Dr. Sean Powers

Marine Sciences


  • Angelia and Steven Stokes Endowed Professor in Environmental Resiliency and Director, Stokes School of Marine Sciences, University of South Alabama
  • Senior Marine Scientist, Dauphin Island Sea Lab
  • Ph.D. 1997, Texas A&M University

Emphasis: Fisheries ecology; conservation and restoration of coastal shellfish and finfish 

Research Interests

My research focuses on the ecology of coastal/estuarine fishes and benthic invertebrates, particularly those that support commercial and recreational fisheries. The ultimate goal of my research program is to provide scientifically sound information to direct conservation and restoration efforts of marine fisheries and the habitats that these species rely upon.

Lab Page

Current Funded Projects

  • Ecosystem based fisheries management of reef fish and large coastal pelagic fishes and Sharks in coastal Alabama (Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division, ADNCR-MRD)

  • Monitoring development of fish communities associated with artificial reefs in coastal Alabama (ADNCR-MRD and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s SportFish Restoration Fund)

  • Greater Amberjack Gulf and South Atlantic Count (NOAA Seagrant and NMFS)

  • Oyster management and reef restoration (NOAA RESTORE Science Program)

  • Population and movement dynamics of estuarine fishes (Flounder – ADCNR-MRD, Red Drum- Alabama CCA)

Publications (out of 156)

  • Powers, S. P., H. Roman, G. Fricano, J. Westerink, and S. Brus. 2023. Establishing connectivity patterns of eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) on regional oceanographic scales. Ecosphere, In press.

  • Powers, S. P., J. M. Drymon, C. L. Hightower, L. M. Carleton and J. M. Hoenig. 2022. Direct estimates of reef fish abundance from a large network of artificial reefs. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

  • Hightower, C.L., J. M. Drymon, A. E. Jefferson*, M. B. Jargowsky, E. A. Seubert*, S. Dedman, J. F. Mareska, and S. P. Powers. 2022. Population dynamics, abundance, and habitat suitability of adult red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) in nearshore waters of the north central Gulf of Mexico. Fishery Bulletin 120:162–175. https://doi.org/10.7755/FB.120.2.6 

  • Nelson, T.R. and S. P. Powers. 2020.Elemental concentrations of water and otoliths as salinity proxies in a Northern Gulf of Mexico estuary. Estuaries and Coasts, 43:843–864. 

  • Drymon, J. M., K. Feldheim, A. M. V. Fournier, E. A. Seubert*, A. Jefferson, A. M. Kroetz, and S. P. Powers. 2019.Tiger sharks eat songbirds: scavenging a windfall of nutrients from the sky. Ecology e02728. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26785449

  • Powers, S.P. and K. Anson. 2019. Compression and relaxation of fishing effort in response to changes in length of fishing seasons for red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Fishery Bulletin, 117:1–7.

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Current Graduate Students Research
Post docs and Research Associates
  • Dylan Kiene - PhD
  • Laia Munoz - PhD
  • Manuel Coffill-Rivera - Ph.D.
  • Adam Jung - MS
  • Crystal Hightower, MS
  • Deepa Shrestha, MS
  • Justin McDonald, MS
  • Trey Spearman, MS
  • Dr. Jeff Plumlee
  • Dr. Mark Albins