Joseph L. Staton, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology/Marine Science
One University Boulevard
Bluffton, SC 29909
Hilton Head Gateway Campus
Dr. Joe Staton is a Professor of Biology at USCB. He joined the faculty in 2003 after serving five years as a Research Professor at the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine & Coastal Sciences. An internationally recognized academic and research institute, the Baruch Institute conducts basic research on environmental processes, tidal, estuarine and coastal ocean environments. It is the marine biological research component of the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
Dr. Staton held a postdoctoral research position at the Smithsonian Marine Station at Link Port in Fort Pierce, Fla.; an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Department of Biology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; and a NASA Fellowship the Department of Biology at the University of California in Los Angeles; and the MarCraig Fellowship at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University in Cambridge.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Staton’s research has focused on the ecology and evolution of marine invertebrates, specifically in understanding how larval development and dispersal impact these populations over time. He developed the PCR assay that allows for rapid identification of fiddler crab larvae to the level of individual species, a feat that cannot be achieved by visual inspection. He has published papers on the ecology of fiddler crab larval dispersal, genetics of crustacean biogeography in the Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern Atlantic, mitochondrial gene orders to address molecular evolutionary questions on horseshoe crabs and sipunculan worms, cryptic speciation in benthic copepods, and the effects on genetic diversity of benthic meiofauna by pollutants.
In his current research, he is collaborating with Dr. Steve Borgianini at USCB on the genetic impacts of limited dispersal and recruitment in fiddler crab larvae to adult populations in the river-dominated estuaries of the southeastern U.S., as well as the genetic structure of reef-building worms in coastal Florida with Dr. Dan McCarthy of Jacksonville University.
Dr. Staton teaches the core course in Genetics, as well as Invertebrate Zoology, Adaptation of Marine Organisms and Marine Science for non-majors.