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School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

Faculty and Staff Directory

Dennis Allen

Title: Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus
Resident Director, Baruch Marine Field Lab
Department: Earth, Ocean and Environment
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 843-904-9025
Office: BMFL, Room 103
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
My Website
School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment


Long-term changes in estuarine fauna and climate change. 
Continuous measurements of zooplankton, motile epibenthos, and nekton since the early 1980’s have provided an opportunity to identify patterns and trends in abundance and demographics as well as relationships with environmental conditions. Relatively free of local disturbances, some observed changes in North Inlet fauna can be related to changes in regional and global climate. Interannual variations in abundance and growth in some fishes and shrimps have occurred as a result of changes in salinity, especially during periods of frequent El Nino’s and extended droughts. Interannual variations in the timing of larval production within the estuary and larval ingress from offshore have been related to changes in temperature during spring and fall.

Nekton behavior and habitat use. 
Short-term field studies have been conducted to determine the movements of tidal migratory nekton and relationships with both hydrogeomorphological features of habitat and environmental conditions. Among the key questions are: how can such an abundant and diverse fauna successfully co-occupy intertidal habitat, and how does this vary with changes in habitat structure, primary productivity, and accessibility?  Tagging studies have identified high site fidelity for common salt marsh nekton. Manipulative field and laboratory-based experiments have been used to determine drivers and mechanisms of habitat selection.  Images from a variety of cameras deployed from a tethered kite-balloon over intertidal basins will provide new information on nekton movements and habitat use from a previously unavailable perspective.

Trophic dynamics and ecosystem processes. 
Spatial and temporal relationships between fishes and invertebrate prey populations have been studied within the water column of subtidal channels and in intertidal creeks. Diets and selectivity for certain prey have been related to prey distributions and behavior. Ecological network analysis of food web structure has been used to explore relationships between trophic dynamics and the hydrogeomorphology of intertidal creeks. In another study, in situ measurements and field-based  experiments  were used to demonstrate that excretion by nekton subsidizes dissolved nutrient concentrations and likely stimulates primary production in intertidal creeks.


Allen, D.M., V. Ogburn-Matthews, P.D. Kenny. 2017. Nekton use of flooded salt marsh and an assessment of intertidal creek pools as low tide refuges. Estuaries and Coasts 40:1450-1463. 

Tremont, R.M., J.M. Harding, and D.M. Allen. 2016. Effects of within-season temperature variation on the early life history of two estuarine demersal fishes. Environmental Biology of Fishes 99:79-94.

Allen, D. M., J. M. Harding, K. B. Stroud, and K. L. Yozzo. 2015. Movements and site fidelity of grass shrimp (Palaemonetes pugioand P. vulgaris) in salt marsh intertidal creeks. Marine Biology 162:1275-1285.

Harding, J. M., D. Allen, S. Dingley, R. M. Tremont, S. M. Krug, and C. T. Armstrong. 2015. Ontogenetic changes in predator-prey interactions between two species of larval fishes and oyster veligers. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology471:164-174.

Rieucau, G., K. M. Boswell, M. E. Kimball, G. Diaz, and D. M. Allen. 2015. Tidal and diel variations in schooling behavior of estuarine fish within an intertidal salt marsh creek. Hydrobiologia 753:149-162.

Allen, D. M., W. B. Allen, R. J. Feller, and J. S. Plunket (eds.). 2014. Site Profile of the North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. North Inlet-Wiyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Georgetown, South Carolina.

Christian, R.R. and D.M. Allen. 2014. Linking hydrogeomorphology and food webs in intertidal creeks. Estuaries and Coasts 37 (Suppl 1):S74-S90.

Hein, J.L., S.A. Arnott, W.A. Roumillat, D.M. Allen, and I. de Buron. 2014. Invasive swimbladder parasite Anguillicoloides crassus: infection status 15 years after discovery in wild populations of American eel Anguilla rostrata. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms107:199-209.

Allen, D.M., S.A. Luthy, J.A. Garwood, R.F. Young, and R.F. Dame. 2013. Nutrient subsidies from nekton in salt marsh intertidal creeks. Limnology and Oceanography 58(3):1048-1060.

Johnson, W.S. and D.M. Allen. 2012. Zooplankton of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts: a guide to their identification and ecology. Second edition. Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 452 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1-4214-0618-3.

Able, K.W., D.M. Allen, G. Bath-Martin, J.A. Hare, D.E. Hoss, K.E. Maranicik, P.M. Powles, D.E. Richardson, J.C. Taylor, H.J. Walsh, S.M. Warlen, and C. Wenner. 2011. Life history and habitat use of the speckled worm eel, Myrophis punctatus, along the east coast of the United States. Environmental Biology of Fishes 92(2):237-259.

Allen, D.M., V. Ogburn-Matthews, T. Buck, and E.M. Smith. 2008. Mesozooplankton responses to climate change and variability in a southeastern U.S. Estuary (1981-2003). J. of Coastal Research 55:95-110.

Allen, D.M., S.S. Haertel-Borer, B.J. Milan, D. Bushek, and R.F. Dame. 2007. Geomorphological determinants of nekton use in intertidal salt marsh creeks. Marine Ecology Progress Series.329:57-71.

