Joseph (Joe) Staton, PhD


Joseph L. Staton, PhD

Chair, Natural Sciences Department
Professor of Biology and Marine Science

Bluffton campus
204 Science and Technology Bldg.
One University Boulevard
Bluffton, SC 29909
Office: 843-208-8352
Joseph L. Staton, PhD

I am a Professor of Biology at USCB. I 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. I held a postdoctoral position at the Smithsonian Marine Station at Link Port in Fort Pierce, Fla.; an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; and a NASA Fellowship at the University of California in Los Angeles; and the MarCraig Fellowship at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. For more than 30 years, my research has focused on the ecology and evolution of marine invertebrates, specifically in understanding how larval development and dispersal impact populations over time. I developed the PCR assay that allows for rapid identification of fiddler crab larvae to the species level, which is not possible by visual inspection. I have 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. My most recent work is in developing a greater understanding of crustacean diversity worldwide.

  • Education
  • Teaching 
  • Research

PhD Environmental and Evolutionary Biology— (1992) University of Louisiana (ULL), Lafayette (DL Felder, chair). Dissertation title: Patterns of differentiation among nearshore decapod crustacean complexes of the western Atlantic.

MS Zoology— (1986) University of Maryland, College Park (DB Bonar and SD Sulkin, co-chairs). Thesis title: Impact of starvation on early and late development in larval marsh crabs, Sesarma spp. (Decapoda: Brachyura: Grapsidae).

BS Zoology— (1982) North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

  • B100H Biology Honors Seminar
  • B101 Biological Principles I
  • B102 Biological Principles II
  • B290 Weekly Seminar in Science
  • B302 Cell and Molecular Biology
  • B302L Cell and Molecular Bio Lab
  • B303 Fundamental Genetics
  • B210 Oceans and Society
  • B110 Physics of How Things Work I
  • B110L Physics of How Things Work I Lab
  • B201 General Physics I
  • B201L General Physics I Lab
  • B211 Essentials of Physics I
  • B211L Essentials of Physics I Lab
  • Marine biological research
  • Ecology
  • Evolution of marine invertebrates
  • Larva development
  • Crustacean diversity