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Jonathan Cohen

Associate Professor


Jon Cohen's research includes pelagic ecology, deep-sea biology, and polar biology. He is interested in how environmental factors influence marine animal physiology and behavior, with many of his projects focusing on sensory biology of marine invertebrates.

Department Affiliation

Department of Marine Biosciences

Current Projects

Light and vision in the high Arctic winter

Zooplankton dynamics in Delaware Bay: past, present, and future

Zooplankton / harmful algae interactions under climate change

Effects of chemical prevention for harmful algal blooms on invertebrates and fish

Sensory integration in zooplankton: fish kairomones and larval crab physiology/behavior


Postdoctoral Fellow, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, 2005-2006
Ph.D., Biology, Duke University, 2004
B.S., magna cum laude, Biology & Environmental Science, Dickinson College, 1999

Select Publications (*graduate student co-author)

Charpentier*, C.L. and J.H. Cohen (2016) Independent effects of pH and GABAergic signaling on kairomone-induced behavior. Royal Society Open Science. 3: 160311.

Epifanio, C.E. and J.H. Cohen (2016) Behavioral adaptations in larvae of brachyuran crabs: a review. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 482:85-105.

Charpentier*, C.L. and J.H. Cohen (2015) Chemical cues from fish heighten visual sensitivity in larval crabs through changes in photoreceptor structure and function. Journal of Experimental Biology 218:3381-3390.

Berge, J., M. Daase, P. Renaud, W.G. Ambrose, Jr., G. Darnis, K.S. Last, E. Leu, J.H. Cohen, et al.. (2015) Unexpected levels of biological activity during the polar night offers new perspectives on a warming Arctic. Current Biology 25:1-7.

Cohen, J.H., J. Berge, M.A. Moline, A.J. Sørensen, K. Last, S. Falk-Petersen, P.E. Renaud, E.S. Leu, J. Grenvald, F. Cottier, H. Cronin*, S. Menze, P. Norgren, Ø . Varpe, M. Daase, G. Darnis, G. Johnsen (2015) Is ambient light during the high Arctic polar night sufficient to act as a visual cue for zooplankton? PLOS One 10(6): e0126247.

Complete List of Cohen Lab Publications

Research Interests

Comparative physiology and behavior of marine animals; Neurobiology; Sensory systems; Vision; Zooplankton ecology; Deep-sea biology; Pelagic ecology; Polar biology


Current Lab Members

Corie Charpentier (PhD student), Laura Smith (MS student), Talene Yeghissian (MS student), Haley Glos (technician)

Recent Lab News

We have launched UnderTheScope -- an online resource to help educators use zooplankton in the K-12 classroom.  Check it out here: underthescope@udel.edu

Congratulations to Corie Charpentier and Alex Wright for each receiving a Grant-in-Aid of Research from Sigma Xi to support their research!

Jon is currently on Svalbard conducting research into light and vision in the polar night. Learn more at the UDaily series "A Tale of Two Poles" and in The News Journal.

Our DESG-funded zooscan project has been featured in UDailyWDDE radioThe Coast PressThe News Journal (with graduate student Adam Wickline on the front page!), and WHYY First.

Jon participated in a symposium on Polar Night biology at the Arctic Change 2014 meeting in Canada.  More details on this and other presentations can be found on the Mare Incognitum website. 

Our DSG ZooScan project was featured in the Environmental Monitor.

EPSCOR Summer Scholar and UD senior Hayley DeMarchis won an EPSCOR science ethics essay contest.  Congratulations, Hayley!

Former UDRF REU student and UD Junior Alex Wright was selected as a NOAA Hollings Scholar for 2014-2016.  Congratulations, Alex!

See the blog from a research training cruise in June 2014 that traveled from Barbados to Bermuda.

Automated optical analysis of zooplankton

Using new technology to analyze and quantify zooplankton in the Delaware Bay

Sensory biology in the plankton

Adult mud crab with eggs ready to hatch

Pelagic ecology in the high Arctic winter

Graduate student Heather Cronin in Svalbard

Courses taught by Jon Cohen
Students with trawl

Students with tucker trawl cod end.

Journal of Experimental Biology

Pupils in the eyes of the estuarine squid Loliguncula brevis have a structure and function that facilitates vision in the water column

Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

Larval behavior facilitates transport of invasive crab larvae.


Marine animals can see in dim light of high Arctic winter.


• Marine Ecology• Molecular Ecology• Ocean Observation• Physiological 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: 302-831-8062
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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