Bretsch, K. And D.M. Allen. 2006. Tidal migrations of nekton in salt marsh creeks. Estuaries and Coasts 29:474-486.

Bretsch, K. and D.M. Allen. 2006. Effects of biotic factors on depth selection by salt marsh nekton. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 334:130-138.

Heard, R.W., W.W. Price, D.M. Knott, R.A. King, and D.M. Allen. 2006. A taxonomic guide to the mysids of the South Atlantic Bight. NOAA Professional Papers Series. NMFL 4. U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Seattle. 37 pp.

Johnson, W.S. and D.M. Allen. 2005. Zooplankton of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts: a guide  to their identification and ecology. Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 379 pp. ISBN 0-8018-8168-4.

Bushek, D. and D.M. Allen.  2005. Motile suspension feeders in estuarine and marine ecosystems. in Dame, R.F. and S. Olenin, eds. The comparative role of suspension feeders in aquatic ecosystems.  NATO Science Series. 47: 53-71.  Springer, Dordecht.

Haertel-Borer, S.S., D.M. Allen, and R.F. Dame. 2004. Fishes and shrimps are significant sources of  dissolved inorganic nutrients in intertidal salt marsh creeks. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 311:79-99.

Potthoff, M. T. and D.M. Allen. 2003.  Site fidelity, home range, and tidal migrations of juvenile pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides, in salt marsh creeks. Env. Biol. Fishes 67: 231-240.

Busbee, W.S., W.H. Conner, D.M. Allen, and J.D. Lanham. 2003. Composition and aboveground productivity of three seasonally flooded depressional forested wetlands in coastal South Carolina.  SE Naturalist 2: 335-346.

Dame, R., D. Bushek, D. Allen, A. Lewitus, D. Edwards, E. Koepfler, and L. Gregory. 2002.  Ecosystem response to bivalve density reduction: management implications. Aquat. Ecol. 36:51-65.

Lehnert, R.L. and D.M. Allen. 2002.  Nekton use of subtidal oyster shell habitat in a southeastern U.S. estuary.  Estuaries25:1015-1024.

Dame, R., M. Alber, D. Allen, M. Mallin, C. Montague, A. Lewitus, A. Chalmers,  R. Gardner, C. Gilman, B. Kjerfve, J. Pinckney, and N. Smith. 2000. Estuaries of the South Atlantic Coast of North America: their geographical signatures. Estuaries. 23:793-819.

Dame, R.F., ,D. Bushek, D. Allen, D. Edwards, L. Gregory, A. Lewitus, S. Crawford, E. Koepfler, C. Corbett, B. Kjerfve, and T. Prins. 2000. The experimental analysis of tidal creeks dominated by oyster reefs; the pre-manipulation year.   J. Shellfish Res. 19: 361-369.

Dame, R.F.,  D. Edwards, S. Crawford, L. Gregory, D. Bushek, A. Lewitus, E. Koepfler, D. Allen, C. Corbett, B. Kjerfve, and T. Prins.  1998. Ecosystem scale observations of estuarine variability. ICES CM 1998/MINI 8:1-6.

Allen, D.M., D. Edwards, R.F. Feller, S.E. Hutchinson, and V. Ogburn-Matthews.  1997  Detection and analysis of unusual events in long-term zooplankton and nekton data sets from North Inlet Estuary, SC, USA.  Oceanol. Acta.  20(1):165-175.

Houser, D.S. and D.M. Allen.  Zooplankton dynamics in an intertidal salt marsh basin.  1996.  Estuaries.  19(3):659-673.

Dame, R.F. and D.M. Allen.  Between estuaries and the sea.  1996.  J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol.  200:169-185.

Allen, D.M., W.S. Johnson, and V. Ogburn-Matthews.  1995.  Trophic relationships and seasonal utilization of salt-marsh creeks by zooplanktivorous fishes.  Env. Biol. Fishes.  42:37-50.

Ogburn-Matthews, V. and D.M. Allen.  1993.  Interactions among some dominant estuarine nekton species.  Estuaries 16:840-850.

Allen, D.M., S.K. Service, and M.V. Ogburn.  1992.  Factors influencing the collection efficiency of estuarine fishes.  Trans. Am. Fish. Soc.  121:234-244

Allen, D.M. and D.L. Barker.  1990.  Interannual variability in larval fish recruitment to estuarine epibenthic habitats.  Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 63:113-125.

Allen, W.B. and D.M. Allen.  1990.  Bridging the gap at the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine Biology and Coastal Research. Current J. Mar. Educ.  10:19-22.

Johnson, W.S., D.M. Allen, M.V. Ogburn, and S.E. Stancyk.  1990.  Short-term predation responses of bay anchovies, Anchoa mitchilli, to zooplankton prey availability. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 64:55-68.

Kenny, P.D., W.K. Michener, and D.M. Allen.  1990.  Spatial and temporal patterns of oyster settlement  in a high salinity estuary.  J. Shellfish Res.  9(2):329-339.

Allen, D.M.  1984.  Population dynamics of the mysid shrimp Mysidopsis bigelowi W.M. Tattersall in a temperate estuary.  J. Crus. Biol.  4(1):25-34.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.