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Danielle Dixson

Assistant Professor


My research is focused on the sensory behavior of marine organisms, and understanding how various anthropogenic induced changes to the environment will impact the resulting behavioral ecology at a species, community and ecosystem level. While the majority of our work focuses on coral reef ecosystems, we also have an interest in the local Delaware coastal communities.  We specifically examine the impacts of ocean acidification, invasive species, and chemical pollutants on species recognition, predator-prey relationships, larval development, settlement site selection and chemical camouflage. 

Department Affiliation

Marine Biosciences

Current Projects

Delaware Sea Grant: Understanding the impacts of ocean acidification on local shark species. 
Sharks are an ecologically important predator in marine ecosystems.  The impact future climate change will have on their behavior however remains relatively understudied.  In this project we aim to understand how rising temperatures and ocean acidification will impact the behavior of sharks, using the smooth dogfish as a model organism. Read More

NIH ICBG grant: Exploration, conservation and development of marine biodiversity in Fiji and the Solomon Islands
This project is a drug discovery project where we are looking in the coastal coral reef ecosystem for novel chemical compounds that have application in medical drugs.  I am working on this project as a conservation ecologist.  

University of Delaware Transformation Grant: Using children's storybooks to communicate scientific research through a capstone experience.
This project is a teaching grant aimed to create a unique capstone experience for junior and senior University of Delaware students.  Students from the School of Marine Science, Art and Design and Psychology will come together in groups to design and create a children's storybook about a single research publication.  Using the knowledge based the students have already gained in their respective fields, they are expected to work together in the creation of this creative project. 


Ph.D., Marine Science, James Cook University, Australia 2012
B.S., General Biology and Marine Science, University of Tampa, 2005

Select Publications

Lecchini, D., D.L. Dixson, G. Lecellier, N. Roux,B. Frédérich, M. Besson,Y. Tanaka, B. Banaigs, Y. Nakamura,  Habitat selection by marine larvae in changing chemical environments, Marine Pollution Bulletin (2016), doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.08.083

Munday P.L., Dixson D.L., Donelson J.M., Jones G.P., Pratchett M.S, Devitsina G.V., Døving K.B. 2009. Ocean acidification impairs olfactory discrimination and homing ability of marine fish. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 106: 1848-1852. doi:10.1073/pnas.0809996106 
Google Scholar | Research Gate 



Interested in joining the lab? Contact Dr. Dixson 

Dogfish Sharks and Ocean Acidification

Understanding the behavioral and physiological impact of ocean acidification on elasmobranches in Delaware Bay

Coral Reefs in Crisis
Coral Reef

Coral Reefs in Crisis PDF Handout

Ocean Acidification
Ocean Acidification Chart

Ocean Acidification and Fish Behavior PDF Handout


• Marine Ecology


CEOE School & Departments

School of Marine Science & Policy

Advancing the understanding, stewardship, and conservation of estuarine, coastal, and ocean environments.

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Department of Earth Sciences

Discovering how geological processes have operated over various time scales to create and influence the planet’s surface environments.

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Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences

Providing a unique spatial perspective that seeks to explain patterns of differences and commonality across the human and natural environment.

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College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment • 111 Robinson Hall • Newark, DE 19716 • USA • Phone: 302-831-2841
Geography and Spatial Sciences: 302-831-2294 • Earth Sciences: 302-831-2569 • Marine Science and Policy: 302-645-4212 • E-mail: ceoe-info@udel.edu

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