Biology & Marine Biology

Faculty & Staff

Stephanie J. Kamel, Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Evolution and Ecology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 2006
B.S. (Hon), Marine and Freshwater Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada, 2000
Myrtle Grove 2328 | (910) 962-2841 | Center for Marine Science, 5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane, Wilmington, NC 28409-5928

My research quantifies genetic and, particularly, kin structure on the scales relevant to conspecific interactions and studies the impacts of this genetic structure on the ecology and evolution of marine organisms. I also study the links and feedbacks between processes that generate fine-scale genetic structure, namely dispersal and gene flow. Because of their unmatched diversity of reproductive and developmental modes, I work primarily with marine invertebrates.

We are becoming increasingly aware that fine-scale genetic structure on ecologically relevant scales, from centimeters to meters, appears to characterize many marine populations, even in species with extensive dispersal potential, and even when populations seem to be genetically homogeneous over much broader spatial scales. We also know that a growing number of studies on marine organisms shows that the density and genetic composition of groups of interacting conspecifics - the social environment - can exert strong effects on many critical aspects of performance (e.g., growth rates; biomass; disease and invasion resistance; settlement behaviors; and fertilization success), across all levels of biological organization, from individuals to ecosystems.

Specifically I am interested in (1) how social dynamics within families can play a role in the evolution and expression of life histories, behavior, and reproductive isolation; and (2) how social dynamics among members within a group can influence population productivity, persistence and ecosystem function in general.

To a lesser degree, I also explore the relevance of these ideas with respect to the reproductive biology and conservation of endangered sea turtle species.

Selected publications

Stachowicz, J.J.*, Kamel, S.J.*, Hughes, A.R., and Grosberg, R.K. 2013. Genetic relatedness influences plant biomass accumulation in eelgrass (Zostera marina). The American Naturalist 181: 715-724.
*equal contributions

Kamel, S.J. 2013. Vegetation cover predicts temperature in nests of the hawksbill sea turtle: implications for offspring sex ratio and beach management. Endangered Species Research 20: 41-48.

Kamel, S.J., and Grosberg, R.K. 2012. Exclusive male care despite extreme female promiscuity and low paternity in a marine snail. Ecology Letters 15: 1167-1173.

Kamel, S.J., Hughes, A.R., Grosberg, R.K., and Stachowicz, J.J. 2012 Fine-scale genetic structure and relatedness in the eelgrass Zostera marina. Marine Ecology Progress Series 447: 127-137.

Kamel, S.J., Grosberg, R.K. and Marshall, D.J. 2010. Family conflicts in the sea. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25: 442-449.

Kamel, S.J., Oyarzun, F.X., and Grosberg, R.K. 2010. Reproductive biology, family conflict, and size of offspring in marine invertebrates. Integrative and Comparative Biology 50: 619-629.

Mrosovsky, N., Kamel, S.J., van Dam, R., and Diez, C.E. 2009. Methods of estimating natural sex ratios of sea turtles from incubation temperatures and laboratory data. Endangered Species Research 8: 147-155.

Boulding, E.G., Hay, T., Holst, M., Kamel, S.J., Pakes, D. and Tie, A.D. 2007. Modelling the genetics and demography of step cline formation: gastropod populations preyed on by experimentally introduced crabs. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20: 1976-1987.

Kamel, S.J. and Mrosovsky, N. 2006. Inter-seasonal study of individual preferences for nest-site

microhabitat reveals a behavioral polymorphism for nest-site choice within a single population of hawksbill sea turtles. Ecology 87: 2947-2952.

Kamel, S.J. and Mrosovsky, N. 2006. Deforestation: risk of sex ratio distortion in hawksbill sea turtles. Ecological Applications 16: 923-931.

Kamel, S.J. and Mrosovsky, N. 2005. Repeatability of nesting preferences in the hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) and their fitness consequences. Animal Behaviour 70: 819-828.

Kamel, S.J. and Mrosovsky, N. 2004. Nest site selection in leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea): individual patterns and their consequences. Animal Behaviour 68: 357-366.