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Dr. Jane Caffrey


Dr. Jane M. Caffrey, a Distinguished University Professor in UWF’s Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation (CEDB), has several research interests. They include estuarine nutrient biogeochemistry and the cycling of oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus – specifically, how bacteria alter these essential nutrients. She has worked on water quality issues and seagrass restoration with local NGOs and state agencies. EPA and the Electric Power Research institute funded a seven-year study with colleagues at Florida State University to determine the sources of mercury in rainwater, specifically the contribution of local emissions of mercury from coal-fired power plants.

Her current research includes water quality and nitrogen cycling in sea grass beds to guide restoration efforts, effects of phosphorus spills on estuarine biogeochemistry and the impact of artificial reefs on primary production, nutrient cycling and fish production. Caffrey’s findings have been published in Nature, Estuaries and Coasts, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Aquatic Microbial Ecology and other journals.

Caffrey received a Ph.D. in Marine Environmental and Estuarine Studies from the University of Maryland. She earned a M.S. in Marine Science from Louisiana State University and a B.A. in Biology from Cornell University. A former Fulbright Scholar, NRC post-doc and research oceanographer, she joined UWF in 1999. Among the courses she teaches: Estuarine Ecology, Aquatic Botany and From Wastelands to Wetlands.

Degrees & Institutions

  • Ph.D. Marine Environmental and Estuarine Studies, University of Maryland
  • M.S. Marine Science, Louisiana State University
  • B.A. Biology, Cornell University


Caffrey's research interest is estuarine nutrient biogeochemistry, which is the study of how bacteria alter essential nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus in estuaries. A major focus of her research has been the study of nitrogen in sediments, specifically the importance of nitrification and denitrification in the removal of fixed nitrogen from estuaries. She is also interested in water quality, including the factors controlling dissolved oxygen dynamics and metabolism and in-situ nutrient analysis.  She is also studying atmospheric deposition of mercury, trace metals and major ions.

Current Courses

  • Wasteland to Wetlands

Classes Taught

  • Coastal Marine Ecology
  • Aquatic Botany

Special Interests

She has worked on water quality issues and seagrass restoration with local NGOs, state and federal agencies.


Yarbro L.A, Carlson P.R., Poniatowski M., Scolaro S., Brooke S., Heck K., Byron D., Fitzhugh L., Caffrey J.M. 2023 Biomass and productivity of Thalassia testudinum in estuaries of the Florida Panhandle. Accepted Gulf and Caribbean Research.

Croteau, A.C., Gancel H.N., Gebremicael T.G., Caffrey J.M., Deitch M.J. 2023 Implications of changing trends in hydroclimatic and water quality parameters on estuarine habitats in the Gulf Coastal Plain. Accepted Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

Gebremicael T.G., Deitch M.J., Gancel H.N., Croteau A.C., Caffrey, J.M. 2023. Quantifying the impacts of a changing landscape on water quality in the Pensacola Bay catchment systems in the Florida Panhandle, USA. Preprint available at SSRN: or

Presley, R.E. and J. M. Caffrey. 2021. Nitrogen fixation in subtropical seagrass sediments: seasonal patterns in activity in Santa Rosa Sound, Florida, USA. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. 9: 766.

Deitch, M.J., H.N. Gancel, A.C. Croteau, J.M. Caffrey, W.A. Scheffel, B. Underwood, J.W. Muller, D. Boudreau, C.G Cantrell, M.J. Posner, J. Bibza, A. McDowell, B. Albrecht. 2021. Adaptive management as a foundational framework for developing Estuary Programs in Northwest Florida. Journal of Environmental Management. 295:113107.

Potdukhe, T., J.M. Caffrey, M. Swords, M. Rothfus, L. Bowman, C. Daniel, G. Rodriguez, W. H. Jeffrey, L. Waidner. 2021. Viable Vibrio vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus in the Pensacola and Perdido Bays: Water Column, Sediments, and Invertebrate Biofilms. Frontiers in Marine Science doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.645755

Babcock, K.K., F. Cesbron, W.F. Patterson III, S. B Garner, L.A. Waidner, and J.M. Caffrey. 2020. Changing biogeochemistry and invertebrate community composition at newly deployed artificial reefs in the Northeast Gulf of Mexico. Estuaries and Coasts. DOI: 10.1007/s12237-020-00713-4

Cesbron, F., M.C. Murrell, M.E. Hagy, W.H. Jeffrey, W.F. Patterson III and J.M. Caffrey. 2019. Patterns in phytoplankton and benthic production on the shallow continental shelf in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Continental Shelf Research 179:105-114

Caffrey, J.M., S. Bonaglia, and D. J. Conley. 2019 Short exposure to oxygen and sulfide alter nitrification, denitrification, DNRA activity in seasonally hypoxic estuarine sediments. FEMS Microbiology Letters.


Keywords: estuarine nutrient biogeochemistry, water quality, dissolved oxygen dynamics, estuarine metabolism, atmospheric deposition of mercury and trace metals, Pensacola Bay watershed, sea grass, nitrogen, phosphorus, artificial reef