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Susan S. Bell

Susan S. Bell

Susan S. Bell


Office: SCA 332
Phone: 813-974-2542
Lab: SCA 324, SCA 335
Fax: 974-3263



Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1979.


Marine Ecology, Restoration Ecology

A major focus of my research has been seagrass ecosystems with special emphasis on plant-animal interactions. I am interested in exploring ecological relationships among fish, invertebrates and plant structure. Likewise, I am interested in how animal activity influences spatial distributional patterns of seagrasses. Much of my research focuses on field studies and the seagrass beds in Tampa Bay, located in close proximity to USF, provide excellent experimental systems as well as suitable contrast to other systems within which I have worked (e.g. North Carolina, New Zealand).

My present research interests include examining landscape ecology of seagrass beds and investigating the links between seagrass change and faunal responses to such changes. An additional topic of investigation in which I have been actively involved is restoration of seagrass habitats with a special emphasis on evaluation of functional equivalency of created seagrass beds. Some of my work has addressed short-term questions about faunal invasion and productivity but I am also engaged in longer term studies of fish feeding and invertebrate assemblages in constructed seagrass beds.

Specialty Area

Marine Ecology

Current Courses

RefCourseSecCourse TitleCRDayTimeLocation
88128BSC 4910037Undergraduate Research

TBA 100
92384BSC 4933067Restoration Ecology
Consent of Instructor Required flyer

SCA 202
81758BSC 6910015Directed Research

85534BSC 6932014Advance in Benthic Ecology
Non Bio Majors CI

SCA 333
92360BSC 6932069Restoration Ecology
Non Bio Majors CI

SCA 202
82200BSC 6935008Graduate Seminar in Biology

SCA 202
92993BSC 6971014Thesis: Master's

81833BSC 7910003Directed Research

81737BSC 7980002Dissertation: Doctoral


Recent Journal Articles

Susan Bell

Recent Publications

Tewfik, A., S. S. Bell, K.S. McCann, and K. Morrow. 2016. Coastal predator diet modified with altered habitat morphology - a dynamic food web approach. PLOS One: DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147759.

Peterson, J.M. and S. S. Bell. 2015. Saltmarsh Boundary Modulates Dispersal of Mangrove Propagules: Implications for Mangrove Migration with Sea-Level Rise. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0119128.

Pu, R. S. S. Bell and D. English. 2015. Developing Hyperspectral Vegetation Indices for Identifying Seagrass Species and Cover Classes. J. Coast. Res. 31:595 – 615.

Pu, R., S. S. Bell and C. Meyer. 2014. Mapping and Assessing Seagrass Bed Changes along Central Florida’s West Coast Using Multitemporal Landsat TM Imagery. Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. 149:68-79.

Middlebrooks, M.L., S. S. Bell, N. Curtis and S.K. Pierce. 2014. Atypical plant–herbivore association of algal food and a kleptoplastic sea slug (Elysia clarki) revealed by DNA barcoding and field surveys. Mar. Biol. 161:1429-1440.

Krebs, J., S. S. Bell and C. McIvor. 2014. Nekton Community Structure Varies in Response to Coastal Urbanization Near Mangrove Tidal Tributaries. Estuar. Coasts 37:815-831.

S. S. Bell, M.O. Hall and Middlebrooks, M.L. 2014. The value of long-term assessment of restoration: support from a seagrass investigation. Restoration Ecology 22:304-310.

Morrow, K., S. S. Bell and A. Tewfik. 2014. Variation in ghost crab trophic links on sandy beaches. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 502: 197–206.

J. Krebs, S. S. Bell, and C. McIvor. 2014. Assessing the link between coastal urbanization and the quality of nekton habitat in mangrove tidal tributaries. Estuaries and Coasts 37: 832-846.

W. Ellis and S. S. Bell. 2008. Tidal influence on a fringing mangrove intertidal fish community as observed by in situ video recording: implications for studies of tidally migrating nekton. Marine Ecology Progress Series 370: 207-219.

