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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

Polk Science - 129



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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.

Time I spend with students translating ideas from the text into scientific hypotheses they can test in the lab.

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.


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


I consider myself a novice to intermediate zymurgist.


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) $50,000*
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) $1,500*
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


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.


Student presentations highlighting their research at International Research Conferences:
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:
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