Philip Gravinese, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Marine Biology

My goal as an instructor is to provide students with the opportunity to practice and develop their problem-solving skills. I do this by creating an engaging learning environment that is centered around the philosophy of "learning by doing". I believe that these experiential learning and hands-on exercises challenge students to be creative and develop their critical thinking skills, both of which are traits all students will need regardless of their career path.

- Philip Gravinese

Connect with
Philip Gravinese

building is Polk Science - room is 140
Phone 863.680.4491


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My research interests focus on determining how environmental stressors, like ocean acidification, elevated seawater temperature, hypoxia (low oxygen), and red tide impact the reproductive biology, development, and behavior of marine invertebrates, with a specific focus on commercially important crustaceans (stone crabs, blue crabs, and spiny lobsters). I am also interested in determining how climate change will impact the role different environmental and chemical cues play during settlement and habitat selection in marine invertebrates.

My current research is aimed at determining if stone crabs from pH-variable habitats in Tampa Bay are better adapted to tolerate future extremes in pH associated with ocean acidification.

My future research (4-5 years) will focus on determining how stone crab larval swimming behaviors may change when larvae are exposed to singular and simultaneous climate stressors (thermal extremes and reduced pH). The results from these studies will be integrated into a biophysical model (with colleagues from Louisiana State University) that will predict stone crab larval dispersal under different future climate scenarios. This work is being funded by the National Science Foundation (

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During my spare time I enjoy spending time at the beach with my family, going kayaking and paddle boarding, and playing Frisbee with my dogs.


  • Ph.D., Biology, Florida Institute of Technology, 2016
  • M.S., Marine Biology, Florida Institute of Technology, 2007
  • B.S., Marine Biology, Florida Institute of Technology, 2003


My current funding from the Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund supported several Florida Southern Student internships in 2020 and 2021. Together, my interns and I are trying to determine if prior exposure to more variable pH seawater conditions (like a seagrass bed) results in a greater reproductive success in stone crabs compared to animals that do not experience variability in seawater pH (like in a sandy environment). We are currently analyzing these results and will submit a manuscript for publication. We are also developing a high school lesson for local educators using subsets of the data we collected. The education lesson will also be published in a peer-reviewed journal. 

Publications and Exhibitions

Gravinese, P.M., Page, H.N., Butler, C.B., Spadaro, A.J., Hewett, C., Considine, M., Lankes, D., Fisher, S. 2020. Ocean acidification disrupts the orientation of postlarval Caribbean spiny lobsters. Scientific Reports, 10(1): 1–9.

Gravinese, P.M., Munley, M.K., Kahmann, G., Cole, C., Lovko, V., Blum, P., Pierce, R. 2020. The effects of prolonged exposure to hypoxia and Florida red tide (Karenia brevis) on the survival and activity of stone crabs. Harmful Algae. 98: 101897.

Gravinese, P.M., Aronson, R.B., Toth, L.T. 2020. Digging into the geologic record of environmentally driven changes in coral reef development. Oceanography. 33(1): 85–91.

Gravinese, P.M. 2020. The response of juvenile stone crabs to hypoxia: size matters. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.523:151269.

Gravinese, P.M., Enochs, I., Manzello, D., van Woesik, R. 2019. Ocean acidification reverses the swimming direction of larval stone crabs. Biology Letters. 15:20190414.

Frehm, V., Gravinese, P.M., Toth, L.T. 2019. Cultivating future environmental stewards: a citizen science case study at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park. Florida Scientist. 82(4):112–121.

Gravinese, P.M., Saso, E., Lovko, V.J, Blum, P., Cole, C., Pierce, R.H. 2019. Karenia brevis causes high mortality and impaired swimming behavior of Florida stone crab larvae. Harmful Algae. 84:188–194. doi:

Gravinese, P.M., Toth, L.T., Randall, C.J., Aronson, R.B. 2018. How do upwelling and El NiƱo impact coral-reef growth? A guided, inquiry-based lesson. Oceanography. 31(4):148–188. doi:

Gravinese, P.M. 2018. Vertical swimming behavior in larvae of the Florida stone crab, Menippe mercenaria. Journal of Plankton Research. doi: (Featured Article).

Gravinese, P.M., Kronstadt, S.M., Clemente, T., Cole, C., Blum, P., Henry, M.S., Pierce, R.H., Lovko, V.J. 2018. The effects of red tide (Karenia brevis) on reflex impairment and mortality of sublegal Florida stone crabs, Menippe mercenaria. Marine Environmental Research. 137:145–148. doi:

Gravinese, P.M., Enochs, I., Manzello, D., van Woesik, R. 2018. Warming and pCO2 effects on Florida stone crab larvae. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 204:193–201.doi:

Gravinese, P.M. 2018. Ocean acidification impacts the embryonic development and hatching success of the Florida stone crab, Menippe mercenaria. Journal Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 500: 140–146. doi:

Staaterman E.R., Bhandiwad, A.A., Gravinese, P.M., Moeller, P.M., Reichenbach, Z.C., Shantz, A.A., Shiffman, D.S., Toth, L.T., Warneke, A.M., Gallagher, A.J. 2014. Lights, camera, science: The utility and growing popularity of film festivals at scientific meetings. Ideas in Ecology and Evolution: 7:11–16. Link:

C.L. Boleman, Gravinese, P.M., Muse, E., Marston, A., Windsor, J.W. 2013. Corals on Acid: Inquiry-based activity bringing students to a better understanding in ocean acidification impacts. Oceanography. 26(4): 164–169. doi: