Research Interests

I am an ecologist interested in describing, protecting, and teaching about the biological diversity and beneficial ecosystem functions of coastal marine habitats. Coastal oceans are simultaneously threatened by decreasing water quality, changing physical conditions, and overharvest of ecologically important species. I address the interactive effects of these threats through conservation-directed research and teaching at Florida Gulf Coast University.

I earned my doctorate in 2008 at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, where I studied the role of small, invertebrate grazers in mediating water quality and food-web changes in Chesapeake Bay eelgrass beds. From 2008 to 2010 I worked as a postdoctoral fellow with the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, Florida, comparing the food-web structure and grazing impacts on seagrass in no-take marine reserves versus areas subject to fishing. From 2010 to 2012 I worked at the Northeastern University Marine Science Center, managing an algal diversity manipulation at rocky intertidal sites from Massachusetts Bay to Northern Maine, and also investigating seagrass ecology. At FGCU I continue my seagrass research, integrating findings from Florida, Virginia, and New England. My scientific approach combines manipulative experiments with observations of spatial and temporal variation in natural communities, and I strongly believe in the complementary natures of experimental and descriptive ecological research.


2018 – Present: Associate Professor – Seagrass Science, Florida Gulf Coast University, FL

2012 – 2018: Assistant Professor – Seagrass Science, Florida Gulf Coast University, FL

2010 – 2012: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Northeastern University, MA

2008 – 2010: Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, FL


8/02 – 8/08 Ph.D. Marine Science. College of William and Mary, School of Marine Science and Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA

8/98 – 5/02 B.S. Biology. Rice University, Houston, TX

8/01 – 12/01 Duke Organization for Tropical Studies, Costa Rica

5/99 – 6/99 Duke Marine Laboratory, Beaufort, NC

9/94 – 6/98 Capital High School, Olympia, WA

Selected Publications and Technical Reports

JG Douglass, RH Chamberlain, Y Wan, PH Doering (2020) Submerged vegetation responses to climate variation and altered hydrology in a subtropical estuary: interpreting 33 years of change. Estuaries and Coasts. 19 pp. (link)

JG Douglass, R Paperno, EA Reyier, AH Hines (2018) Fish and seagrass communities vary across a marine reserve boundary, but seasonal variation in small fish abundance overshadows top-down effects of large consumer exclosures. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 507: 39-52. (link)

JL Ruesink, JJ Stachowicz, PL Reynolds, C Boström, M Cusson, J Douglass, J Eklöf, AH Engelen, M Hori, K Hovel, K Iken, PO Moksnes, M Nakaoka, MI O'Connor, JL Olsen, EE Sotka, MA Whalen, JE Duffy (2017) Form-function relationships in a marine foundation species depend on scale: a shoot to global perspective from a distributed ecological experiment. Oikos (link)

SC McAskill, JG Douglass (2017) Salinity and temperature alter Pomacea maculata herbivory rates on Vallisneria americana. Journal of Molluscan Studies 83: 481-483 (link)

MES Bracken, JG Douglass, V Perini, GJ Trussell (2017) Spatial scale mediates the effects of biodiversity on marine primary producers. Ecology 98:1434-1443. (link)

JE Duffy, PL Reynolds, C Boström, JA Coyer, M Cusson, S Donadi, JG Douglass, JS Eklöf, AH Engelen, BK Eriksson, S Fredriksen, L Gamfeldt, C Gustafsson, G Hoarau, M Hori, K Hovel, K Iken, JS Lefcheck, P-O Moksnes, M Nakaoka, MI O'Connor, JL Olsen, JP Richardson, JL Ruesink, EE Sotka, J Thormar, MA Whalen, JJ Stachowicz (2015) Biodiversity mediates top–down control in eelgrass ecosystems: a global comparative-experimental approach. Ecology Letters 18:696-705 (link)

CW Gunnels IV, D Buzasi, MK Cassani, J Douglass, T El-Hefnway, EM Everham III, A Hartley, J Herman, M Mujtaba, J Muller, A Nicolas, L Southard, S Thomas, NE Demers (2015) Engaging students in ethical considerations of the scientific process through a simulated funding panel. CUR Quarterly 36:12-18 link

JG Douglass (2014) South Florida Water Management District, 2014 Systems Status Report: CERP Northern Estuaries Region, Caloosahatchee Estuary Submerged Aquatic Vegetation 1998-2013 (link)

JG Douglass, EA Canuel, JE Duffy (2011) Food web structure in a Chesapeake Bay eelgrass bed as determined through gut contents and 13C and 15N isotope analysis. Estuaries and Coasts 34: 701-711. (link)

JG Douglass, KE France, JP Richardson, JE Duffy (2010) Seasonal and interannual change in a Chesapeake Bay eelgrass community: insights into biotic and abiotic control of community structure. Limnology and Oceanography 55: 1499-1520. (link)

AC Spivak, EA Canuel, JE Duffy, JG Douglass, JP Richardson (2009) Epifaunal community composition and nutrient addition alter sediment organic matter composition in a natural eelgrass Zostera marina bed: a field experiment. Marine Ecology Progress Series 376: 55-67. (link)

JG Douglass, JE Duffy, JF Bruno (2008) Herbivore and predator diversity interactively affect ecosystem properties in a marine community. Ecology Letters 11: 598-608. (link) See also this technical comment and my response.

JG Douglass, JE Duffy, AC Spivak, JP Richardson (2007) Nutrient versus consumer control of community structure in a Chesapeake Bay eelgrass habitat. Marine Ecology Progress Series 348: 71-83. (link)