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Matthew Johnston, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
DEEPEND Data Manager
Dept. of Marine and Environmental Sciences
(954) 262-3641


  • 2015 - Ph.D. Nova Southeastern University, Marine Biology
  • 2011 - M.S. Nova Southeastern University, Marine Biology
  • 2002 - B.Sc. Hons. - Linfield College, Business Information Systems

Area(s) of Research

Dr. Johnston’s research focuses on the incursion patterns of invasive species, such as the lionfish.  Using complex agent-based computer modeling, these models couple biological traits of the invader, such as their breeding strategy and habitat preferences, with physical characteristics of the environment to produce invasion forecasts.  This work has advanced the present knowledge of marine invasions and has also provided ocean managers with strategies on where and how much effort is needed to control invasive marine fish.  Continued work focuses on understanding the biophysical interactions that drive marine and terrestrial invasions on a global scale.

Riegl B, Johnston MW, Bauman A, Howells E, Burt J, Purkis S, Sheppard CRC (in preparation) Approaching regional extinction of dominant coral threatens evolutionary innovation and geological persistence of reefs. Scientific Reports.

Johnston MW, Bernard AM (in press) A bank divided: quantifying a spatial and temporal connectivity break between the Campeche Bank and the north-eastern Gulf of Mexico. Marine Biology

Johnston MW, Bernard AM, Shivji MS (in press) Forecasting lionfish sources and sinks in the Atlantic: Are Gulf of Mexico reef fisheries at risk? Coral Reefs.

Purkis SJ, Gardiner R, Johnston MW, Sheppard CRC (2016) A half-century of coastline change in Diego Garcia – a strategically important atoll island in the Chagos. Geomorphology 261, 282-298.

Johnston MW, Akins, JL (2016) The Non-native royal damsel (Neopomacentrus cyanomos) in the southern Gulf of Mexico; an invasion risk? Marine Biology 163(1), 1-14.

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2016) Forecasting the Success of Invasive Marine Species; Lessons Learned from Purposeful Reef Fish Releases in the Hawaiian Islands. Fisheries Research (174) 190-220

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ, Dodge RE (2015) Measuring Bahamian Lionfish Impacts to Marine Ecological Services using Habitat Equivalency Analysis. Marine Biology 162 (12) 2501-2512

Johnston MW, Purkis, SJ (2015) A coordinated and sustained international strategy is required to turn the tide on the Atlantic lionfish invasion. Marine Ecology Progress Series (533) 219-235

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2015) Hurricanes Accelerated the Florida-Bahamas Lionfish Invasion. Global Change Biology 21, 2249-2260.

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2014) Are lionfish set for a Mediterranean invasion? Modelling explains why this is unlikely to occur. Marine Pollution Bulletin 88(1) 138-147

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2014) Lionfish in the eastern tropical and north Pacific; A cellular automaton approach to risk assessment. Biological Invasions 16(12) 2681-2695

GIGA Community of Scientists (2013) Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance (GIGA): Developing Community Resources to Study Diverse Invertebrate Genomes. Journal of Heredity. 2014:105(1) 1-18

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2013) Modeling the Potential Spread of the Recently Identified Non-Native Panther Grouper (Chromileptes altivelis) in the Atlantic Using a Cellular Automaton Approach. PLoS ONE 8(8) e73023 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073023

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2012) Invasionsoft: A web-enabled tool for invasive species colonization predictions. Aquatic Invasions 7(3) 405-417

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2011) Spatial analysis of the invasion of lionfish in the western Atlantic and Caribbean. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62(6) 1218-1226

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