Jason Macrander, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Marine Biology

As a teacher, I do not expect all of my students to become scientists, but I want them to be able to evaluate and understand biological concepts they encounter in the media and everyday life. My own experiences in the lab and improving myself as a teacher has inspired me to develop a student-centered active learning environment, which facilitates an understanding of biology and an appreciation of science.

- Jason Macrander

Connect with
Jason Macrander

building is Polk Science - room is 129
Phone 863.680.4351

E-mail Linked In

View CV


I am an evolutionary biologist using comparative ‘omics approaches in sea anemones and other venomous animals to address questions concerning venom evolution, symbiosis, and protein function. In my research, I use sea anemones as a model to understand how ecological factors influence molecular diversity from a phylogenetic perspective.

Being originally from Nebraska I had a strange obsession with marine life and SCUBA diving since high school. I quit my first job after about a month to pursue something that would get me "closer" to animals (albeit was working a concession stand at a drive through zoo in Nebraska). I did my undergraduate degrees in Biology and Fisheries & Wildlife at Nebraska and exhausted every avenue of Marine Biology research or training while I was there. I was lucky enough to participate in undergrad research in Roatan, Honduras using remote sensing to monitor and identify corals. I also was selected for Disney's advanced internship program, where I maintained aquariums and feed the fish at The Living Seas (now known as "The Living Seas with Nemo and Friends") in EPCOT.

I did one year of my Masters in Puerto Rico and although the proximity to the ocean was great I returned to Nebraska to complete my Masters. I went to The Ohio State for my PhD where I started working with sea anemones and venom, then the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for a postdoc.


I consider myself a novice to intermediate zymurgist.



  1. Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology. Adviser: Dr. Meg Daly
    Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization: College and University Teaching, 2011 – 2016
  2. Masters of Science, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. Adviser: Dr. Guillermo Orti, 2008 – 2010
  3. Bachelor of Science (dual degrees), University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Biological Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife, 2002 - 2007

Honors and Awards

Since Joining FSC [2018] (*Equipment Value)

2021 – 2022 Faculty/Student Collaborative Research Program at FSC. “Are Reef Safe Sunscreen Really Safe?” $6,000
2018 – 2021 Be Curious Mini-Grants [3 awards]. Florida Southern College. $1,500
2021 Equipment: Shallow draft boat (e.g., Carolina Skiff)
Source: Mosaic (In collaboration with Marine Bio Faculty and Kathy Ellis)
2020 – 2021 Faculty/Student Collaborative Research Program at FSC. Assessment of the elasmobranch community in eastern Hillsborough Bay, Tampa Bay, Florida. CO-PI: Dr. Gabe Langford (Rebudgeted due to COVID 19) $6,091
2020 Equipment: Trident Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
Source: Sofar Ocean
(In collaboration with Marine Bio Faculty and Matthew Eicholtz)
2019 – 2021 Protect Our Reefs Grants Program. Testing the suitability of an actiniarian model for scleractinian coral bleaching. $14,379
2019 Faculty/Student Collaborative Research Program at FSC. The effects of micro-plastics on venom expression and survivorship in the model cnidarian Nematostella vectensis. $5,625


Student presentations highlighting their research at International Research Confernces:

  • Frias Vellon, AI; Cook, K; Macrander, J. 2022. Impact of microplastics in sea anemone Nematostella vectensis defense mechanisms, survivability and behavior. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Phoenix, AZ

  • Statile, KA, Delgado, A, Benedict, C, Powell, E, Treese, J, Broems, L, Daly, M, Macrander, J. 2022. 
    Toxic Associations: Exploring toxin diversity among clownfish hosting sea anemones. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Phoenix, AZ

  • Tarleton , AG; Frias Vellon, AI; Statile, KA; Macrander, J. 2022. Is reef safe sunscreen really safe? Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Phoenix, AZ

  • Frias, A, Krantz, Macrander, J. 2020. POSTER. The Impact of Microplastics on Sea Anemone Behavior, Survivorship, and Gene Expression. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Austin, TX
    Andrea's Cnidofest Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcMcMokd8E4
  • Krantz, J, Daly, M, Macrander, J. 2020. POSTER. Identifying Convergence of ShK Toxins in Sea Anemones. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Austin, TX
  • Manzi, S. Frias, A, Krantz, J, Macrander, J. 2020. POSTER. A Comparative Analysis of Differentially Expressed genes from a stress response to increased water temperatures between sea anemones Exaiptasia pallida, Diadumene lineata. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Austin, TX
Read More

