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Melissa Southwell

Melissa Southwell

Associate Professor of Natural Sciences


Research, Professional and Creative Activity

  • Ph.D. from UNC Chapel Hill
  • Post-doc at University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  • Assistant Professor, Flagler College
  • Publications in diverse journals, including Limnology and Oceanography, Marine Chemistry, and Atmospheric Environment
  • Numerous research presentations at international meetings, including the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and Advancing the Science of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), and the Coastal and Estuarine Research Foundation (CERF)
  • Certified AAUS Scientific SCUBA diver and certified Aquanaut (saturation diver)

Professional Profile

Two students on beach with research equipmentDr. Southwell originally hails from Virginia, where she earned her undergraduate degree in Chemistry and Environmental Science from the University of Virginia.  After graduation, she joined the Peace Corps as an Agroforestry volunteer in Cameroon.  Upon her return, she earned her Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where her research focused on microbially-mediated nitrogen cycling processes in coral reef sponges.  She then joined the Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where she taught General Chemistry and performed research on chemical transformations in rainwater and in sediment-water interactions. 

In her current research, she continues her investigations into the role of sediment-water interactions in nutrient and organic matter cycling, focusing now on the shallow, soft-sediment ecosystems surrounding St. Augustine. Current projects include studying changes in sediment nutrient fluxes associated with altered hydrological conditions.  Such changes may have profound effects on fragile, degraded ecosystems.  She enjoys mentoring undergraduate students in this challenging yet exciting field of study.

Teaching and Related Service

Courses taught:

  • Environmental Factors in the Rise and Fall of Civilizations
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Physical Science
  • Coastal Processes

Students conducting research on the beach

More Information

Office Hours (On Campus):

  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM