Melissa Gibbs

Professor of Biology; Director of the Aquatic and Marine Biology

Since arriving at Stetson, Gibbs has focused her research interests on spring fish ecology, particularly the biology and impacts of a non-native armored catfish.

  • PhD, neurobiology, University of Delaware, 1997
  • MS, marine science, San Jose State University's Moss Landing Marine Labs, 1991
  • BA, biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1988


Melissa Gibbs


Melissa Gibbs has been interested in marine biology since watching a National Geographic special on deep-sea hydrothermal vents when she was 13. Her bachelor's and master's degrees were earned on the central California coast, where she focused on deep-sea fish sensory systems. She attended the University of Delaware for her PhD, where she studied the visual systems of goldfish, and followed that with a post-doc position studying the lateral line system in fish and amphibians at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Since arriving at Stetson, Gibbs has focused her research interests on spring fish ecology, particularly the biology and impacts of a non-native armored catfish.

Most students in Gibbs' lab study some aspect of catfish biology, or the effects of toxins (drugs or environmental chemicals) on amphibian development. In addition to teaching and research, Gibbs directs the aquatic and marine biology program and curate the Stetson University Natural History Museum.

More About Melissa Gibbs

Areas of Expertise

  • Biology

Course Sampling

  • Intro Biology 1 and 2
  • Oceanography
  • Marine Vertebrate Biology
  • Developmental Biology

  • Spring fish ecology (Blue Spring State Park)
  • Armored Catfish (reproduction, diet, population dynamics, age and growth, nutrient loading)
  • Amphibian developmental biology

  • Gibbs, MA, *Thornton A, *Pasko S, and *Crater A (2021) Patterns of air-breathing behavior in juvenile armored catfish, Pterygoplichthys sp. (Gill 1858). Environmental Biology of Fishes 104(2):171-180.
  • Gibbs, M, *Watson P, *Johnson-Sapp K, and Lind C (2017) Reproduction Revisited – A decade of changes in the reproductive strategies of an invasive catfish, Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus (Weber, 1991), in Volusia Blue Spring, Florida. Aquatic Invasions 12(2):225-239.
  • Work, K., *Codner K. and Gibbs M. (2017) How could discharge management affect Florida spring fish assemblage structure? Journal of Environmental Management 198 266-276.
  • *Rubio, V.Y., Gibbs, M.A., Work, K.A., & C.E. *Bryan (2016) Abundant feces from an exotic armored catfish, Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus (Weber, 1991), create nutrient hotspots and promote algal growth in a Florida spring. Aquatic Invasions 11(3):337-350.
  • Gibbs, M., *Groff, B. (2015) Air-breathing in Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus in Volusia Blue Spring. Florida Scientist.
  • Gibbs, M., *Kurth, B., *Bridges, C. (2013) Age and Growth Patterns in Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus in Volusia Blue Spring Florida. Aquatic Invasions 8(2):207-218.
  • Gibbs, M., *Futral, T., *Mallinger, M., *Martin, D. and M. Ross. (2010) Disturbance of the Florida Manatee by an Invasive Catfish. Southeastern Naturalist. 9(4):635-648.
  • Work, K., Gibbs, M., *Peters, B. and L. *French (2010) Fish Assemblage Variability in a Florida Spring. Southeastern Naturalist, 9(4):649-672.
  • Gibbs, M.A., *Shields, J.H., *Lock, D.W., *Talmadge, K.L. and T.M. Farrell (2008) Reproduction in the exotic catfish, Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus, in Volusia Blue Springs, Florida. Journal of Fish Biology, 73:1562-1572.

*student co-authors