John F. Morrissey

Professor of Biology and Pre-Vet Advisor

e: | p: 434-381-6190 |

o: Guion Science Center | First Floor, 117

B.A. in Biology from Hofstra University
M.A. in Biology from Hofstra University
Ph.D. in Marine Biology and Fisheries from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (University of Miami)

Professor Morrissey is a marine biologist and textbook author who studies the biology of sharks and rays.

Courses Taught

BIOL 111 - Introduction to Organisms

BIOL 112 - Introduction to Cells

BIOL 113 - Introductory Laboratory Techniques

BIOL 117 - The Biology of Superheroes

BIOL 147 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I

BIOL 209 - Marine Biology

BIOL 210 - Evolution

BIOL 230 - Comparative Vertebrate Morphology

BIOL 247 - Human Anatomy and Physiology II

BIOL 326 - Comparative Animal Physiology

BIOL 351 - Independent Research


  • J. F. Morrissey, Sumich, J. L., and Pinkard-Meier, D. R. 2018. Introduction to the Biology of Marine Life, 11th edition, Jones and Bartlett, Massachusetts.
  • Carney, S. L., D. McVeigh, J. B. Moss, M. D. Ferrier, and J. F. Morrissey. 2017. Insights on Mitochondrial Genetic Variation in Chesapeake Bay Summer-Resident Cownose Rays. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 146(3): 478-484.
  • Morson, J. and J. F. Morrissey. 2007. Variation in the morphology of the electric organ in the Little Skate, Leucoraja erinacea, and its possible role in courtship. Environmental Biology of Fishes 80(2-3): 267-275.
  • McLaughlin, D. M. and J. F. Morrissey. 2005. Reproductive biology of Centrophorus cf. uyato from the Cayman Trench, Jamaica. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 85: 1185-1192.
  • McLaughlin, D. M. and J. F. Morrissey. 2004. New records of elasmobranchs from the Cayman Trench, Jamaica. Bulletin of Marine Science 73(3): 481-485.
  • Sundström, L. F., S. H. Gruber, S. M. Clermont, J. P. S. Correia, J. R. C. de Marignac, J. F. Morrissey, C. R. Lowrance, L. Thomassen, and M. T. Oliveira.2001. Review of elasmobranch behavioral studies using ultrasonic telemetry with special reference to the lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris, around Bimini Islands, Bahamas. Environmental Biology of Fishes 60: 225-250.
  • Morrissey, J. F. and E. T. Elizaga. 1999. Capture of megamouth 11 in the Philippines. The Philippine Scientist 36: 143-147.
  • Yano, K. and J. F. Morrissey. 1999. Confirmation of blacktip shark, Carcharhinus limbatus, in the Ryukyu Islands and notes on possible absence of C. melanopterus in Japanese waters. Ichthyological Research 46(2): 193-198.
  • Tang, K. L., P. B. Berendzen, E. O. Wiley, J. F. Morrissey, R. Winterbottom, and G. D. Johnson. 1999. The phylogenetic relationships of the suborder Acanthuroidei (Teleostei: Perciformes) based on molecular and morphological evidence. Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution 11(3): 415-425.
  • Yano, K., J. F. Morrissey, Y. Yabumoto, and K. Nakaya. 1997. Biology of the Megamouth Shark. Tokai University Press, Tokyo, Japan, xv+203 pp.
  • Morrissey, J. F., K. A. Dunn, and F. Mulé. 1997. The phylogenetic position of Megachasma pelagios inferred from mtDNA sequence data. pp. 33-37 in: Biology of the Megamouth Shark (K. Yano, J. F. Morrissey, Y. Yabumoto, and K. Nakaya, eds.). Tokai University Press.
  • Dunn, K. A. and J. F. Morrissey. 1995. Molecular phylogeny of elasmobranchs. Copeia 1995(3): 526-531.
  • Morrissey, J. F. and S. H. Gruber. 1993. Home range of juvenile lemon sharks. Copeia 1993(3): 393-402.
  • Morrissey, J. F. and S. H. Gruber. 1993. Habitat selection by juvenile lemon sharks, Negaprion brevirostris (Poey). Environmental Biology of Fishes 38: 311-319.
  • Gruber, S. H., D. R. Nelson, and J. F. Morrissey. 1988. Patterns of activity and space utilization of lemon sharks, Negaprion brevirostris, in a shallow Bahamian lagoon. Bulletin of Marine Science 43(1): 61-76.

Professor Morrissey, a lifetime member of the American Elasmobranch Society, studies the natural history of sharks, skates and rays, including the investigation of their reproduction, behavioral ecology, age and growth, feeding, visual adaptations, and more. He and his students have studied lemon sharks in the Bahamas, a new species of gulper shark from the Cayman Trench (between Jamaica and Cuba), the cownose rays in Chesapeake Bay, and chain catsharks in his lab. He is also the senior author of the bestselling textbook “Introduction to the Biology of Marine Life”.