Patricia M. Biesiot

Associate Professor

Teaching Interests

BSC 392 Preprofessional Externship


Research Interests

My research interests are in the field of marine biology and focus on biochemical, physiological, and ecological aspects of marine animals (crustaceans, other invertebrates, and fishes).

One aspect of my research involves the biochemical composition and energy reserves in adults and embryos of shallow water and deep-sea crustaceans. Specifically, I am examining the contribution of maternal nutritional history and/or depth of occurrence to the pattern of energy resource utilization by the embryos. The deep-sea red crab Chaceon quinquedens was used as a model organism to answer fundamental questions concerning the energetic strategies utilized during early development of food-limited, deep-sea crustaceans. My students and I have performed similar studies using estuarine and shallow-water Gulf of Mexico crabs including the blue crab Callinectes sapidus, stone crabs Menippespp. and xanthid crabs Armases spp. to determine whether strategies are different in habitats with abundant food.

Other research projects in my lab deal with the biochemical composition, particularly lipids and lipid classes, of little-studied crustaceans including

  • the giant deep-sea isopod Bathynomus giganteus

  • the copepods Aglaodiaptomus stagnalis and A. clavipoides, dominant members of the plankton in certain ephemeral freshwater ponds

  • the mysids Americamysis bahia and A. alleni

I recently completed a collaboration with Dr. Ken Curry, a BSC colleague, on an NSF-funded project that focuses on the long-term cycling of carbon in marine sediments. We examined the association between the microfabric signatures of clay platelets formed during polychaete fecal pellet production and the geologic preservation of organic material in the marine environment.


Current Graduate Students

Dr. Biesiot is currently Interim Dean of the College of Science and Technology and is unable to accept new graduate students at this time.


Former Graduate Students

  • Jennifer Arin Mraz, M.S. August 2010. “Burrowing behavior of the fiddler crab Uca panacea in relation to food availability.”
    Field and laboratory studies were conducted to assess the effect of food availability on burrowing in the Gulf coast fiddler crab, Uca panacea.
    Jennifer is an adjunct instructor of Biology at Pearl River Community College and is pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi.


  • Laura C. Anderson, M.S. August 2010. “Predictive habitat model for the snapping shrimp genus Alpheus in the coastal southeastern United States.”
    This study focused on factors influencing Alpheus distribution in the Gulf of Mexico and the northwestern Atlantic Ocean.


  • Guillermo Humberto Sanchez Rubio, Ph.D. Spring 2009. “Oceanic-atmospheric modes of variability and their effects on river flow and blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) abundance in the northcentral Gulf of Mexico.”
    This work links long- and short-term worldwide oceanic/atmospheric oscillations to regional meteorological events, hydrological regimes and fisheries production.
    Guillermo is a postdoctoral scholar at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, MS.


  • Darcie J. Dennis, M.S. Spring 2008. “Fecundity and egg diameter of primiparous and multiparous blue crab Callinectes sapidus in Mississippi waters.”
    This study examined seasonal egg production among female blue crabs producing their first clutch of eggs compared to those producing successive broods.
    Darcie Graham is currently Assistant Director of the Center for Fisheries Research and Development at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, MS.


  • Kirsten Marie Larsen, M.S. December 2006. "Utilization of marsh edge and nonvegetated bottom habitats in western Mississippi Sound by brown shrimp, Farfantepenaeus aztecus, and associated faunal assemblages".
    Kirsten is employed as the Special Assistant for Science and Technology, National Marine Fisheries Service at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.


  • Jennifer Paul Stygles, M.S. May 2006. “Reproduction and embryonic development of Leitoscoloplos foliosus (Polychaeta, Orbiniidae).”
    This studied documented the reproductive biology of a widely distributed, but little studied, polychaete worm.
    Jennifer Anderson is an instructor in the Interdisciplinary Studies program at the University of Southern Mississippi. 


  • Meagan Alma McNamara Williams, M.S. August 2004. “A biochemical analysis of developing eggs and larvae of the American horseshoe crab Limulus polyphemus from Delaware Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.”
    This study reported the biochemical composition of newly hatched horseshoe crab eggs collected from the New Jersey coast of Delaware Bay and the Florida and Mississippi coasts of the Gulf of Mexico and reared in the lab until hatching. Patterns of yolk composition and yolk utilization were generally similar, except for significantly higher ash in New Jersey embryos.
    Meagan was enrolled in a doctoral program at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, but sadly died of breast cancer in 2010.


  • Julie Anne Kamp, M.S. August 2004. “Comparative biochemistry of the stomatopods Squilla empusa and Squilla chydaea: ovarian composition.”
    This study compared the biochemical composition of developing ovaries in two co-occurring species of mantis shrimp collected from Texas and Louisiana waters.
    Julie was employed as the dive master at the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke, NC.


  • Brian Daniel Ortman. M.S. August 2003. “Effects of temperature, salinity, feeding regime and dissolved oxygen concentration of survival and asexual budding of Aurelia aurita and Drymonema dalmatinum scyphistomae (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa).”
    This study demonstrated that cnidarian polyps have broad ranges of tolerance to physical conditions; they may be able to out-compete with other species that are less tolerant to hypoxia.
    Brian completed a Oceanography at the University of Connecticut –Storrs and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia.


  • Kristin Nichole Ealy. M.S. December 2001. “Geographic assessment of blue crab Callinectes sapidus: embryo size, fecundity, and biochemical composition.”
    This study compared embryo size, fecundity, and biochemical composition of blue crab embryos among populations throughout this species’ range in US waters.
    Kristin worked for a short time as a domestic fisheries observer in Alaska and is employed by the National Marine Fisheries Service in Virginia.


Representative Publications

Sanchez-Rubio, G., H.M. Perry, P.M. Biesiot, D.R. Johnson and R.N. Lipcius. 2011. Climate-related hydrological regimes and their effects on abundance of juvenile blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) in the northcentral Gulf of Mexico. Fishery Bulletin 109: 139–146.

Sanchez-Rubio, G., H.M. Perry, P.M. Biesiot, D.R. Johnson and R.N. Lipcius. 2011. Oceanic–atmospheric modes of variability and their influence on riverine input to coastal Louisiana and Mississippi. Journal of Hydrology 396: 72-81.

Curry, K.J., R.H. Bennett, L.M. Mayer, A. Curry, M. Abril, P.M. Biesiot and M.H. Hulbert. 2007. Direct visualization of clay microfabric signatures driving organic matter preservation in fine-grained sediment. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 71: 1709-1720.

Williams, J.L. and P.M. Biesiot. 2004. Lipids and fatty acids of the benthic marine harpacticoid copepod Heteropsyllus nunni Coull during diapause: a contrast to pelagic copepods. Marine Biology 144: 335-344.

Shervette, V.R., H.M. Perry, C.F. Rakocinski, and P.M. Biesiot. 2004. Factors influencing refuge occupation by stone crab Menippe adina juveniles in Mississippi Sound. Journal of Crustacean Biology 24: 652-665.

Jacobs, J.R., P.M. Biesiot, H.M. Perry & C. Trigg. 2003. Biochemical composition of embryonic blue crabs Callinectes sapidus Rathbun 1896 (Crustacea: Decapoda) from the Gulf of Mexico. Bulletin of Marine Science 72: 311-324.

Biesiot, P.M., S.Y. Wang, H.M. Perry, & C. Trigg. 1999. Organic reserves in the midgut gland and fat body of the giant deep-sea isopodBathynomus giganteus. Journal of Crustacean Biology 19: 450-458.