Biology & Marine Biology

Faculty & Staff

Jessie C. Jarvis, Assistant Professor

Jessie Jarvis, Biology and Marine Biology. PHOTO BY: JEFF JANOWSKI/UNCW
Ph.D., Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, Gloucester Point, VA, 2009
M.S., Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, Gloucester Point, VA, 2005
B.S., Chowan
University, Murfreesboro, NC, 2003
Myrtle Grove 2329 | (910) 962-2839 | Center for Marine Science, 5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane, Wilmington, NC 28403-5928 | http//

Research Interests
I am a coastal plant ecologist interested in underwater grasses also known as submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). SAV are found at the land-sea margin, a highly variable, stressful, and disturbed habitat. In recent decades increases in anthropogenic disturbances and impacts from climate change in coastal and estuarine habitats resulted in a decline of SAV populations at a global scale. My aim is to understand the effects of environmental stressors on large-scale physiological processes such as plant development and reproduction within SAV populations and to communicate these results to resource agencies and policy makers charged with their management.

My specific research goals are to:

  • Examine the linkages between key environmental drivers and the development, reproduction and resilience of SAV populations across broad spatial and temporal scales
  • Understand how impacts of increased anthropogenic disturbances and future climate change scenarios will affect the development and survival of SAV populations
  • Examine the application of novel biotechnologies, including environmental metabolomics, to identify sub-lethal physiological indicators of stress across SAV species
  • Communicate research results to resource agencies and policy makers charged with management of seagrass habitats in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of coastal management.

Recent Research Projects

  • Development of a seagrass ecosystem health report card - Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership
  • Quantifying seed bank viability in a tropical multi-species seagrass meadow - Gladstone Ports Corporation's Ecosystem Research & and Monitoring Program
  • Developing a metabolomics bioassay for seagrasses -James Cook University
  • Quantifying the spatial distribution of deepwater seagrass seed banks -James Cook University, Early Career Researcher Program
  • Modeling Zostera marina restoration potential in Barnegat Bay (NJ)-Barnegat Bay Partnership, USEPA National Estuary Monitoring Program
  • Hydroacoustic Mapping of Seagrass in a shallow costal lagoon-USACE ERDC Environmental Lab, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
  • Submersed aquatic vegetation species discrimination using an airborne hyperspectral/lidar system.USACE ERDC Environmental Lab
  • Function of seed bank ecology in Mid-Atlantic semi-annual and perennial Zostera marina beds.NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve Program

Peer-reviewed Publications

Cumming, E.E., J.C. Jarvis, C.D.H. Sherman, P.H. York, and T.M. Smith. Submitted. Seed germination in a southern Australian temperate seagrass. Journal of Plat Ecology.

Thessen, A.E., B. Fertig,J.C. Jarvis, and A.C. Rhodes.In press.Data Infrastructures for Estuarine and Coastal Ecological Syntheses. Estuaries and Coasts.

McKenna, S., M. Rasheed.J. Jarvis, T. Sankey, C. Reason, and R. Coles.2015.Declines of seagrasses in a tropical harbour, North Queensland Australia - not the result of a single event. Journal of Biosciences. 40:1-10.

Jarvis, J.C. and K.A. Moore. 2015. Effects of seed source, sediment type, and burial depth on mixed-annual and perennialZostera marina L. seed germination and seedling establishment. Estuaries and Coasts, DOI 10.1007/s12237-014-9869-3.

Jarvis, J.C., K.A. Moore, and W.J. Kenworthy. 2014.Persistence ofZostera marina L.(eelgrass) seeds in the sediment seed bank. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 459: 126-136.

Jarvis, J.C., M.J. Brush, and K.A. Moore. 2014.Modeling loss and recovery ofZostera marinabeds in the Chesapeake Bay: the role of seedlings and seed-bank viability. Aquatic Botany,113: 32-45.

Jarvis, J.C., K.A. Moore, and W.J. Kenworthy. 2012. Characterization and ecological implication ofZostera marinaL. (eelgrass) life history strategies near the species southern limit in the western North Atlantic. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 444: 43-56.

Jarvis, J.C.and K.A. Moore. 2010. The role of seedlings and seed bank viability in the recovery of Chesapeake BayZostera marina populations following a large scale decline. Hydrobiologia. 649: 55-68.

Moore, K.A., E.C. Shields, andJ.C. Jarvis.2010. The role of habitat conditions and herbivory on Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) restoration in tidal freshwater regions of the James River, Virginia. Restoration Ecology, 18: 596-604.

Moore, K.A. andJ.C. Jarvis.2008. Environmental factors affecting recent eelgrass diebacks in the lower Chesapeake Bay: Are these southern Atlantic populations responding to global warming events? Journal of Coastal Research, 55: 135-147.

Jarvis, J.C. and K.A. Moore. 2008 Influence of Environmental Factors onVallisneria americana seed germination. Aquatic Botany, 88: 283-294.

Book Chapters/Encyclopedia Entries

J.C. Jarvis.In press.Seagrass production models. In M.J. Kennish (ed.), Encyclopedia of Estuaries, DOI 10.1007/978-94-017-8801-4.