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Robert Condon, Ph.D.

Faculty Research Scientist, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Ph.D., Virginia Institude of Marine Science, The College of Willimam & Mary,2008

Curriculum Vitae


Marine Ecosystem Response

Research Interests          

I am a plankton and microbial ecologist interested in understanding the climatological, physical and biogeochemical processes controlling zooplankton and bacterial communities, the biological pump and carbon (C) cycling in estuarine, coastal and open-ocean systems. In particular, I am interested in investigating the roles that zooplankton play in energy transfer in food webs, particle formation, C export, and organic and inorganic nutrient regeneration, as well as investigating the paradigm of global jellyfish blooms.  I am also interested in examining what controls microbial metabolism and growth efficiencies (production and respiration) and changes in metabolism are related to higher trophic levels and fisheries production.  Through the Fisheries Oceanography of Coastal Alabama (FOCAL) program, I have also recently been focusing on examining the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on DOC cycling, and the fate and export of oil-derived C and dispersant in coastal systems.  In order to complete this research, I employ a variety of oceanographic instrumentation and sampling techniques including radio and stable isotopes (e.g., Picarro mass spectrometer), flow cytometry and cell sorting techniques, spectrofluorophotometry to generate CDOM excitation-emission matrices, membrane inlet mass spectrometry and Fibox optodes, blue-water diving, remotely operated vehicles and Zooscan.  My research objectives include:

My Reserach Objectives include:

  1. To examine the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on plankton food web processes, in particular changes in the functioning of the microbial loop (production and respiration), biogeochemical cycles and zooplankton community structure (see NSF RAPID and other oil related projects)

  2. To examine the hypothesis of a global expansion of jellyfish, and to explore the possible drivers for this expansion in coastal and open-ocean environments (see NCEAS Jellyfish Working Group)

  3. To determine the effects of jellyfish blooms on ecosystems, addressing in particular, carbon cycling, food web, policy and socio-economic ramifications of jellyfish (see NCEAS project)

  4. To determine the species composition and the biological and physical mechanisms controlling the seasonal distributions of resident and vertically migrating zooplankton communities within coastal and open-ocean/oligotrophic regions, and their role in biogeochemical cycles (see NSF Trophic BATS project)

  5. To examine feeding mechanisms and measure in situ metabolic rates of micro-, meso- and macro-zooplankton, and the role of zooplankton feeding on particles and particle production on transfer efficiency of the biological pump (see BATS project)

  6. To examine the links between microbial and zooplankton communities, and biogeochemical processes controlling bacterial metabolism (production and respiration) and growth efficiencies

  7. To establish a collaborative outreach and distance learning program linking marine science research with education in primary and middle school classrooms and the public.  See NCEAS Jellyfish ROCK outreach event.

Current Funded Projects


NGI, Phase II Funding. Condon, R.H. & Graham, W.M. Does the “primer effect” caused by the DWH oil spill result in increased microbial and zooplankton consumption of labile and refractory DOC?


Norwegian funding to conduct mesocosm experiments in Norway. Condon, R.H. in collaboration with European and US colleagues. Response of pelagic food webs to warmer, acidified oceans.


MESC-BP Funding. Condon, R.H. Theme 3: Recovery. Task 3, Plankton Research. Impacts of the Deep Horizon Oil Spill on ecosystem structure and function in Alabama’s marine waters 

2010 - 2011

NSF RAPID. Graham, W.M. & Condon, R.H. Understanding ecosystem change within the plankton communities of the northern Gulf of Mexico as a consequence of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Is there a shift in the classical planktonic food web due to increased microbial activity on the shelf?”  

2010 - 2013

NSF OCE Program. Richardson, T., Nauer, S. & Condon, R.H. Collaborative Research: Plankton community composition and trophic interactions as modifiers of carbon export in the Sargasso Sea.

2009 - 2011

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). Condon,    R.H., Graham, W.M. & Duarte, C.M. Global expansion of jellyfish blooms: Magnitude, causes and consequences.


Selected Publications


National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). Condon,    R.H.,
Graham, W.M. & Duarte, C.M. Global expansion of jellyfish blooms: Magnitude, causes and consequences. pdf


Condon, R.H., Steinberg, D.K., del Giorgio, P.A. & Bouvier, T.C., Bronk, D.A. Graham, W.M. & Ducklow, H.W. (In Press). The ‘jelly pump’: Consequences of jellyfish blooms for increased carbon metabolism within the microbial loop. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science

Condon, R.H., Bouvier, T.C. & Steinberg, D.K. (In Review). Phylogenetic changes in natural bacterioplankton communities in a jellyfish dominated estuary.
Aquatic Microbial Ecology

Bullerjahn, G.S., Mckay, R.M., Kutovaya, O.A., Condon, R.H. & IIikchyan, I.N. (2010). Seasonal expression of the picocyanobacterial phosphonate transporter gene phnD in the Sargasso Sea.
Frontiers in Aquatic Microbiology

Graham, W.M., Condon, R.H., Carmichael, R.H. et al. Oil carbon entered the coastal planktonic food web during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (2010).
Environ. Res. Letters. 5: 045301 (6pp)

Condon, R.H., Steinberg, D.K. & Bronk, D.A. (2010). Production of dissolved organic matter and inorganic nutrients by gelatinous zooplankton in the York River estuary, USA. 
Journal of Plankton Research 32: 153 – 170. pdf

Lomas, M.W., Steinberg, D.K., Dickey, T., Carlson, C.A., Nelson, N.B., Condon, R.H.& Bates, N.R. (2010). Increased ocean carbon export in the Sargasso Sea linked to climate variability is countered by its enhanced mesopelagic attenuation. Biogeosciences. 7: 57-70. pdf


Steinberg, D.K. & Condon, R.H. (2009). Zooplankton of the York River.
Journal of Coastal
Research. SI (57): 66-79. pdf

Pitt, K.A., Welsh, D.T. & Condon, R.H. (2009). Influence of jellyfish blooms on nutrient cycling and plankton production.
616: 133-149. pdf


Condon, R.H. & Steinberg, D.K. (2008). Development, biological regulation, and fate of ctenophore (Mnemiopsis leidyi) blooms in the York River estuary, USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 369: 153-168. doi: 10.3354/meps07595 pdf


Pace, M.L., P.A. del Giorgio, D. Fischer, R.H. Condon & H. Malcolm. (2004). Estimates of bacterial production using leucine incorporation method are influenced by protein retention of microcentrifuge tubes. 
Limnology & Oceanography Methods. 2: 55-61. pdf


Condon, R.H., Decker, M.B. and Purcell, J.E. (2001) Effects of low dissolved oxygen on survival and asexual reproduction of scyphozoan polyps (Chrysaora quinquecirrha). Hydrobiologia 451: 89-95. pdf

Research Technicians & Interns

Naomi Shelton – Research Technician
Stacy Cecil – Intern (co-mentored by Dr. Monty Graham)
Erin McParland - Intern
Jami Ivory – 2011 REU Program











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