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Bryan Franks

Location 140 Polk Science
Phone 863.680.4351

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Bryan Franks, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Marine Biology

As a teacher my role is to give students tools and teach them to utilize these tools to ask/answer questions about the world around them. A curious scientist is a good scientist. I believe in using active-learning and engaging students in a more meaningful way than words in a textbook. By bringing the classroom into the field or vice versa it allows students to achieve a better understanding of how theory links with real-world practice.”

I grew up in New Jersey spending my summers at the Jersey shore. I received a B.S. in Biology from Villanova University. While there I realized that my biological passions were to be found in fish and reptiles. I completed my Master's degree at Drexel University studying the threatened desert tortoise in the Mojave desert of California. Prior to entering a PhD program I conducted research on leatherback sea turtles in Costa Rica and rattlesnakes in New Jersey (yes there are rattlesnakes in New Jersey!) I completed my PhD at Drexel University in 2007. For my doctoral research I was fortunate enough to live in Bimini, Bahamas conducting research on sharks. After living in Bimini for 3 years and finishing my PhD, I served as managing director of the field station in Bimini overseeing the shark research being done at the station. However, I soon realized that finding a balance between teaching and research is what I ultimately wanted . Prior to arriving at FSC I was a visiting professor of marine biology at Rollins College from 2011 to 2013. The beginning of a new marine biology major here at FSC is a very exciting time for the students as well as myself and I believe we are starting the process of building a strong, competitive, solid program.

I enjoy biking, snorkeling/SCUBA, spearfishing, hiking, and following Philadelphia sports teams (win or lose) in my spare time.


Ph.D., Environmental Science/Ecology, 2007: Drexel University
M.S., Environmental Science/Ecology, 2003: Drexel University
B.S., Biology, 1997: Villanova University

Honors and Awards

  • Rollins College Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Award, 2012 • Nominated for the Professing Excellence award, 2012. Rollins College
  • Teaching Excellence Award Nominee, 2007. Drexel University, Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology
  • Environmental Systems Research Institute, ESRI Conservation Program Grant Awardees: DiGirolamo, T., Franks, B.R., Gruber, S.H. 2004
  • Student Travel Award, American Elasmobranch Society, 2004
  • Student Travel Award, American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, 2004
  • P.I.; SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, “Shark Schools: Conservation Research to Protect Florida’s Vulnerable Shark Populations with an Emphasis on Lemon Shark Aggregations.” $10,000
  • P.I.; National Geographic Society, Committee for Research and Exploration, “Investigation Of The Structure And Function Of Large, Seasonal Aggregations Of Mature Lemon Sharks (Negaprion Brevirostris) Off Jupiter Florida” $32,000
  • P.I.; The Henry Foundation, “Scientific research to protect a key shark aggregation and nursery area at Cape Canaveral, Florida.” $10,000
  • P.I.; The Pew Foundation, Institute for Ocean Conservation Science, “Conservation genetics a large coastal shark, Negaprion brevirostris at Bimini Bahamas: Philopatry and Natal Homing .” $195,000
  • P.I.; Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, $45,000

Publications and Exhibitions

Jennings, David E., Joseph D. DiBattista, Kristine L. Stump, Nigel E. Hussey, Bryan R. Franks, R. Dean Grubbs, and Samuel H. Gruber. Assessment of the aquatic biodiversity of a threatened coastal lagoon at Bimini, Bahamas. Journal of Coastal Conservation Planning and Management (2012) In Press.

Guttridge TL, Gruber SH, Franks BR, Kessel ST, Gledhill KS, Uphill J, Krause J, Sims DW. 2012. Deep danger: intra-specific predation risk influences habitat use and aggregation formation of juvenile lemon sharks, Negaprion brevirostris. Marine Ecology Progress Series. In Press.

Franks, B.R., H.W. Avery, and J.R. Spotila. 2010. Home range and movement of desert tortoises Gopherus agassizii in the Mojave Desert of California. Endangered Species Research, 13(3): 191-201.

Chapman, D.D., E.A. Babcock, S.H. Gruber, J.D. DiBattista, B.R. Franks, S.T. Kessel, T. Guttridge, E.K. Pikitch, and K.A. Feldheim. 2009. Long-term natal site-fidelity by immature lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) at a subtropical island. Molecular Ecology. 18: 3500-3507.

Jennings, D.E., S.H. Gruber, B.R. Franks, S.T. Kessel, and A.L. Robertson. 2008. Effects of large- scale anthropogenic development on juvenile lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris) populations of Bimini, Bahamas. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 83(4): 369-377.

Wallace, B.P., J.R. Spotila, P.R. Sotherland, R.D. Reina, B.R. Franks, and F. Paladino. 2004. Biotic and abiotic factors affect the nest environment of embryonic leatherback turtles, Dermochelys coriacea. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 77(3): 423-432.