spalding extracting water samples from algal mats in the video!

Many thanks to the College of Charleston American Academy of Underwater Sciences Scientific Diving Program and Diving Safety Officer Steve Broadhurst. This research would not have been possible without the support of this scientific diving program.


*REPOST* its todayyyy come by for a coffee and donut break 😁🍩☕
ssm .cofc

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 08/25/2023

Watch out for the bug catchers! 🪲🐝
Today at you might cross paths with one as Dr. Brian Scholtens takes his BIOL 338 Entomology Lab students on a field trip to catch 'em all 😜 and learn about insect identification, structures and functions.
If you've spent any time around there, you know we have plenty...

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 08/07/2023

As also shared on page, we would also love to highlight the recent trip one of our marine biology graduate students Hannah Linde took aboard the R/V Point Sur research vessel, using remotely operated vehicles (ROV) to do transects and collect mesophotic octocoral samples in the northern Gulf of Mexico! 🤩🐠
These types of research opportunities are possible by collaborations between institutions like , , , and by the College, and so many more!

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 07/31/2023

Six undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Charleston recently presented their research at the Phycological Society of America conference in Rhode Island (July 2023) with Dr. Heather Spalding. They did a fantastic job with their oral and poster presentations! GPMB (Grad Program in Marine Biology/Grice Marine Lab) student Ray Radick won the Ralph Lewin award for Best Student Poster.

Due to the generosity of College of Charleston School of Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering and the College of Charleston Department of Biology, they were also able to participate in the algal fieldtrips to collect, press, and identify macroalgae from Rhode Island.

Biology Professor Is One of a Kind 07/26/2023

Associate Professor Renaud Geslain talks about molecular biology, skateboarding and tattoos in the 2023 Summer Edition of CofC Magazine.

Biology Professor Is One of a Kind There are so many ways to see the world – so many perspectives to consider. That’s why Renaud Geslain likes to keep his point of view fresh, to understand things from different vantage points. Because, when you do, you begin to see a whole new realm of possibility.

Alumnus Does Biting Research 07/25/2023

Did somebody say shark week? 🦈😍
We love sharks at College of Charleston Department of Biology, which is why we love that alumnus Bryan Frazier ’00 (M.S. ’13) is studying our local species, from their behavior to their diets.
“A lot of people fear what they cannot see,” he says.
Learn more about sharks and Frazier's work:

Alumnus Does Biting Research When you hear the word shark, what comes to mind? Most people think of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 movie Jaws (still!), which featured a killer shark unleashing chaos on a beach community off of Long Island, New York. Bryan Frazier ’00 (M.S. ’13) says a homicidal shark is

Biology Major Wins Student Entrepreneur of the Year for Kitten Feeding Device 07/20/2023

“One night, two kittens were brought into the shelter while I was volunteering. No one was available to care for them because it was so late, so I decided to step up."
Read up on one of our biology majors Michele Graham, and her literal life-saving invention for kittens! 🐱
We wish you continued success in your work and in your studies!

Biology Major Wins Student Entrepreneur of the Year for Kitten Feeding Device Above: Michele Graham with kittens at Pet Helpers animal shelter. (Photo by Catie Cleveland) By Kennedy Robinson Ideas can spark from anywhere. Just ask rising junior Michele Graham. A compelling notion hit her late one night while volunteering at a local animal shelter a few years ago. After observ...

College of Charleston Photos 06/08/2023

Did you know? The College of Charleston has its very own museum! The Mace Brown Museum of Natural History is located in the School of Sciences and Mathematics Building and is open to the public. Come check it out! ⬇️
👉 For more information:

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 05/26/2023

On this gray and rainy Friday, swipe right ➡️ to see how our Maymester undergraduate Oceanography (BIOL 342L) "Harbor lab", taught by Prof. Jack DiTullio, and Biology of Fishes (BIOL 432L), taught by Prof. Gorka Sancho, went:
1. Taught at Grice Marine Lab () off Fort Johnson (JI), Oceanography students get the opportunity to learn hands-on about water sampling and equipment. The day trip ended with all happy faces 🙂
2. Professor Jack DiTullio explains how to use a CTD for measuring Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth.
3. Marine Operations Manager Pete Meier instructs students on equipment handling and procedures
4. Students learn how to use a secchi to measure turbidity
5. Biology of Fishes students take to the Charleston Harbor to trawl for and identify local species.
6. Students work rapidly to sort and identify all species captured so that they may quickly released. 🐟
7. Not all species caught are fish! Many invertebrates, like this horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus), may also be caught. Don't let their tail scare you though! They are harmless, used only for keeping themselves oriented in strong currents.
8. Safety is always a priority, so works alongside to ensure all potentially harmful species, like stingrays, are safely sorted and removed without incident. In this case, beautiful smooth butterfly rays (Gymnura micrura) aren't capable of stinging humans and are safe to handle, before being released.

