Joshua Manning

Joshua Manning

"Acquiring knowledge and professional growth"

College: Arts and Sciences
Degree Program: Ecology and Evolution
Degree: Doctorate

Award: STEM Chateaubriand Fellowship


Why FSU?

I applied to the PhD program in the Department of Biological Sciences at FSU to work with Dr. Sophie McCoy. Once I had visited FSU to interview for my PhD, I had no doubt that I wanted to attend this university for my PHD. Dr. McCoy's lab was the perfect fit, and the Department of Biological Sciences seemed like a great place to pursue a graduate degree.

Motivation to pursue a graduate degree

I have always enjoyed science and I love conducting ecological field research. That is the main reason I decided to continue into graduate school. Since entering graduate school, I have had the opportunity to mentor several undergraduate students, and provide them with opportunities to conduct field research. This has been a rewarding experience and something that I hope to continue.

Importance and/or impact of research and work

My dissertation research investigates the effects of territoriality on parrotfish space use, and its influence on how and where parrotfishes graze on coral reefs. Parrotfish grazing is important for maintaining cropped reef substrates that are conducive to the survival and growth of juvenile corals. I am particularly interested in how individual parrotfishes affect the assembly of coral and algal communities at small spatial scales within their defended territories. My research will contribute to a more holistic understanding of parrotfish ecology, combining aspects of social, spatial, and foraging ecology. A better understanding of territoriality and space use in parrotfishes will help us to better understand their population dynamics and effects on community assembly and diversity. As such, this research has the potential to inform coral reef management and restoration efforts.

Career aspirations

My long-term career aspiration is to continue in academia and obtain a faculty position at a major research institution. I would like to continue to conduct ecological research that is informed by my love for natural history and can be applied to the conservation of marine ecosystems. Remaining connected to a major research institution will also allow me to continue to actively engage in the mentorship of young scientists (both undergraduate and graduate.

Advice for anyone considering graduate school

Find the right fit. The department and the lab that you choose to work in are extremely important. In a lot of ways they will determine the success of your graduate research. Make sure that you find a mentor that shares your research interests and will meet your mentorship needs. Additionally, take time to find out what it is that you are passionate about. Graduate school is hard work, but loving what you are doing makes the process much easier.

Accomplishments during academic career

I am excited that I now have published manuscripts from my graduate research (both masters and PhD). I have also received multiple awards and grants.

RESEARCH FUNDING: 2022 - The Mitchell Institute Fellowship, International Women’s Fishing Association Scholarship, 2021 - Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Grant-In-Aid of Research, 2020 - Jack Winn Gramling Research Award in Marine Biology, William R. and Lenore Mote Eminent Scholar in Marine Biology Summer RA, 2019 - William R. and Lenore Mote Eminent Scholar in Marine Biology Summer RA, Guy Harvey Scholarship, American Museum of Natural History Lerner-Gray Memorial Fund for Marine Research, Southern Association of Marine Laboratories Margaret Davidson Award, Phycological Society of America Grant-in-Aid of Research, 2018 - William R. and Lenore Mote Eminent Scholar in Marine Biology Summer RA, Horace Loftin Endowment;

HONORS AND AWARDS: 2021 - William R. Dawson Award (Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology), 2019 - Matt Beard Award for Excellence in Research, 2017 - Nominated for the FSU Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award