J. W. Bowles and S. S. Bell. 2004. Simulated herbivory and the dynamics of disease in Thalassia testudinum. Marine Ecology Progress Series 283: 127-132.

B. D. Robbins and S. S. Bell. 2004. Relationship between a hermit crab and its shell resource: spatial patterns within a seagrass-dominated landscape. Marine Ecology Progress Series 282: 221-227.

M. L. Cadenasso, S. T. A. Pickett, K. C. Weathers, S. S. Bell, T. L. Benning, M. M. Carreiro and T. E. Dawson. 2003. An interdisciplinary and synthetic approach to ecological boundaries. BioScience 53(8): 717-722.

S. S. Bell, M. O. Hall, S. Soffian and K. M. Madley. 2002. Assessing the impact of boat propeller scars on fish and shrimp utilizing seagrass beds. Ecological Applications 12(1): 206-217.

R. A. Brooks and S. S. Bell. 2002. Mangrove response to attack by a root boring isopod: root repair versus architectural modification. Marine Ecology Progress Series 231: 85-90.

S. L. Jensen, and S. S. Bell. 2001. Seagrass growth and patch dynamics: cross-scale morphological plasticity. Plant Ecology 155(2): 201-217.

M. S. Fonseca, P. E. Whitfield, N. M. Kelly, and S. S. Bell. 2001. Modeling seagrass landscape pattern and associated ecological attributes. Ecological Applications 12: 218-237.

R. A. Brooks and S. S. Bell. 2001. Mobile corridors in marine landscapes: enhancement of faunal exchange at seagrass/sand ecotones. Journal of Experimental Marine Biological Ecology 264:67-84.

R. A. Brooks and S. S. Bell. 2001. Colonization of a dynamic substrate: factors affecting recruitment of the wood boring isopod, Sphaeroma tenebrans, onto red mangrove roots. Oecologia 127:522-532.

S. S. Bell, R. A. Brooks, B. D. Robbins, M. A. Fonseca and M. O. Hall. 2001. Faunal response to fragmentation in seagrass habitats: implications for restoration efforts in a marine environment. Biological Conservation 100:115-123.

S. S. Bell, R. A. Brooks and W. E. Ellis. 2000. Structural spacing and the determination of habitat complexity: examining the Bartholomew et al. (2000) index. Marine Ecology Progress Series 248: 293-295.

B. D. Robbins, and S. S. Bell. 2000. Dynamics of a subtidal seagrass landscape: seasonal and annual change in relation to water depth. Ecology 81:1193-1205.

S. S. Bell, B. D. Robbins and S. L. Jensen. 1999. Gap dynamics in a seagrass landscape. Ecosystems 2:493-504.

M. S. Fonseca and S. S. Bell. 1998. Influence of physical setting on seagrass landscapes near Beaufort, North Carolina, USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series 171:109-121.

S. S. Bell and M. O. Hall. 1997. Drift macroalgal abundance in seagrass beds: investigating large-scale associations with physical and biotic attributes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 147: 277-283.

S. L. Jensen, B. D. Robbins and S. S. Bell. 1997. On the use of the reconstructive technique: criticisms, comments and questions. Marine Ecology Progress Series 146: 305-309.

S. L. Jensen, B. D. Robbins and S. S. Bell. 1996. Predicting population decline: seagrass demographics and the reconstructive technique. Marine Ecology Progress Series 136: 267-276.

K. Walters and S. S. Bell. 1994. Significance of copepod emergence to benthic, pelagic, and phytal linkages in a subtidal seagrass bed. Marine Ecology Progress Series 108: 237-249.

S. S. Bell and G. F. Hicks. 1991. Marine landscapes and faunal recruitment: a field test with seagrasses and copepods. Marine Ecology Progress Series 73: 61-68.

K. Tipton and S. S. Bell. 1988. Foraging patterns of two syngnathid fishes: importance of harpacticoid copepods. Marine Ecology Progress Series 47: 31-43.

R. A. Pangallo and S. S. Bell. 1988. Dynamics of the aboveground and belowground structure of the seagrass Halodule wrightii. Marine Ecology Progress Series 43: 297-301.