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Richard L. Turner

Emeritus Faculty | College of Engineering and Science - Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences

Educational Background

B.A., Zoology University of Maine 1969
M.S., Zoology University of Maine 1971
Ph.D., Biology University of South Florida 1977

Professional Experience

Dr. Turner joined the faculty of Florida Tech in 1976. His postdoctoral studies were done at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (1982-1983) during a sabbatical year. He has served as president of the Florida Academy of Sciences for two terms (1985-1986, 2009-2011) and as a member of the national nominating committee of Sigma Xi (1988-1991). Since 1994, he has been business manager of Florida Scientist, the peer-reviewed journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences. Turner organized the Fifth North American Echinoderm Conference in 2008. Of his 46 publications, 40 appear in refereed journals and books, and he is coauthor of the textbook Introduction to Marine Biology, now in its fourth edition.  Turner retired in May 2017 but continues to do research, to publish, and to serve the professional and lay communities.  He is not, however, advising new graduate students.

Additional Duties

Liaison for Florida Institute of Technology and Florida Academy of Sciences

Selected Publications

Turner, R. L. 2021. Avian biodiversity of the Indian River Lagoon System, Florida. Florida Scientist 84(4).

Turner, R. L. 2021. Biodiversity of the Indian River Lagoon System: a cautionary tale from the birds. Florida Scientist 84(2-3):214-225.

Turner, R. L., B. D. Graham, and J. E. Miller 2021. Mithrodia clavigera (Lamarck, 1816) (Echinodermata: Asteroidea: Mithrodiidae) from the central Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 134:8-26.

Curtis, M. D., & R. L. Turner. 2019. Development and morphology of ciliary urns in the sea cucumber Synaptula hydriformis (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea). Invertebrate Biology 138(4):e12264.

Hayes, K. A., R. L. Burks, A. Castro-Vazquez, P. C. Darby, H. Heras, P. R. Martín, J.-W. Qiu, S. C. Thiengo, I. A. Vega, T. Wada, Y. Yusa, S. Burela, M. P. Cadierno, J. A. Cueto, F. A. Dellagnola, M. S. Dreon, M. V. Frassa, M. Giraud-Billoud, M. S. Godoy, S. Ituarte, E. Koch, K. Matsukura, M. Y. Pasquevich, C. Rodriguez, L. Saveanu, M. E. Seuffert, E. E. Strong, J. Sun, N. E. Tamburi, M. J. Tiecher, R. L. Turner, P. L. Valentine-Darby & R. H. Cowie. 2015. Insights from an integrated view of the biology of apple snails (Caenogastropoda, Ampullariidae). Malacologia 58(1–2):245–302.

Karleskint, G. Jr., R. L. Turner & J. W. Small. 2013 [2012]. Introduction to Marine Biology, 4th edition. Cengage Learning, Belmont CA. 563 pp.

Turner, R. L. 2013. Chapter 20: Echinaster. Pp. 200–214 in: J. M. Lawrence, ed. Asteroidea: the Biology and Ecology of Starfish. Baltimore (MD): Johns Hopkins University Press.

Kelly, C. J. & R. L. Turner. 2011. Distribution of the hermit crabs Clibanarius vittatus and Pagurus maclaughlinae in the northern Indian River Lagoon, Florida: a reassessment after 30 years. Journal of Crustacean Biology 31(2):296–303.

Turner, R.L. and J.M. Boucher. 2010. Loss of arm spines in the basketstar Astrophyton muricatum (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea: Gorgonocephalidae), with a key to West Indian basketstars. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 123: 1726.

Rhodes-Ondi, S.E. and R.L. Turner. 2010. Salinity tolerance and osmotic response of the estuarine hermit crab Pagurus maclaughlinae in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida. Estuarine, Coastal, and Shelf Science 86: 189196.

Connelly, P.E. and R.L. Turner. 2009. Epibionts of the eastern surf chiton, Ceratozona squalida (Polyplacophora: Mopaliidae), from the Atlantic coast of Florida. Bulletin of Marine Science 85: 187202.

Turner, R.L. 2007. Effects of long-term exposure to low salinity on the brackish-water amphiurid brittlestar Ophiophragmus fiilograneus (Lyman, 1875) from the Indian River Lagoon System, Florida. Florida Scientist 70: 464-475.

Turner, R.L. and P.M. Mikkelsen. 2004. Annotated bibliography of the Florida Applesnail, Pomacea paludosa (Say) (Gastropoda: Ampullariidae), from 18241999. Nemouria 48: 1187.

Turner, R.L. and B.D. Graham. 2003. Calocidaris micans (Cidaridae) and Pseudoboletia maculata (Toxopneustidae): additions to the sea urchin fauna (Echinodermata:Echinoidea) of the Gulf of Mexico. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 116: 6181.

Portell, R.W., R.L. Turner and J.L. Beerensson. 2003. Occurrence and significance of the Atlantic ghost crab Ocypode quadrata from the upper Pleistocene to Holocene Anastasia formation of Florida. Journal of Crustacean Biology 23: 712722.

Turner, R.L. 1998. Effects of submergence on embryonic survival and developmental rate of the Florida applesnail, Pomacea paludosa: implications for egg predation and marsh management. Florida Scientist 61: 118129.

Taylor, D.S. and R.L. Turner. 1998. Notes on mosquito collections from Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras, Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 14: 214215.


Echinoderms of the Western Atlantic: distributions of echinoderms on the continental shelf and slope of the Atlantic coast of Florida; brittlestars of Project Hourglass in the Gulf of Mexico; systematic revisions of echinoderm groups and of species descriptions that are new to science; low endemism and strong Caribbean affinity of the echinoderm fauna in the Gulf of Mexico in terms of the impact of the Wisconsin Glaciation and post-glacial climate on salinity, temperature, currents, and sea level in the Gulf of Mexico.

Morphology of Echinoderms: form and function of echinoderm pedicellariae; morphology of ciliary urns of sea cucumbers; skeletal morphology and growth.

General Biology of the Florida Applesnail: The effects of hydrology on population dynamics of the snail; physiology of the embryos, which develop encapsulated in clusters of calcareous shells on stems of emergent plants above the water's surface; water balance, UV protection, and ultrastructure of the eggshell.

Research & Project Interests

My research focuses on the general biology of echinoderms, a group of marine animals that includes seastars, sea urchins and brittlestars. My studies have ranged from biochemistry and ultrastructure to ecology, but much of the effort has been directed toward reproductive biology, physiological ecology, and morphology and systematics. Most of my studies on systematics have been in conjunction with government agencies and environmental consulting firms that are engaged in assessment of seafloor communities.
My research also has investigated reproductive biology and physiological ecology of the Florida applesnail for several years. The largest aquatic snail in North America, inhabiting marshes, swamps, lakes, rivers and artificial waterways throughout the state, it is a critical species because it is the primary food of the endangered Florida snail kite and the limpkin, and the applesnail is food for a variety of other birds, reptiles, mammals and fish.

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