Biology & Marine Biology

Faculty & Staff

Robert H. Condon, Assistant Professor

Condon Ph.D., Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, 2008
B.S. (Hons.), University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1997
Myrtle Grove 1335 | (910) 962-2904 | Center for Marine Science, 5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane, Wilmington, NC 28409-5928 | |

I am a biological oceanographer and plankton ecologist interested in understanding the large-scale climatological, physical and biogeochemical processes controlling plankton and microbial communities, ecosystem metabolism, and carbon cycling in estuarine, coastal and open-ocean systems. The goals of my research program are:

  • to understand the environmental and climate drivers of global jellyfish populations, the roles of jellyfish in food webs and biogeochemical cycles, and consequences of their proliferation for socioeconomics
  • to examine linkages between zooplankton community structure and carbon export (the biological pump) in open ocean systems
  • to examine the effects of global oil spills and organic pollutants (e.g., plastics) on planktonic food web and microbial processes
  • to understand how ecosystem perturbations and future climate change scenarios will effect biogeochemical cycles and the metabolic balance (tipping points) in coastal and polar systems.
  • to establish a collaborative outreach and distance learning program linking marine science research with education in early childhood and primary school classrooms.
To achieve these goals, I utilize meta-analysis and data synthetic methods in conjunction with lab and mesocosm experimental approaches. In conjunction with the Global Jellyfish Group, I also currently manage the Jellyfish Database Initiative (JEDI), an open access and future repository database with over 500,000 records on jellyfish distributions in the global ocean.

In 2012, I also established the Toward Elementary Advancement in Marine Science (TEAMS) program, where I make regular visits to elementary schools. The main objectives of TEAMS are (1) to educate young children and nurture their interest in science, (2) to teach students the process of science and to involve them in the research, and (3) to assist teachers and educators in developing marine science curriculum. Materials generated from the TEAMS program will be made available on my website in the future.

Selected Publications

Pitt, K.A., Budarf, A., Browne, J. & Condon, R.H. (2014). Bloom and bust: why do blooms of jellyfish collapse? In Jellyfish Blooms. Pitt, K.A. and Lucas, C.H. (eds.) DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-7015-7_4,

Powers, S.P., Hernandez, F.J., Condon, R.H., Drymon, J.M. & Free, C. (2013) Novel pathways for injury from offshore oil spills: Direct, sublethal and indirect effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Sargassum communities. PLoS ONE 8(9): e74802. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074802

Pitt, K.A., Duarte, C.M., Lucas, C.H., Sutherland, K.R., Condon, R.H. and 4 others. (2013). Allomteric anomalies of jellyfish are not explained by their low carbon content. PLoS ONE. 8(8): e72683. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072683

Condon, R.H., Duarte, C.M., Pitt, K.A., Robinson, K.L., Lucas, C.H. and 17 others. (2013). Global oscillations foretell recurrent jellyfish blooms. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110: 1000-1005. doi:10.1073/pnas.1210920110

Ortmann, A.C., Anders, J., Shelton, N.L., Moss, A.C. & Condon, R.H. (2012). Dispersed oil disrupts microbial pathways in pelagic food webs. PLoS ONE. 7: e42548

Duarte, C.M., Pitt, K.A., Lucas, C., Purcell, J.E., Uye, S., Robinson, K.A., Brotz, L., Decker, M.B., Sutherland, K.R., Malej, A., Madin, L.P., Mianzan, H., Gili, J.M., Fuentes, V., Atienza, D., Pages, F., Breitburg, D., Malek, J.C., Graham, W.M. & Condon, R.H. (2012). Global ocean sprawl as a Trojan horse for jellyfish blooms. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 2012: doi:10.1890/110246

Lebrato, M., Pitt, K.A., Sweetman, A.K., Jones, D.O.B., Cartes, J.E., Oschlies, A., Condon R.H. and 5 others (2012). Jelly-falls historic and recent observations: a synthesis to drive future research directions. Hydrobiologia doi:10.1007/s10750-012-1046-8

Condon, R.H., Graham, W.M., Duarte, C.M., Pitt, K.A., Lucas, C.H. and 12 others. (2012). Questioning the rise of gelatinous zooplankton in the world's oceans. BioScience. 62: 160-169

Peterson, C.H., Anderson, S.S., Cherr, G.N., Ambrose, R.F., Anghera, S., Bay, S., Blum, M., Condon, R.H. and 15 others. (2012). A tale of two spills: Novel science and policy implications of an emerging new oil spill model. BioScience. 62: 461-469.

Condon, R.H., Steinberg, D.K., Del Giorgio, P.A., Bouvier, T.C., Bronk, D.A., Graham, W.M., & Ducklow, H.W. (2011). Jellyfish blooms result in a major microbial respiratory sink of carbon in marine systems. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 108: 10225-10230. doi:10.1073/pnas.1015782108

del Giorgio, P.A., Condon, R.H., Bouvier, T., Longnecker, K., Bouvier, C.. Sherr, E.B. & Gasol, J.M. (2011). Coherent patterns in bacterial growth, growth efficiency and leucine respiration and incorporation along a North Pacific inshore- offshore transect. Limnol. Oceanogr. 56: 1-16.

Lebrato, M., Pahlow, M., Oschlies, A., Pitt, K. A., Jones, D.O.B., Molinero, J.C., & Condon, R.H. (2011). Depth attenuation of organic matter export associated with jelly falls. Limnol. Oceanogr. 56: 1917-1928.

Lucas, C.H., Pitt, K.A., Purcell, J.E., Lebrato, M. & Condon, R.H. (2011). What's in a jellyfish? Proximate and elemental composition and biometric relationships for use in biogeochemical studies. Ecology 92:1704 (Supplemental material in Ecological Archives E092-144)

Graham, W.M., Condon, R.H., Carmichael, R.H. et al. Oil carbon entered the coastal planktonic food web during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (2010). Environ. Res. Letters. 5: 045301 (6pp)

Lomas, M.W., Steinberg, D.K., Carlson, C.A., Nelson, N.B., Condon, R.H. & Bates, N.R. (2010). Multi-year increases in shallow biological carbon export are mitigated by enhance mesopelagic attenuation in the Sargasso Sea. Biogeoscience. 7: 57-70.

Condon, R.H., Steinberg, D.K. & Bronk, D.A. (2010). Production of dissolved organic matter and inorganic nutrients by gelatinous zooplankton in the York River estuary, USA. Journal of Plankton Research. 32: 153-170.

Pitt, K.A., Welsh, D.T. & Condon, R.H. (2009). Influence of jellyfish blooms on nutrient cycling and plankton production. Hydrobiologia. 616: 133-149. doi: 10.1007/s10750-008-9584-9

Condon, R.H. & Steinberg, D.K. (2008). Development, biological regulation, and fate of ctenophore (Mnemiopsis leidyi) blooms in the York River estuary, USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 369: 153-168. doi: 10.3354/meps07595

Steinberg, D.K. & Condon, R.H. (2008). "Zooplankton" chapter. Special report for National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) publication into flora and fauna of the York River estuary, Virginia, USA.

Pace, M.L., P.A. del Giogio, D. Fischer, R.H. Condon & H. Malcolm. (2004). Estimates of bacterial production using leucine incorporation method are influenced by protein retention of microcentrifuge tubes. Limnology & Oceanography Methods. 2: 55-61.

Condon, R.H., Decker, M.B. & Purcell, J.E. (2001). Effects of low dissolved oxygen on survival and asexual reproduction of scyphozoan polyps (Chrysaora quinquecirrha). Hydrobiologia 451: 89-95