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Matthew Johnston, Ph.D.

Matthew Johnston
Assistant Professor
DEEPEND Data Manager
Dept. of Biological Sciences
(954) 262-3641 johnmatt@nova.edu

Education

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

About Dr. Johnston

A programmer in a prior career, I use computation to understand how physical and biological processes drive population dynamics of native and invasive species using a variety of modeling and GIS techniques. I instruct undergraduate general biology II and graduate GIS/remote sensing at NSU and advise graduate students through a variety of thesis projects that are computational-focused.

I am also the Data Manager and a Research Scientist for the DEEPEND Consortium, helping to define pelagic habitat given physical ocean processes and to describe how these differing habitats may influence populations of deep pelagic fauna. I am also actively involved in DEEPEND and DoBS outreach and developed and maintain the DEEPEND website and the DOBS website. With the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), I am the author of and maintain the GHRI shark tracking website which is a primary outlet of outreach for the Institute. Ongoing research with GHRI focuses on modeling the movement patterns and habitat usage of pelagic sharks to determine present habitat usage and how future climate change may affect the distribution of these important apex predators.

Through all of my interests, I use data mining, manipulation, and visualization to better understand complex physical and biological processes in the ocean and on land. A goal is to distill them and make them relatable. My research has been widely published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and I frequently gives talks to a variety of audiences in academia and industry. Please visit my website at the link above. 

Research Interests

  • Quantitative ecology
  • Synthetic replication of natural systems
  • Quantitative GIS/remote sensing 
  • Invasive species – species distribution modeling (SDMs), risk analysis, etc.
  • Effects of climate change on animal populations and their distribution
  • Connectivity of marine fauna from corals to fishes
  • Ocean forecast modeling using globa/regional models such HYCOM/ROMS
  • Ocean circulation, eddy, and frontal analysis
  • Image analysis

Byrne ME, Wetherbee BM, Vaudo J, Johnston MW, Harvey GM, Shivji MS (in preparation) Geographically variable
influence of environmental characteristics on the movements of a large pelagic predator. Ecology.

Cowen N**, Krysko K, Johnston M (in preparation) Evaluating the ecological status of the introduced Nile monitor
(Varanus niloticus) in Florida: forecasting presence and population expansion using computational geographic
information systems. Biological Invasions.

Reilly S**, Hayes K, Johnston M (in preparation) Forecasting the spread and invasive potential of apple snails
(Pomacea spp.) in Florida. Biological Invasions

Bernard AM, Johnston MW, Reichert MJ, Shivji MS (in preparation) Genetic and biophysical modeling evidence of panmixia over generations of Atlantic red grouper (Epinephelus morio). Molecular Ecology.

Boswell K, D’Elia M, Johnston M, Wells D, Warren J, Sutton T (submitted) Oceanographic variability and solar
elevation controls patterns of mesopelagic scattering layers. ICES Journal of Marine Science.

Johnston MW, Milligan RJ, Easson CG, de Rada S, English D, Penta B, Sutton TT (submitted) Characterizing
Pelagic habitats in the Gulf of Mexico Using Model, Empirical, and Remotely-Sensed Data. Journal of Marine Systems.

Johnston MW, Larsson A (in revision) Perspectives of biophysical modelling with implications on biological
connectivity of cold water corals in the Mediterranean. In Past, Present and Future of Mediterranean Cold‐Water Corals. Eds C. Jimenez and C. Orejas. Springer

Riegl B, Johnston MW, Bauman A, Howells E, Burt J, Purkis S, Sheppard CRC (in revision) Population collapse and extinction threshold of a keystone coral species due to climate change and local man-made impacts. Global Change Biology.

O’Brien CM, Johnston MW, Kerstetter D (in press) Ports and Pests: Assessing the Threat of Aquatic Invasive Species Introduced by Maritime Shipping Activity in Cuba. Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Sylvain P*, Johnston MW*, Vaissièrec AC, Bergerd F, Jacoba C, Dodge R (2017) An update of the Visual_HEA software to improve the implementation of the Habitat Equivalency Analysis method. Ecological Engineering 105, 276-283.

Johnston MW, Bernard AM (2017) A bank divided: quantifying a spatial and temporal connectivity break between the Campeche Bank and the north-eastern Gulf of Mexico. Marine Biology 164(1) 1-15.

Johnston MW, Bernard AM, Shivji MS (2017) Forecasting lionfish sources and sinks in the Atlantic: Are Gulf of Mexico reef fisheries at risk? Coral Reefs 36, 169-181.

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 http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps11399

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2015) Hurricanes Accelerated the Florida-Bahamas Lionfish Invasion. Global Change Biology 21, 2249-2260. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12874

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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.09.013

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

Conference presentations:

Johnston MW, Milligan RJ, Easson CG, English D, de Rada S, Penta B, Sutton TT (2018) DEEPEND: A Tool for Classification of Mesoscale Water mass Structure for Pelagic Community Analyses. 2018 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Johnston MW, Milligan RJ, Easson CG, English D, de Rada S, Penta B, Sutton TT (2018) DEEPEND: A Tool for Classification of Mesoscale Water mass Structure for Pelagic Community Analyses. 2018 HCNSO Science Symposium, Dania Beach, Florida, USA.

Johnston MW, Milligan RJ, Easson CG, English D, de Rada S, Penta B, Sutton TT (2018) DEEPEND: A Tool for Classification of Mesoscale Water mass Structure for Pelagic Community Analyses. 2018 Ocean Sciences
Meeting, Portland, Oregon, USA.

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2017) Hurricanes Accelerated the Florida–Bahamas Lionfish Invasion. 20th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species, Coral Springs, Florida, USA.

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2017) Hurricanes Accelerated the Florida–Bahamas Lionfish Invasion. 38th Meeting of the United States Coral Reef Task Force, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2017) Biophysical Modeling Suggests Hurricanes Accelerated the Florida–Bahamas Lionfish Invasion. American Fisheries Society 147th Annual Meeting, Tampa, Florida.

Johnston MW, Bernard AM (2017) Forecasting Lionfish Sources and Sinks in the Atlantic Using Biophysical Modeling. American Fisheries Society 147th Annual Meeting, Tampa, Florida.

deRada S, Penta B, Sutton T, Johnston M, Milligan R, Easson C, Cook A, Boswell K, Lembke C, English D, Hu C (2017) Physical-bio-optical modeling in the Gulf of Mexico: Analysis of water mass relationships to pelagic habitat. 2017 ASLO Ocean Sciences Meeting, Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Sutton T, Cook A, Boswell k, Bracken-Grissom H, deRada S, English D, Eytan R, Hu C, Johnston M, Judkins H, Lembke C, Lopez J, Moore J, Nizinski M, Penta B, Romero I, Rooker J, Shivji M, Vecchione M, Wells D, Youngbluth M, Fenolio D, Frank T (2017) Deep-pelagic research in the Gulf of Mexico: The DEEPEND Consortium. 2017 ASLO Ocean Sciences Meeting, Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Johnston MW, Milligan RJ, Easson CG, de Rada S, Penta B, Sutton T (2017) DEEPEND: Characterizing Pelagic Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico Using Model, Empirical, and Remotely-Sensed Data. Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and
Ecosystem Science Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

deRada S, Penta B, Johnston MW, Milligan RJ, Easson CG, Sutton T (2017) DEEPEND: Relating Pelagic Habitat to Ocean Stratification. Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Johnston MW, Bernard AM, Shivji MS (2016) Genetic and Biophysical Modeling Assessment of Red Grouper (Epinephelus Morio) Connectivity in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeastern USA. 69th Annual Gulf and Caribbean
Fisheries Institute Conference, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

Johnston MW, Bernard AM, Shivji MS (2016) Lionfish sources and sinks in the Atlantic: are reef fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico at risk? 69th Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Conference, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

Johnston MW, Bernard AM, Reichert MJ, Shivji MS (2016) Genetic and biophysical modeling assessment of connectivity in the red grouper, Epinephelus Morio. 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, Honolulu, HI, USA.

Cowen N, Johnston MW (2016) Monitoring a problem: evaluating the ecological status of the invasive Nile Monitor in Florida and forecasting population expansion using computational GIS. HCNSO Ocean Science Jamboree, Dania
Beach, FL, USA.

Johnston MW (2016) A bank divided: quantifying the spatial-temporal connectivity break on the Campeche Bank. HCNSO Ocean Science Jamboree, Dania Beach, FL, USA.

O'Brien C, Johnston MW (2016) Port Mariel, Cuba: promise, prosperity, and pests. HCNSO Ocean Science Jamboree, Dania Beach, FL, USA.

deRada S, Penta B, Johnston MW, Sutton T (2016) A Gulf of Mexico comparative analysis of numerical model results, cruise-based observations, and historical data. Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference. Tampa, Florida, USA.

Sutton TT, Johnston MW, and 18 others (2015) Understanding deep–pelagic ecosystem variability in an age of increasing deep–ocean commercial activity: A Gulf of Mexico case study and new research initiative (DEEPEND). Deep–Sea Biology Symposium, Aveiro, Portugal.

Sutton TT, Cook AC, Johnston MW, and 17 others (2015) DEEPEND: Deep Pelagic Nekton Dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico. Deep–Sea Biology Symposium, Aveiro, Portugal.

Sutton TT, Cook AC, Johnston MW, and 17 others (2015) DEEPEND: Deep Pelagic Nekton Dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico. 2015 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Reno, Nevada, USA.

Sutton TT, Cook AC, Johnston MW, and 17 others (2015) DEEPEND: Deep Pelagic Nekton Dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico. Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, Houston, TX

Lopez J, Johnston MW (2014) Establishing a “Global Invertebrate Genome Alliance” (GIGA) for comparative genomics. Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution Meeting

Johnston MW, Purkis SJ (2013) Lionfish in the eastern Pacific and Mediterranean – assessing the invasion risk with cellular automaton models. FWC Lionfish Summit Report

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