Photos from College of Charleston School of Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering's post 05/25/2023

Summer is the perfect time to get some research done, especially if it involves field work!😁

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 05/23/2023

The Grice Marine Laboratory ( ), located at Fort Johnson on James Island, SC, is the Department's marine lab which offers undergraduate and graduate academic programs in Marine Biology. The lab supports teaching and research in evolutionary biology, marine biogeography, cellular and molecular biology, benthic ecology, immunology, microbial ecology, phytoplankton ecology, environmental physiology, fish systematics, and invertebrate zoology and other marine sciences. 

It also shares a combined, extensive marine science library holdings the Marine Resources Research Institute of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to form the Cooperative Marine Research Library at Fort Johnson, and works cooperatively with the NOAA⁄NOS Laboratory, SCDNR, the Marine Resources Research Institute of SCDNR, and the Medical University of South Carolina's Graduate Program in Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences.

Volunteers from GML even participate in local outreach programs; from in-classroom lectures to an exciting touch tank, all ages are welcome to learn about marine sciences!

Learn more about Grice Marine Lab here:


Who knew bacteria could be so beautiful?? 😱🦠
The bright red organism is Vibrio spartinae, originally isolated from spartina plants in the Odiel River estuary in Southern Spain

Agar art created by student Ashlyn Shirley '23 in Applied & Environmental Microbiology (Biol 410) with V. spartinae isolated from Charleston, SC seawater samples. Congrats!

Have you ever created agar art at CofC? Let us know in the comments!

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 04/27/2023

Posted • .ssm The SSME hosted our annual spring picnic and awards ceremony. Congrats to all of our faculty and staff who won awards this year. We also took this opportunity to thank our adjunct faculty who have served for five, ten, and twenty years in the SSME. Congrats to Biology faculty!


Congratulations to Mandi Montgomery, runner up (tie) for “Best in Biology” research poster at last week’s Expo.


Congratulations to Ashley Matunis, runner up (tie) for “Best in Biology” research poster at last week’s Expo.


Posted • .ssm Biology major and Honors student Ansley Elkins was awarded the prestigious 2023 Goldwater Scholarship for her work on transfer RNAs. Ansley’s postgraduate plans include obtaining a Ph.D. in Molecular biology, leading a translational research program, and teaching molecular biology at an R1 institute. Congrats, Ansley!


Great to see College of Charleston EMS (biology students) on the track of bridge run

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 03/20/2023
Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 03/02/2023

Look who made it in to CofC's Photos of the Week. "Marine biology students in professor Heather Spalding‘s Marine Botany class recently spent time gathering and processing algae specimens collected near the pier at the College’s Harbor Walk campus along the Cooper ."

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 02/24/2023

We now have a Chapter of Beta Beta Beta – TriBeta – Biological Honor Society! This week District Director Dr. Carmony Hartwig inducted the Chapter Members along with Biology Chair Dr. McElroy and SSME Dean van Delden. A Big Congratulations to all Student Members!

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 02/24/2023

Here in Dr. Pritchard’s Plant Physiology class students are measuring water potential using the Scholander technique.

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 02/20/2023

Students trying to get aHead in Dr. Hillenius Comparative Anatomy lab.


Are you looking for a position in a Plant Breeding/Genetics lab. Clemson is looking for a full time, temporary hire that is funded for one year. There is potential for the position to be extended from one year.

Interested parties can go to and search “REC/Coastal” in the search bar. The first (and only at the moment) result is the job posting.

If there are any questions they can be sent to the PI: [email protected], Dr. Sandra Branham.

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 02/10/2023

McKinley Antley, a senior Biochemistry major, presented his research at the Southern Society for Clinic Investigators in New Orleans last week. His study was titled "Dimensions of Muddy Granular Casts and Anthropometrics on Patients with Acute Tubular Injury". His research is supported by NIH/NIDDK, and he's mentored by our own Dr. Michael Janech and Dr. Juan Carlos Velez of Ochsner Medical Center. Congratulations to McKinley for a job well done!

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 02/07/2023

Podolsky’s BIOL 211 class out in the field on James Island. Isn’t it awesome to be studying Biology .


Are you looking for summer field work? Clemson and the USDA have opportunities in Charleston this summer. If interested please contact:

Plant Pathology with: Ginny Dubose ([email protected]) and Dr. Anthony Keinath.


Horticulture with: Matt Horry ([email protected]) and Dr. Brian Ward ([email protected]).
For the USDA ARS Dr. Shaker Kousik

Marine Biology Professor Is Sending out an S.O.S. 01/30/2023

Professor Gorka Sancho discusses the results of a new study on marine protected areas in the US.

Marine Biology Professor Is Sending out an S.O.S. As an avid outdoorsman, Gorka Sancho has noticed changes in the Lowcountry’s waterways over the years. He’s observed that the number of fish being caught in inshore waters seems to be shrinking, and some of the fish seem smaller, too. As a marine biologist, he also knew something must

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 01/19/2023

Biol 323 Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates is off with a fun start this spring semester!!


Congratulations to our own Dr. Bob Podolsky, who received the prestigious, Patricia Morse award for Excellence and Innovation and Science Education at the 2023 annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 01/11/2023

Biology majors Mandi Montgomery, Regan Honeycutt, and Layne Legett presented their research at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology conference in Austin, TX last week. Mandi is also seen with Dr. Lauren Fuess ‘12 who was also presenting. Congratulations! Awesome work.

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 12/15/2022

The Madagascar hissing roaches came out today during tank cleaning. This white coloration is exhibited immediately after molting!

Timeline photos 12/08/2022

Blair Holladay '84 received the Outstanding Service Award in Medicine from Alpha Epsilon Delta, the student Pre-Health Honor Society. He is CEO of the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

Blair Holladay '84 received the Outstanding Service Award in Medicine from Alpha Epsilon Delta, the student Pre-Health Honor Society. He is CEO of the American Society for Clinical Pathology. L-R, Alumni Association Past President Derrick Williams '99, CofC President Andrew Hsu, and honoree Blair Holladay.

Nearly 400 alumni, parents, family, and friends attended the 2022 Alumni Awards Gala dinner dance on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Charleston Marriott. After the awards were presented, the celebration continued with dancing to the sounds of The Men of Distinction. Enjoy all the beautiful photos taken by Clifford Pate '11 online at where you can order prints. Here are just a few--please tag yourself and your friends. Please join us in congratulating our honorees. You can read about them here:


Feeding time for the mealworms and they seem to love apples 🍎

Photos from College of Charleston Department of Biology's post 11/08/2022

Three College of Charleston Undergrads attended the American Society of Nephrology – Kidney Week 2022 conference in Orlando, FL from November 3rd to November 6th to present results from their NIH-funded research conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Janech as part of the UROCUP program. The undergraduates got a chance to interact with Academic Physicians across the globe and learn about cutting-edge Nephrology research being conducted. The conference was attended by 10,000 kidney professionals.

Group Picture (left to right): UROCUP team: Dr. John Arthur, Director of Nephrology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Dr. Michael Janech, Department of Biology, CofC; Elizabeth Fongheiser, CofC undergraduate; Mckinley Antley, CofC undergraduate; Dustin Chalmers, Resident, University of Louisiana-Baton Rouge; Noah Compton, former CofC undergraduate; Dr. Juan Carlos Velez, Director of Nephrology, Ochsner Medical Center.

Solo Picture: McKinley Antley presenting his poster on Thursday November 3rd, 2022 regarding associations between the size of urinary muddy brown granular casts and urine chemistry.


Thank you to the greenhouse staff for taking care of all of the plants in Rita Hollings Science Center 💐


Unknowns are underway in microbiology (BIOL 310L)


Students in Dr. Sotka's BIOL 213 class are out starting a Biodiversity project.

College Announces 2022 Alumni Award Recipients 10/13/2022

Biology major Blair Holladay '84 is the recipient of this year's Pre-Medical Society’s Outstanding Service Award in Medicine.

College Announces 2022 Alumni Award Recipients The College of Charleston Alumni Association will honor eight distinguished alumni at the Alumni Awards Gala on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, as part of the College’s 2022 Fall Alumni Weekend. Each year, the awards recognize graduates whose achievements reflect honor upon their alma mater. "It will


We are searching for an Assistant Professor for Neuroscience. Click this link for more information:

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Happy Friday. Enjoy the hiss I received from a Madagascar hissing roach while giving him a gentle pet. Have a wonderful ...




Rita Hollings Science Center, 58 Coming Street, Ste 245/255
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