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Griffen at Odiorne Point, NH

Blaine D. Griffen, PhD
Associate Professor
McCausland Faculty Fellow

Biological Sciences and the
Marine Sciences Program
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208

Ph: 803-603-9532

PhD – University of New Hampshire (2007)

MS – Marine Resource Management, Oregon State University (2002)

BS - Zoology, Brigham Young University (1998)



My current research is generally focused on two main areas that frequently overlap. First, I am interested in the causes and consequences of individual variation within populations, including morphological, behavioral, physiological, and genetic variation. Second, I study the responses of natural systems to human impacts such as climate change, species invasion, habitat destruction, fishing pressure, and pollution. I am particularly interested in how these activities influence biodiversity within species (i.e., the diversity of functional traits seen within species). The overarching goal of my research is to improve our ability to predict the responses of populations and communities to future human impacts. I generally take a bottom up mechanistic approach, determining how morphology, behavior, physiology, and genetics facilitate or constrain the responses of individuals to environmental change, and how those individual level responses then scale up to establish patterns and processes at the population and community levels.  I do this using a variety of approaches, including field observations, field and laboratory experiments, physiological measurements, and computer simulation modeling.

While addressing questions of environmental change described above, my research simultaneously provides insight into fundamental aspects of organismal biology and physiology and into consumer foraging that is central to all ecological communities. Finally, my research also addresses areas where results can be applied to enhance management and conservation efforts. Most of my research has focused on crustaceans (crabs, shrimp, Daphnia) as model organisms. Crustaceans provide a good study system for several reasons - they are important consumers in many ecological communities and are becoming even more important in many systems as a result of environmental change, they are a highly invasive group of organisms worldwide, they possess several biological features that are very useful experimentally, and because they're just really cool!

Important notice for potential students: I am always looking for good students to join my lab. Interested students should e-mail me to discuss opportunities and whether my lab would be a good place for you.

What's new in my lab?
  • A new paper by Riley and Griffen 2017 in PLOS One examines changes to the life history of mangrove tree crabs throughout their range associated with the climate-induced range expansion from mangroves into salt marsh habitats.
  • Congratulations to Eric Hancock who successfully completed his master's degree in May 2017. Eric examined the metabolic impacts of fishery-related claw loss in the Florida stone crab.
  • Congratulations to Ben Belgrad who successfully completed his PhD in May 2017. Ben examined the ecological consequences of individual personality for mud crabs that live in oyster reef habitats. His work produced several high quality publications over the last 4 years.
  • A new paper by Griffen 2017 in Ecology and Evolution challenges the assumption that metabolic costs of energy storage are minimal for small bodied ectotherms.
  • A new paper by Belgrad et al. 2017 in Animal Behaviour examines the correlation between personality and physiology in mud crabs and how this relationship is influenced by time of year surrounding the reproductive period.


Website updated 5/22/2017

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