Melissa Gibbs

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


Course Sampling

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

Areas of Expertise

  • Biology


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.


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


  • Gibbs, MA, Work, K.A., *Rubio, V.Y., & C.E. *Bryan. (submitted to Invasive Species) "Abundant feces from an exotic armored catfish, Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus, alter nutrient availability in a Florida spring."
  • Work, K.A., Gibbs, MA & E.J. Friedman (2015) "The Immune System Game." American Biology Teacher 77(5):382-390.
  • Gibbs, M., *Groff, B. (2014) "Patterns of aerial respiration by Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus in Volusia Blue Spring, Florida." Florida Scientist 77(2):53-68.
  • Gibbs, M., *Kurth, B., *Bridges, C. (2013) "Age and Growth Patterns in Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus in Volusia Blue Spring Florida." Journal of Fish Biology.
  • 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, MA, *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. J. Fish Biology, 73:1562-1572.
  • Gibbs, MA (2004) "Lateral line receptors: Where do they come from developmentally and where is our research going?" Brain Behavior and Evolution 64:163-181.
  • Gibbs, MA and R.G. Northcutt (2004) "Retinoic acid repatterns axolotl lateral line receptors." International Journal of Developmental Biology. 48:63-66.
  • Gibbs, MA and R.G. Northcutt (2004) "Development of the lateral line system in the Shovelnose Sturgeon." Brain, Behavior and Evolution 64:70-84.
  • Gibbs, MA (2003) A Practical Guide to Developmental Biology. Oxford University Press.
  • Gibbs, MA (1999) "Lateral line morphology and cranial osteology of the Rubynose Brotula, Cataetyx rubrirostris." Journal of Morphology, 241:265-274.
  • Gibbs, MA and D.P.M. Northmore (1998) "Spectral sensitivity of the goldfish torus longitudinalis." Visual Neuroscience, 15:859-865.
  • Gibbs, MA (1997) "The role of torus longitudinalis in processing luminance information in the goldfish visual system." Doctoral Dissertation, University of Delaware.
  • Gibbs, MA and D.P. M. Northmore (1996) "The role of torus longitudinalis in equilibrium orientation measured with the dorsal light reflex." Brain Behavior and Evolution. 48:115-120.
  • Gibbs, MA (1991) "The olfactory organs of mesopelagic fishes: Their morphology and possible role in mate location." Master's Thesis. San Jose State University.
  • Gibbs, MA (1991) "Notes on the distribution and morphology of the Rubynose Brotula (Cataetyx rubrirostris) off Central California." California Fish and Game, 77:149-152.

(*indicates student author)