Skip to main content
Su Sponaugle

Su Sponaugle

Department of Integrative Biology
Hatfield Marine Science Center

Su Sponaugle

Department of Integrative Biology
Hatfield Marine Science Center



I am a marine ecologist interested in the physical and biological processes underlying the dynamics of how populations of marine organisms are replenished.


  • PhD, Stony Brook University, 1994.
  • M.S., Stony Brook University, 1988.
  • B.S., University of Chicago, 1986.


Most marine fishes have a complex life cycle whereby demersal adults produce pelagic eggs and larvae that spend weeks to months in the water column before recruiting to the adult population. The vast size of the ocean combined with the tiny size of eggs and larvae make it challenging to study how these early stages survive and return to join the adult population, yet this return is critical to population replenishment. As a result, we have relatively little understanding of which larvae survive to make it back to nearshore populations.

We approach these issues from both sides of the problem: through the collection and detailed analysis of larvae in the pelagic realm as well as measuring the success of new recruits. Our interdisciplinary efforts are aimed at linking pelagic larvae to successful juveniles to better quantify critical processes affecting population replenishment and connectivity.


Every fall, I teach an online e-campus version of Marine Ecology (BI 351) and each spring I co-organize and co-teach an intensive 15-credit experiential capstone course (BI 450 Marine Biology and Ecology) for advanced undergraduate students at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

Courses Taught

  • BI 351 – Marine Ecology
  • BI 450 – Marine Biology and Ecology


  • University of Miami Iron Arrow Society
  • Alpha Epsilon Lambda Graduate Honor Society
  • J. Frances Allen American Fisheries Society Award for Outstanding Female Doctoral Student
  • Dean John A. Knauss National Sea Grant Fellowship
  • Sigma Xi Award for Outstanding Scientific Paper-First Place
  • Phi Beta Kappa Society
  • Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society