Biology & Marine Biology

Faculty & Staff

Christopher M. Finelli, Professor

photoPh.D., Marine Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC,1997
B.S., Biology, St. Francis College, Loretto, PA, 1991
Friday Hall 2001 C | (910) 962-3487 | 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC, 28403-5915 finellic@uncw.edu | http://people.uncw.edu/finellic

My primary research interests fall at the interface of biology and physics. Specifically, I am interested in the interaction between the organism and its physical environment at a variety of spatial scales. Studies in my lab are diverse and not restricted to a single habitat, experimental organism or level of organization. Rather, we work across a variety of habitats and taxa to answer questions regarding physiology, behavior and ecology.Recent projects have examined feeding rates and selectivity of coral reef sponges, predator-prey dynamics on oyster reefs, the ecology of bioeroding sponges, and oyster recruitment processes.

Recent papers

McMurray, S.E., A.D. Stubler, P.M. Erwin, C.M. Finelli, J.R. Pawlik (2018) A test of the sponge-loop hypothesis for emergent Caribbean reef sponges.  Marine Ecology Progress Series, 588:1-14, https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12466.  Selected as Feature Article for MEPS vol 588

McMurray, S.E., C.M. Finelli, and J.R. Pawlik (2017) Demography alters carbon flux for a dominant benthic suspension feeder: the giant barrel sponge on Conch Reef, Florida Keys Functional Ecology  DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12908  Selected by British Ecological Society for inclusion in virtual issue “to illustrate how theoretical, empirical and synthetic studies based in aquatic ecosystems are leading the way in many fields of ecology well beyond the scope of the particular study system.”

Stubler, A.D., Stoker, H., Styron, H.J., Carroll, J.M., Finelli, C.M. (2017).  Reproductive and recruitment dynamics of clionaid sponges on oyster reefs in North Carolina.  Invertebrate Biology 136(4): 365–378. DOI: 10.1111/ivb.12188

 McMurray, S.E., Z. Johnson, D. Hunt, J.R. Pawlik, and C.M. Finelli (2016) Selective feeding by the giant barrel sponge enhances foraging efficiency. Limnology and Oceanography. 61(4):1271-1286 DOI: 10.1002/lno.10287

Carroll, J.M., O’Shaughnessy, K.O., Diedrich, G., Finelli, C.M. (2015).  Are eastern oysters being bored to death by Cliona celata?  A comprehensive examination of oyster condition, growth, and survival.  Diseases of Aquatic Organisms doi: 10.3354/dao02928

Thompson, J.R., Fonseca, D.M., Finelli, C.M., Farouk, B., Hart, D.D. (2015)  Scale-dependent relationships between suspension-feeding stream insects and velocity in spatially heterogeneous flow environments.  Freshwater Biology.  doi:10.1111/fwb.12688

McMurray, S.E., C.M. Finelli, and J.R. Pawlik (2015) Population dynamics of giant barrel sponges on Florida coral reefs.  J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol.  473: 73-80  DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2015.08.007

Carroll, J.M., J. Marion, and C.M. Finelli (2015) A field test of the effects of mesopredators and landscape setting on juvenile oyster consumption on intertidal reefs. Marine Biology DOI: 10.1007/s00227-015-2643-7

Carroll, J.M., K. Riddle, K.E. Woods, and C.M. Finelli (2015) Recruitment of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, in response to settlement cues and predation in North Carolina.  J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol.  DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2014.10.024

McMurray, S.E., J.R. Pawlik, and C.M. Finelli (2014) The effects of size and morphology on pumping rates of Caribbean giant barrel sponges.  Aquatic Biology.  DOI: 10.3354/ab00612. Selected as Feature Article for Aquatic Biology Vol. 22

Lewis, T.B. and C.M. Finelli (2014).  Epizoic zoanthids reduce pumping in two Caribbean vase sponges. Coral Reefs. DOI: 10.1007/s00338-014-1226-2

Carroll, J. M.4, Finelli, C.M. (2014) Impacts of the ectoparasitic snail Boonea impressa on growth of post-set juvenile oysters. Journal of Molluscan Studies, DOI:10.1093/mollus/eyu070

Sumerel, A.N. and C.M. Finelli (2014)  Particle size, flow speed, and body size interactions determine feeding rates of a solitary ascidian, Styela plicata: A flume experiment.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 495:193-204, DOI: 10.3354/meps10571

Robinson, H.E., Finelli, C.M., Koehl, M.A.R. (2013) Interactions between benthic predators and zooplanktonic prey are affected by turbulent waves. Integrative and Comparative Biology 53 (5): 810-820.

Pawlik, J.R., T.L. Loh, S.E. McMurray, C.M. Finelli (2013). Sponge communities on Caribbean coral reefs are structured by factors that are top-down, not bottom-up.  PLOS-One 8(5): e62573 DOI:10.1371/journalpone/0062573.

Finelli, C.M., R.D. Clarke, H.E. Robinson, and E.J. Buskey (2009). Water flow controls the distribution and feeding behavior of two co-occurring coral reef fishes: I. Field measurements.  Coral Reefs 28: 461-473

Clarke, R.D., C.M. Finelli, and E.J. Buskey (2009).  Water flow controls the distribution and feeding behavior of two co-occurring coral reef fishes: II. Laboratory measurements. Coral Reefs 28:475-488

Finelli, C.M., D. Ebert-May, and J. Hodder.  2008.  Collaborative learning: A jigsaw.  In Ebert-May and Hodder, editors, Pathways to Scientific Teaching.  Sinauer and Associates, Sunderland MA.  Reprinted from original peer-reviewed publication in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3(4):220-221

Finelli, C.M., B.S.T. Helmuth, N.D. Pentcheff, D.S. Wethey.  2007.  Intracolony variability in photosynthesis by corals is driven by water flow via oxygen transport.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 349:103-110.

Robinson, H.E., C.M. Finelli, and E. Buskey.  2007.  The turbulent lives of copepods: laboratory flume studies of how flow over a coral reef affects their ability to detect and evade predators.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 349:171-181.