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Mary Carla Curran, Ph.D.

Dr. Mary Carla Curran is an Assistant Professor in the Marine Science Program at Savannah State University whose area of expertise is in fish biology and marsh ecology. However, her interests span these areas as well as those involving the impact of human activities (particularly construction and contaminants) on estuaries, invertebrates, and marine education. Curran began her undergraduate training in the Marine Science program at University of South Carolina where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She then earned a B.S. Honors degree in Zoology as a Fulbright Scholar at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Her doctoral work in Biological Oceanography was completed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She has held two postdoctoral positions, one at Rutgers University with Dr. Kenneth W. Able and another supported by the National Science Foundation and NATO at the Stazione Zoologica di Napoli in Italy with Dr. Flegrea Bentivegna. Before joining the faculty at SSU, Dr. Curran taught as an Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina at Beaufort. Her current projects are focused mainly in estuarine habitats in coastal Georgia and South Carolina and include the use of estuaries by flatfishes, behavior and movement patterns of blackcheek tonguefish and contaminant loading in flounder in coastal Georgia. Her graduate students have conducted research related to her primary interest in flatfish ecology, but also a wide-array of other topics: prevalence of parasitism and behavioral changes associated with isopod parasites on grass shrimp, the effect of ray feeding pits on meiofauna, life history of cobia, bycatch in crab traps, and designing K-12 activities related to marsh ecology. She is actively involved in the Southeastern Estuarine Research Society (1998-present) as Coordinator of Student Travel Awards and is also a member of ASLO (2004-present), SETAC (2003-present), and the Estuarine Research Federation (2001-present).

Matthew Gilligan, Ph.D.

Dr. Matthew Gilligan teaches courses in and coordinates the undergraduate and graduate Marine Sciences programs at Savannah State University.  He received his B.A. in Biology from Hartwick College in 1972 and earned his Ph. D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona in 1980. In the same year, he accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences to teach in what was then a new degree program in Marine Biology. Since then, Dr. Gilligan has helped to develop a strong program and taught many of the core courses, including ichthyology, biostatistics, and marine ecology. In 2001, he was chosen as the Board of Regents 2001-2002 Distinguished Professor at SSU. He currently chairs the Education sub-panel of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program Ocean Research and Resources Advisory Panel, chairs the Education Committee of the Southern Association of Marine Laboratories, and is as a member of advisory boards of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and Skidaway Marine Science Foundation.  He is the Principal Investigator for the Collaboration to Integrate Research and Education Program (with Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, NSF-funded), and the NOAA Living Marine Resources Collaborative Science Center.  He has served as a minority mentor for the Minorities Program at ASLO meetings since 1990, organized a diversity panel session at the fall 2001 National Association of Marine Laboratories Meeting (Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, Oregon) sponsored by the Southern Association of Marine Laboratories, and testified on ocean education and diversity before the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy in Charleston, SC on January 15, 2002. His interests are in the biogeography and ecology of coastal migratory and tropical marine reef fishes, the biology of live-bottom reefs of the inner- and midshelf of the South Atlantic Bight, marine sanctuaries and marine protected areas.

Dionne Hoskins, Ph.D.

Dr. Dionne Hoskins received her B.S. degree in Marine Biology from Savannah State College in 1992 and her doctorate in Marine Sciences from the University of South Carolina in 1999. She worked briefly as a postdoctoral fellow in the newly established Marine, Environmental Science, and Biotechnology Research Center at SSU in 1999 but was tasked in 2000 by the Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) of NOAA Fisheries to develop a Cooperative Marine Education and Research (CMER) program at the university, the first of its kind at a historically Black university. Since then, Hoskins has worked as a Fishery Biologist through the Galveston Laboratory of NOAA Fisheries and as an Associate Professor in the Marine Science program at SSU. Hoskins is based in Savannah and works with undergraduate and graduate students on a variety of ecological research topics. As a benthic ecologist, her research interests revolve around the ecology of deposit feeding organisms in marine sediments. However, recent projects have examined the recovery of a transplanted marsh, the effects of fishing and disease on blue crab populations, and seasonal fluctuations of macrofaunal and microbial communities in shallow sediments. Her current graduate student is studying sea turtle populations in the U. S. Virgin Islands. Dr. Hoskins also hosts high school students in her lab, one of whom is working on socioeconomic project trying to document the historical role of African-Americans in the coastal economy of Georgia. She teaches graduate courses in benthic ecology, advanced environmetrics, coastal zone management, and fishery population dynamics. She also is program manager of the SSU component of the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center.

Carol Pride, Ph.D.

Carol Pride received her Ph. D. from the University of South Carolina in the Marine Sciences. Prior to this she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Wesleyan University (CT). She has held two postdoctoral researcher positions: one at USC in the Department of Geology and one at the Marine Science Institute of the University of California in Santa Barbara. In addition, she served two years as a visiting assistant professor at the College of Charleston where she taught oceanography and biology courses.
Pride is now an assistant professor in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics’ Marine Science Program at Savannah State University where she teaches undergraduate (Marine Science I; Marine Sediments: Source, Sinks and Significance; Biological Oceanography) and graduate (Introduction to Marine Sciences; Oceanic Change: Human and Climatic Perturbations to Marine Ecosystems) courses. She has also chaired the graduate admissions committee of the Marine Science M. S. program since it began in 2001.
Her research interests include marine sedimentation, paleoceanography, and paleoecology. She uses micropaleontology and stable isotope biogeochemistry to better understand connections between physical processes in the ocean, marine production, and the marine sediment record. Her previous studies concentrated on the Gulf of California and the Southern Ocean, but Pride’s current research is focused on the South Atlantic Bight. She and her students are investigating the utility of benthic foraminifera as indicators of salinity and paleo-salinities in Georgia estuaries; the impact of a migrating shell ridge on salt marsh vegetation, foraminifera and sediment accumulation; seasonal, interannual, and downstream variations in estuarine planktonic diatom communities; if benthic primary production in relic shelf sands impacts the density of benthic foraminifera; and Gulf Stream history. Pride and her students are also active in community outreach and deliver educational modules focused on marine geology and other areas of marine science to Savannah area schools and communities of coastal Georgia.

Jospeh P. Richardson, Ph.D.

Dr. Joseph P. Richardson joined the faculty at Savannah State University in January 1979 and is presently a professor in the marine sciences program. Before coming to Savannah State, he received a B. A. degree in Biology from the University of Tennessee in 1974, and a Ph. D. degree in Marine Sciences from the University of North Carolina in 1978. Presently, he teaches graduate courses and undergraduate courses in invertebrate zoology and marine and environmental chemistry and analysis. He has also taught botany, oceanography, biological oceanography, physiological ecology, and mariculture. Presently Dr. Richardson is involved in research projects investigating the levels of pollutants (metals and organic compounds) in finfish in coastal Georgia. This project is an extension of earlier work investigating chemical pollutants in oysters and sediment samples from the Fort Pulaski National Monument salt marsh ecosystem near the mouth of the Savannah River. Dr. Richardson is also involved in ongoing monitoring of water quality in coastal rivers and estuaries and in developing improved methods for citizen-based water quality monitoring projects. Dr. Richardson is the director of the Coastal Region Training Center for the Georgia Adopt A Stream Program and assists citizens throughout the Georgia coastal zone in establishing volunteer water quality monitoring programs. Over the past recent years, Dr. Richardson has trained thousands of individuals to collect, analyze and report basic chemical water quality parameters.

Malik Watkins, Ph.D.
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