Biology & Marine Biology

Faculty & Staff

Sentiel A. Rommel, Lecturer

photoPh.D., Oceanography, University of Maine, Orono, ME, 1972
M.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Maine, Orono, ME, 1970
B.S., U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, 1966
Friday Hall 3025B | (910) 962-3151 | 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403-5915

I am intrigued by morphology (particularly that of marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, and manatees) - I get excited about how and why biological things are shaped as they are and I am fascinated by the ways different systems interact to allow an individual animal to function. I am interested in comparing similar anatomical structures in different species. By contrasting the various ways each species uses anatomy to (differently) solve the same problem (such as locomotion or thermoregulation) I can better understand why some systems are different in different groups of animals. I am also interested in developing alternative methods of teaching and learning science and mathematics. Here, at UNCW I can collaborate with outstanding colleagues and their students on studies of functional adaptations of marine mammals. By studying stranded animals we can discover and describe why they died; this may lead to better regulations for preserving threatened and endangered species. Additionally, we can learn about how these animals function when they were alive. My most recent work has focused on (1) manatee forensics, particularly characterizing watercraft induced lesions on Florida manatees and (2) developing better models of vascular anatomy in cetaceans so we can understand why some whales appear to be more susceptible to anthropogenic sound.

Rommel S.A., Costidis, A.M., Fernandez, A., Jepson, P.D., Pabst D.A., McLellan, W.A., Houser, D.S., Cranford, T.W., van Helden, A.L., Allen, D.M., and Barros, N.B. 2006. Elements of Beaked Whale Anatomy and Diving Physiology, and Some Hypothetical Causes of Sonar-related Stranding. Journal of Cetacean Management and Research 7:189-209.

Rommel, S.A., Pabst, D. A., and McLellan, W.A. (in press) Functional anatomy of the cetacean reproductive system, with comparisons to the domestic dog. in: Miller, D.E. (ed) Reproduction Biology and Physiology of Cetacea.

Lightsey, J.D., Rommel, S.A., Costidis, A. M., and Pitchford, T. D. (in press) Gross Necropsy Diagnosis of Watercraft-Related Mortality in the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Journal of Wildlife Medicine.

Reynolds, J.E., Rommel, S.A., and Pitchford, M.E. 2004. The likelihood of sperm competition in Florida manatees-explaining an apparent paradox. Marine Mammal Science 20(3):464-476.

Bossart, G. D., Meisner, R.A., Rommel, S. A., Lightsey, J.D., Varela, R.A., and Defran, R.H. 2004. Pathologic Findings in Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Aquatic Mammals 30(3):434-440.

Rommel S.A, Reynolds J.E., III, and Lynch H.A. 2003. Adaptations of the Herbivorous Marine mammals. Pp. 287-306 in: L.'t Mannetje, L. Ramerez-Aviles, C. Sandoval-Castro, and J.C. Ku-Vera, Eds., Recent Developments in the Nutrition of Herbivores. Proceedings of the VIth International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.

Rommel, S.A. and H. Caplan. 2003. Vascular adaptations in the tail of Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) that reduce thermal insult. Journal of Anatomy 202:343-353.

Rommel, S., D. Pabst, and W. McLellan. 2002. Skull morphology of marine mammals. Pp. 1103-1117 in: W.F. Perrin, B. Wursig, and H. Thewissen, Eds., Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, Academic Press, San Diego, CA.

Rommel, S.A., D.A. Pabst, W.A. McLellan. 2001. Functional morphology of venous structures associated with the male and female reproductive systems in Florida Manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Anatomical Record 264:339-347.