Robert Scharping, Ph.D.

Visiting Instructor of Biology

Biology is a discipline that spans topics from big-picture concepts (the origin and evolution of life, the role of living things on the planet) to specific applications in laboratory or clinical settings. My goal as a teacher is to explore and present the ideas of biology in an approachable way, so that students develop a comfortable and conversational understanding of this awesome subject.

- Robert Scharping

Connect with
Robert Scharping



I study the ecology and biogeochemistry of coastal springs, underwater caves, and groundwater-fed estuaries. My research requires the synthesis of ideas from a wide array of disciplines, including microbial ecology, molecular biology, geochemistry, geology, hydrology, statistics, and technical scuba diving. I view the impact of my research through the lens of conservation ecology, and I focus on how sea-level rise, saltwater intrusion, groundwater over-extraction, and urban pollution impact coastal groundwater ecosystems.


I love going on adventures, especially when they involve cave diving, rebreather diving, bicycling, paddling, birding, hiking, or camping.


  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and U.S. Geological Survey
  • Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, University of South Florida
  • B.S., Conservation Biology, Kansas State University

Publications and Exhibitions

Scharping, R. J. and J. R. Garey. 2021. Relationship between aquifer biofilms and unattached microbial indicators of urban groundwater contamination. Molecular Ecology 30:324-342.

Smith, M. E., J. G. Wynn, R. J. Scharping, E. W. Moore, J. R. Garey and B. P. Onac. 2021. Source of saline groundwater on tidally influenced blue holes on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Hydrogeology Journal 29:429-441.

Scharping, R. J., L. V. Plough, D. W. Meritt and E. W. North. 2019. Low-salinity tolerance of early-stage oyster larvae from a mesohaline estuary. Marine Ecology Progress Series 613:97-106.

McLauchlan, K. K., I. Lascu, E. Mellicant, R. J. Scharping and J. J. Williams. 2019. Influences of forested and grassland vegetation on late Quaternary ecosystem development as recorded in lacustrine sediments. Quaternary Research 92:201-214.

Scharping, R. J., K. M. Garman, R. P. Henry, P. J. Eswara and J. R. Garey. 2018. The fate of urban springs: pumping-induced seawater intrusion in a phreatic cave. Journal of Hydrology 564:230-245.

Menning, D. M., W. A. Carraher-Stross, E. D. Graham, D. N. Thomas, A. R. Phillips, R. J. Scharping and J. R. Garey. 2018. Aquifer discharge drives microbial community change in karst estuaries. Estuaries and Coasts 41:430-443.