Publications and Exhibitions

Publications [Since 2018](N: 28, h-index: 12, i-index:16, RG Score: 28.28, *undergraduate **graduate mentee)

  • *Frias, A, *Cook, K, *Kratz, J, *Manzi, S, Macrander, J. (In Prep). Impact of microplastics in sea anemone Nematostella vectensis defense mechanisms, survivability, and behavior.
  • *Vossgaetter, L, Larson, P, Macrander, J. (2021). A new color morph of Calappa flammea (Herbst, 1794), with implications for the taxonomy of Calappa Weber, 1795 (Decapoda: Brachyura: Calappidae). Journal of Crustacean Biology, 41 (3), ruab033
  • Shachkova, MY, Landau, M, Surm J, Macrander J, Singer, SA, Reitzel, AM, Moran, Y. 2020. Toxin-like neuropeptides in the sea anemone Nematostella unravel recruitment from the nervous system to venom. PNAS. 117 (44) 27481-27492.
  • Klompen, AML, Macrander, J, Reitzel, AM, Stampar, SN. 2020. Transcriptomic Analysis of Four Cerianthid (Cnidaria, Ceriantharia) Venoms. Marine Drugs 18:413.
  • Shachkova, MY, Macrander, J, Surm, JM, Aharoni, R, Menard-Harvey, SS, *Klock, A, Leach, WB, Reitzel, AM, Moran Y. 2020. Some Like It Hot: Population Specific Adaptations in Venom Production to Abiotic Stressors in a Widely Distributed Cnidarian. BMC Biology.
  • Shachkova, MY, Singer, SA, Macrander, J, Reitzel, AM, Peigneur, S, Tytgat, J, Moran, Y. 2019. The birth and death of toxins with distinct functions: a case study in the sea anemone Nematostella. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 36: 3001 – 2012.
  • Stampar SN, Broe MB, Macrander J, Reitzel AM, Brugler MR, Daly M. 2019. Linear Mitochondrial Genome in Anthozoa (Cnidaria): A Case Study in Ceriantharia. Scientific Reports 9:6094..
  • Ivanina, A., Borah, B., Rimkevicius, T., Macrander, J., Piontkivska, H., Sokolova, I., Beniash, E. 2018. The role of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling in biomineralization of the oyster Crassostrea gigas. Front. Mar. Sci. 5:309
  • Macrander, J., Panda, J., Janies, D., Daly, M., Reitzel, A.M. 2018. Venomix: A simple bioinformatic pipeline for identifying and characterizing toxin gene candidates from transcriptomic data. PeerJ 6:e5361
  • Leach, W.B., Macrander, J., Peres, R., Reitzel, A.M. 2018. Transcriptome-wide analysis of differential gene expression in response to light:dark cycles in a model cnidarian. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. Part D Genomics Proteomics. 26: 40 – 49.
  • Reitzel, A.M., Macrander, J., Mane-Padros, D., Fang, B., Sladek, F.M., Tarrant, A.M. 2018.  Conservation of DNA and ligand binding properties of retinoid X receptor from the placozoan Trichoplax adhaerens to human. J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol.
  • Columbus-Shenkar, Y.Y., Sachkova, M.Y., Macrander, J., Fridrich, A., Mondepalli, V., Reitzel, A.M, Sunagar, K., Moran, Y. 2018. Dynamics of venom composition across a complex life cycle. eLife: e35014.
  • Carrier, T.**, Macrander, J., Reitzel, A. 2018. A microbial perspective on the life-history evolution of marine invertebrate larvae: if, where, and when to feed. Marine Ecology: e12490.
  • Krishnarjuna, B., MacRaild, C.A., Sunanda, P., Morales, R.A.V., Peigneur, S., Macrander, J., Daly, M., Raghothama, S., Dhawanf, V., Chauhanf, S., Tytgat, J., Pennington, M.W., Norton, R.S. 2018. Structure, Folding, and Stability of a Minimal Homologue of ShK from Anemonia sulcata. Peptides. 99: 169 – 178.
  • Macrander, J., Dimond, J., Bingham, B., Reitzel, A. 2018. Transcriptome sequencing and characterization of Symbiodinium muscatinei and Elliptochloris marina, symbionts found within the aggregating sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima. Marine Genomics. 37: 82 – 91.