Top of Page Skip to main content

David S. Gilliam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Marine and Environmental Sciences
(954) 262-3634


  • B.S. - University of Miami
  • M.S. and Ph.D. - Nova Southeastern University Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography

Area(s) of Research

My research interests focus on coral reef ecology as applied to restoration, assessment, and monitoring. My projects have strong resource management goals through collaboration with local, State, and Federal agencies. Research efforts include: investigating the basic ecology and potential restoration of Acropora cervicornis populations, two long-term SE Florida reef monitoring projects, and assessing the success of several reef restoration projects and investigating methods to improve restoration success. In addition to collaborating with resource managers on research projects, I actively work with and advise managers on marine and coastal issues. I am currently Vice Chairman for the Coral Advisory Panel for the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council. I work very closely with the Florida Department of Environmental Protect (FL DEP) and NOAA sponsored Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative. I am also an advisor for FL DEP and FL Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on reef damage and restoration issues.

Current Graduate students

  • Elizabeth Larson -MS - Dissertation - Population dynamics of Acropora cervicornis and the development of a species specific monitoring protocol.
  • Jenna Lueg - MS - MS title: Gametogenesis and spawning of Solenastrea bournoni and Stephanocoenia intersepta and the fecundity of four common transplanted coral species offshore southeast Florida.
  • Stephanie Bush - MS title: Injury recovery, survival, growth and artificial reattachment of the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta in Broward County, Southeast Florida.
  • Paola Espitia - MS title: Fecundity of the transplanted octocoral, Eunicea flexuosa, in southeast Florida.
  • Jennifer Mellein - MS Title: Juvenile scleractinian coral abundance and composition and their influence on population size frequency distribution (Southeast Florida).
  • Mauricio López Padierna - MS title:  Stony Coral Abundance, Distribution. and Health at the Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano, Veracruz, Mexico. A Management Perspective.
  • Zach Ostroff - MS title:  Assessing effects of genotype and culture method on staghorn coral fragment growth and survivorship.
  • Chuck Walton - MS title:  A Microbiological Investigation of Acropora cervicornis (Staghorn Coral) Rapid Tissue Loss Offshore Broward County, Florida.
  • Meaghan Johnson - MS title:  Enhancement of staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, restoration in South Florida based on sub-regional and sub-zonal transplanted fragment survivorship growth rates.
  • Emily McGrath - MS title: The feasibility of rubble-binding sponge propagation for use in reef restoration.
  • Ari Halperin - MS research interest: coral reef restoration.
  • Nicole D'Antonio - MS research interest: stony coral growth, coral reef mitigation and restoration.
  • Cody Bliss - MS research interest: coral reef restoration.
  • Theresa Robitaille - MS research interest: coral reef restoration.


Jordan, L.K.B., K.W. Banks B, L.E. Fisher, B.K. Walker and, D.S. Gilliam. 2010. Elevated sedimentation on coral reefs adjacent to a beach nourishment project. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 60: 261-271.

Gilliam, D.S. 2010. Southeast Florida Coral Reef Evaluation and Monitoring Project 2009 Year 7 Final Report. Prepared for: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish & Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 36 pp.

Gilliam, DS, Walker, BW., Saelens, S., Fahy, D., and Kosmynin, VN. 2009. Recovery of injured giant barrel sponges, Xestospongia muta, offshore southeast Florida. Proc. 11th International Coral Reef Symp., Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA. Pp 1230-1234.

Fisher, LE., Banks, K., Gilliam, DS., Dodge, RE., Stout, D., Vargas-Angel, B. 2009. Real Time Coral Stress Observations Before, During, and After Beach Nourishment Dredging Offshore Southeast Florida, USA. .Proc. 11th International Coral Reef Symp., Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA. Pp 34-37.

Rubin, ET, Moulding, AL., Lopez, JV., Gilliam, DS., Kosmynin, VN, and Dodge, RE. 2009. Scleractinian coral recruitment patterns to reefs physically damaged by ship groundings. Proc. 11th International Coral Reef Symp., Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA. Pp 326-330.

Sathe, MP, Gilliam, DS, Dodge, RE, and Fisher, LE. 2009. Patterns in Southeast Florida Coral Reef Community Composition. Proc. 11th International Coral Reef Symp., Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA. Pp 806-809.

Gilliam, D.S., Dodge, R.E., Spieler, R.E., Jordan, L.K.B., and Goergen, E. 2009. Marine Biological Monitoring in Broward County, Florida: Technical Report 07-01. Prepared for: Broward County Board of County Commissioners Department of Planning and Environmental, Protection Biological Resource Division. pp. 105.

Rangel-Avalos, M.A., Jordan, L.K.B., Walker, B.K., Gilliam, D.S., Hinojosa, E.C. and Spieler, R.E. 2008. Fish and Coral Reef Communities of the Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano (Veracruz Coral Reef System National Park) Veracruz, Mexico: Preliminary Results. Proc. of the 60th Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Meeting, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. pp. 427-435.

Collier, C., Dodge, R., Gilliam, D., Gracie, K., Gregg, L., Jaap, W., Mastry, M., and Poulos, N. 2007. Rapid Response and Restoration for Coral Reef Injuries in Southeast Florida: Guidelines and Recommendations. The Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI), Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 61 pp.

Fahy, E.G., T.P. Quinn, D.P. Fahy, R.E. Dodge, R.E. Spieler, and D.S. Gilliam. 2006. Growth and Survivorship of Meandrina meandrites and Montastrea cavernosa Coral Core Transplants and Effectiveness of Plugging Core Holes in Transplant Donor Colonies. Proc. 10th International Coral Reef Symp., Okinawa, Japan.

Jaap, W.C., J.H. Hudson, R.E. Dodge, D. Gilliam, R. Shaul, 2006. Coral reef restoration with case studies from Florida. Pp. 478 - 514 (chapter 16) in I.M. Cote and J.D. Reynolds (editors) Coral Reef Conservation. University of Cambridge Press, Cambridge, UK.

Monty, J.A., D.S Gilliam, K. Banks, D. Stout, and R.E. Dodge. 2006. Coral of Opportunity Survivorship and the Use of Coral Nurseries in Coral Reef Restoration. Proc. 10 th International Coral Reef Symp., Okinawa, Japan.

Vargas-Angel B, Riegl B, Gilliam D, Dodge RE. 2006. An experimental histopathological rating scale of sediment stress in the Caribbean coral Montastrea cavernosa. Proceedings of the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium, Okinawa: 1168-117

Banks, K. C. Beaver, J. Bohnsack, R.E. Dodge, D. Gilliam, W. Jaap, B. Keller, V.R. Leeworthy, T. Matthews, R. Ruiz-Carus, D. Santavy, R. Spieler. 2005. The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of Florida: pp. 150-201. In: J. Waddell (ed.), The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2005. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 11. NOAA/NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment's Biogeography Team. Silver Spring, MD. 522 pp.

Jordan, L.K.B., Gilliam, D.S., Sherman, R.L., and Spieler, R.E. 2005. Reef fish assemblage structure affected by size variations of artificial patch reefs. J. Exp. Mar. Bio. Ecol. 326 (170-186).

Return to top of page