Dr. Timothy Henkel

Dr. T. P. Henkel

Contact Information

Phone: 229-249-4941

Email: Timothy P. Henkel, Ph.D.

Office: Bailey Science Center, Room 2212

Other Website:  Enter Here


Ph.D. Marine Biology, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 2008

M.S. Marine Biology, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 2002

B.S. Biology, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, 1999

East-West Marine Biology Program, Northeastern University, 1997-1998

Courses Taught at VSU

  • BIOL 1010 – Evolution and Diversity
  • BIOL 1030 – Organismal Biology

Research Interests

My research program uses a variety of field and lab techniques to examine competition, predation, and facilitation under ecologically relevant conditions. Working primarily with marine invertebrates on Caribbean coral reefs, I am interested in the biotic and abiotic factors that structure marine communities.  As part of my research, I investigate species-specific interactions in the marine environment.  Such interactions have long been recognized as important means of speciation in terrestrial systems.  Examination of species-specific interactions can provide insight into the evolutionary forces that drive speciation in marine systems. 

I am also interested in undergraduate science education, and have worked with the NSF funded FIRST IV professional development project.  Current research interests include the use of technology and quantitative reasoning in the classroom as tools for understanding and conveying complex biological processes.


  • Derting, T., K.S. Williams, J.L. Momsen, Henkel, T.P. 2011. Education Research: Set a High Bar. Science. 333 (6047):1220-1221.
  • Henkel, T.P. and Pawlik, J.R. 2011. Host specialization of an obligate sponge-dwelling brittlestar. Aquatic Biology. 12:37-46.
  • Henkel, T.P. 2010. Coral Reefs.  Nature Education Knowledge. 1(11):5.
  • López-Legentil, S., Erwin, P.M., Henkel, T.P., Loh, T.-L., Pawlik, J.R. 2009. Phenotypic plasticity in the sponge Callyspongia vaginalis (Porifera; Haplosclerida): morphological and molecular data. Scientia Marina, 74: 445-453.
  • McMurray S.E., Henkel, T.P., Pawlik, J.R. 2009. Demographics of increasing populations of the giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta in the Florida Keys. Ecology, 91:560-570.
  • Zea, S., Henkel, T.P., and Pawlik, J.R.  2009.  The Sponge Guide: a picture guide to Caribbean sponges. Available online at http://www.spongeguide.org.
  • Pawlik, J.R., Henkel, T.P., McMurray, S.E., López-Legentil, S., Loh, T.-L., Rohde, S. 2008.  Patterns of sponge growth and recruitment on a shipwreck corroborate chemical defense resource trade-off. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 368:137-143.
  • Meredith, T.L., Cowart, J.D., Henkel, T.P., Pawlik, J.R. 2007. The polychaete Cirriformia punctata is chemically defended against generalist coral reef predators.  Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 353: 198-202.
  • Pawlik, J.R., McMurray, S.E. and Henkel, T.P. 2007. Abiotic factors control sponge ecology in Florida mangroves. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 339: 93-98.
  • Pawlik, J.R., Steindler, L., Henkel, T.P., Beer, S., and Ilan, M. 2007. Chemical warfare on coral reefs: sponge metabolites differentially affect coral symbiosis in situ. Limnology and Oceanography, 52: 907-911.
  • Cowart, J.D., Henkel, T.P., McMurray, S.E., and Pawlik, J.R. 2006. Sponge orange band (SOB): a pathogenic-like condition of the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta. Coral Reefs, 25: 513.
  • Henkel, T.P. and Pawlik, J.R. 2005. Habitat use by sponge-dwelling brittlestars. Marine Biology, 146: 301-313.
  • Kelly, S.R., Jensen, P.R., Henkel, T.P. and Pawlik, J.R. 2003. Effects of Caribbean sponge extracts on bacterial attachment. Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 31:175-182.
  • Kubanek, J., Whalen, K.E., Engel, S., Kelly, S.R., Henkel, T.P., and Pawlik, J.R. 2002.  Multiple defensive roles for triterpene glycosides from two Caribbean sponges.  Oecologia, 131: 125-136.