RESEARCH INTERESTS Conservation Biology, Genetics, Reproductive Biology, Water Quality, Fish Biology and Ecology, Toxicology, Fisheries, Natural and Artificial Reef Systems, Anthropogenic Impacts to Marine Life
EDUCATION University of Southern Mississippi, Ocean Springs, MS M.S. Coastal Sciences, GPA: 3.8 Emphasis: Quantitative Fisheries Ecology / Toxicology, 2012 Thesis: Gene expression and growth as indicators of effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus)
Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, TX B.S. Environmental Science , GPA: 3.6 Emphasis: Marine and Coastal Resources Management, 2010 Thesis: The role of oyster reefs as essential fish habitat in estuarine ecosystems
PUBLICATIONS Brewton, R.A., C.H. Downey, M.J. Ajemian, and G.W. Stunz. In Prep. Trophic ecology of Red Snapper Lutjanus campechanus on natural and artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.
C.H. Downey, R.A. Brewton, M.J. Ajemian, and G.W. Stunz. In Prep. Reproductive biology of Red Snapper Lutjanus campechanus on natural and artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.
Gain, I.E., R.A. Brewton, M.M. Robillard, K.D. Johnson, D.L. Smee, and G.W. Stunz. 2017. Macrofauna using intertidal oyster reef varies in relation to postion within the estuarine mosaic. Marine Biology 164(1):8.
Brewton, R.A., M.J. Ajemian, P.C. Young, and G.W. Stunz. 2016. Highly opportunistic foraging and parasite burden of Dolphinfish Coryphaena hippurus in the western Gulf of Mexico. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 145(4): 839-853.
Brown-Peterson, N.J., R.A. Brewton, R.J. Griffit and R.S. Fulford. 2014. Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the reproductive biology of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). In: B.A. Alford, C. Green, and M.S. Peterson, eds. Impacts of Oil Spill Disasters on Marine Fisheries in North America. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. pp.231-246.
Brewton, R.A., R.S. Fulford, and R. J. Griffitt. 2013. Gene expression and growth as indicators of effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health 76: 1-12.
INVITED SEMINARS Brewton, R.A., R.S. Fulford and R. J. Griffitt. 2014. Gene expression and growth as indicators of effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). United States Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf Ecology Division. Gulf Breeze, FL.
TECHNICAL REPORTS Lapointe, B.E., L.Herren, A. Paule, A. Sleeman, and Brewton, R.A. 2016. Charlotte County water quality assessment, Phase 1: Data analysis and recommendations for long-term monitoring. Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners, Charlotte County Utilities. Port Charlotte, FL.
Stunz, G.W., Ajemian, M.J., Streich, M.K., Brewton, R.A., Downey, C.H., and Hall, Q. 2016. Investigation of the relative habitat value of oil/gas platforms and natural banks in enhancing stock building of reef fish in the western Gulf of Mexico. Southeast Regional Office, National Marine Fisheries Service. St. Petersburg, FL.
SELECT PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYMENT 2016 – present Research Coordinator, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University Responsible for project management, report writing, graduate student mentorship, sample collection, and data analysis.
2016 – 2016 Environmental Scientist II, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Maintain, calibrate, and operate environmental monitoring and GPS equipment (ie. YSI, Trimble, Garmin). Prep and plan sample collection trips. Operate off-road vehicles and canoes. Assist in the management of sample databases. Collect water samples from Florida canals, bays, streams, and wells following state-wide SOPs. Ensure quality of collected samples. Operate and trailer small boats.
2014 – 2016 Research Specialist II, Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi Responsible for a multi-species assessment of reef fish on offshore habitats using stable isotopes, diet analysis, and reproductive histology. Participated in fieldwork, laboratory sample processing, data analysis, and manuscript production for the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation (CSSC) at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. Deployed, retrieved, downloaded, and maintained acoustic receivers (VEMCO and Lotek). Deployed and operated a Video Ray remotely operated vehicle (ROV) on offshore reefs. Maintained and analyzed a Microsoft Access database. Operated and trailered boats (20-36’). Mentored students and led them in laboratory work and research. Created, updated, and managed the CSSC’s social media accounts. Operated and calibrated a YSI and Hydrolab water quality meter.
2014 – 2014 Environmental Scientist II, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Biologist on the Water Quality Standards team in the Water Permits division. Worked independently to develop a database of fish and invertebrate species sensitive to various toxicants. Participated in a multi-agency approach for the assessment of coastal dissolved oxygen standards.
2012– 2014 Research Associate II, Marine Fish Lab, Auburn University Analyzed the diet of Red Snapper using molecular tools to identify prey items in stomach contents that were unidentifiable using traditional methods. Surveyed fish populations on reefs using SCUBA, hook and line, and fish traps. Assisted in the operation and maintenance of two research vessels (36 and 44'). Coordinated the monthly settlement of the university purchase card for the lab and the maintained budgets for various grants.
2010 – 2012 Graduate Research Assistant, Gulf Coast Research Lab, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Investigated the effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on fish gene expression, reproductive health, and growth using field collections, laboratory exposures, and qPCR. Analyzed large fisheries datasets using SigmaPlot, Excel, and R. Coauthored grant proposals, progress reports to funding agencies, and peer-reviewed publications. Participated in routine gillnet surveys of inshore and coastal fishes. Deployed and retrieved sampling equipment from subtidal oyster reef sites using SCUBA in zero-visibility conditions. Coordinated and led multi-state sampling trips in conjunction with state wildlife agencies and academic researchers. Operated small vessels inshore (18 - 22' skiffs).
2009 – 2010 Research Assistant, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Completed a comparative assessment of intertidal oyster reef as essential fish habitat. Managed daily laboratory operations of the Fisheries Ecology Lab. Trained students to identify estuarine species and maintained identification key for fish and crustaceans. Operated boats (16 - 25') inshore and participated in bi-annual vessel maintenance. Organized laboratory samples and equipment for grant-funded projects, assisted with field collections, and preparation of figures and tables for reports.
2009 – 2009 Field Assistant, Environmental Microbiology Lab, Texas A&M University-CC Collected water samples, per EPA standards, from fresh water inflow sources draining to impacted Texas bays. Used geospatial systems and GPS to map inflow sampling sites and locations of creek beds. Collected water samples from kayaks and on foot. Photographed study sites for use in contamination investigation. Collected field data and environmental parameters.
RELATED PROFESSIONAL SKILLS Adept with molecular and toxicology laboratory techniques Preparation and purification of nucleic acids Development of PCR and qPCR primers Troubleshooting of molecular assays Experienced with many computer software statistical and geospatial packages R, SigmaPlot, PRIMER, SAS, ArcGIS Skilled at laboratory techniques Stable isotope sample preparation Fish dissection and tissue collection methods Stomach content analysis: visual and with DNA barcoding Histological analysis of tissues Extensive field research experience Over 150 logged days at sea, including handling boats inshore and offshore in diverse weather conditions Extensive experience planning, prepping, and leading field sampling trips Experienced with operation of VideoRay Pro-4 micro-ROV SCUBA certified (SSI Openwater) Extensive experience performing SCUBA fish surveys and underwater equipment maintenance SSI Nitrox; as well as PADI Boat, Deep, and Night certified Over 180 logged dives, AAUS Scientific Diver (100’) Skilled with marine wet laboratory and animal husbandry techniques Set up and maintenance of experimental aquaria Savvy in the use of social media for scientific outreach Created and managed professional, scientific accounts for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, and Instagram Extensive experience presenting scientific research to scientific and lay audiences American Red Cross CPR, Emergency Oxygen, and First Aid certifications
SELECT PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS 2009 - Present Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2009 - Present American Fisheries Society Secretary, 2010 – 2011, University of Southern Mississippi Subunit 2011 - Present The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 2014 - Present American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
SELECT COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE 2017 Official, National Ocean Science Bowl, Manatee Bowl 2016 Volunteer, Coral Reef Health and Ecology Lab, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University 2014 - 2016 Social Media Coordinator, Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation 2014 - 2015 Twitter Contact, Shark Week and OCEARCH Tweet Chat @SportfishCenter 2014 Social Media Contact, Shark After Dark, Texas State Aquarium 2014 Presenter, Gulf of Mexico Shark Research, Sharkathon Fishing Rodeo 2011 - 2012 Official, National Ocean Science Bowl, Hurricane Bowl 2007 - 2010 Volunteer, Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network 2007 - 2008 Guest Presenter, Cabeza de Vaca Earthmobile Project
SELECT CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS Brewton, R.A. and B.E. Lapointe. 2017. Stable nitrogen isotopes in primary producers reveal evidence of sewage pollution in the Indian River Lagoon. Indian River Lagoon Symposium: an estuary in peril. Fort Pierce, FL. Brewton, R.A., M.J. Ajemian, and G.W. Stunz. 2015. Highly opportunistic foraging of Common Dolphinfish, Coryphaena hippurus, in the western Gulf of Mexico. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Reno, NV. Brewton, R.A., M.J. Ajemian, M.R. Robillard, J.M. Curtis, and G.W. Stunz. 2015. Trophic ecology of Red Snapper, Lutjanus campechanus, among various habitat types in the western Gulf of Mexico. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Reno, NV. Brewton, R.A., and Szedlmayer, S.T. 2014. Enhancing Red Snapper Diet Analysis with the addition of DNA barcoding. Southern Divison- American Fisheries Annual Meeting. Charleston, SC. Brewton, R.A. and S.T. Szedlmayer. 2013. Improving the resolution of Red Snapper, Lutjanus campechanus, diets with DNA barcoding. American Fisheries Society Meeting. Little Rock, AK. Brewton, R.A., R.S. Fulford, and R.J. Griffitt. 2011. Gene expression and growth as indicators of effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Cynoscion nebulosus. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America Meeting. Boston, MA. Brewton, R.A., R.S. Fulford, and R.J. Griffitt. 2011. Survival and growth of estuarine fish following exposures of chemically enhanced dispersed oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation International Meeting. Daytona Beach, FL. Brewton, R.A., R.J. Griffitt, and R.S. Fulford. 2011. Estuarine fish health and growth as an indicator of ecosystem level effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Benthic Ecology Meeting. Mobile, AL. Brewton, R.A., G.W. Stunz, M.M. Reese, I.E. Gain. 2009. The role of oyster reefs as habitat in estuarine ecosystems. Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation International Meeting. Portland, OR. Brewton, R.A., G.W. Stunz, M.M. Reese, and I.E. Gain. 2009. The role of oyster reefs as habitat in estuarine ecosystems. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. Albuquerque, NM. Brewton, R.A., G.W. Stunz, M.M. Reese, and I.E. Dominguez. 2008. The role of oyster reefs as habitat in estuarine ecosystems. Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans National Conference. Salt Lake City, UT.
SELECT OUTREACH PRESENTATIONS Brewton, R.A. and Lapointe, B.E. 2016. Ecology and Biochemistry of Harmful Algal Blooms. Ocean Science Lecture Series. Fort Pierce, FL.