Charles G. Messing, Ph.D., Professor at Nova Southeastern University's Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography in Dania Beach FL, is a scientist, writer, actor, illustrator and educator who has been exploring and communicating about the diversity, ecology and history of the natural world for over 40 years.

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"I was born just beyond the shadow of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. Though my family soon moved to the (then) wilds of northern New Jersey, my career choice was largely guided by visits to the City’s American Museum of Natural History. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Biological Science at Rutgers University (1970), where I also ran track, hosted a classical music radio program, and shared duties at football games during my senior year as the Scarlet Knight. I earned both M.S. (1975, under Frederick M. Bayer) and Ph.D. (1979, under Harding Owre Michel) in Biological Oceanography at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. There, I accompanied several deep-sea dredging and coral reef research expeditions, including one that dredged the 8300-meter-deep floor of the Puerto Rico Trench and led to my first research paper, a description of the deepest-dwelling Atlantic crustacean. A Smithsonian post-doctoral research fellowship with David Pawson followed (1980), and I have been at NSU's Oceanographic Center since 1988.

My first submersible dive, aboard Alvin in 1975 to the floor of a deep canyon in the Bahamas, led to my first public lecture—on deep-sea life—for the Bahamas National Trust. As a mere grad student, I got the gig only when two of my professors declined. When over 600 people showed up, I subdued a rising panic only by noting that the fellow who was to introduce me was even more nervous. Somehow, speaking before an audience has never since seemed as difficult. I have since led 14 deep-sea submersible expeditions funded by NSF and NOAA, and led or participated in over 30 other research and educational expeditions as far afield as Papua New Guinea and Ecuador. I have written or co-authored 56 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and have 44 years experience as a scientific illustrator. I am currently a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution and at Scripps Institute of Oceanography and have been a repeated Visiting Scientist at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris. My research focuses on the ecology and evolution of living crinoids (sea lilies and feather stars) and on deep-sea coral reefs and rocky-bottom habitats. I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses in a variety of subjects, and I deliver presentations on life's diversity to audiences from pre-schoolers to retirees.  I have also produced identification guides to South Florida marine life (sponges, octocorals). My recent video credentials include two episodes of Messing with Nature (NSU, 2010; creator and host) and Hidden Oases: Florida’s Deep-Sea Reefs (NSU/NOAA/BECON, 2008; writer). I am a member of the Explorers Club, and wrote and performed My Beard Toward Heaven, a Play of Michelangelo.” More at:

2012-present    Research Associate, Dept. Invertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

2012-present    Research Associate, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA.

2000-present   Professor, NSU Oceanographic Center, Dania Beach, FL
1994-2000       Adjunct Assoc. Prof., Dept. Geological Science, Univ. Miami, Coral Gables, FL
1993-2000       Associate Professor, NSU Oceanographic Center, Dania Beach, FL
1990-1993       Assistant Professor, NSU Oceanographic Center, Dania Beach, FL
1987-1993       Adjunct Asst. Prof., Dept. Geological Science, Univ. Miami, Coral Gables, FL
1987-1990       Research Associate, Nova University Oceanographic Center, Dania, FL
1985-1988       Independent Consultant: Invertebrate Zoology and Biological Oceanography
1985               Research Associate, Biology and Living Resources, RSMAS, Univ. Miami
1983-1984       Acting Coordinator, Undergraduate Marine Science Program, Univ. Miami
1980-1984       Lecturer in Marine Science, Undergrad. Marine Science Program, Univ. Miami
1979-1980       Post-doctoral Fellow and Research Collaborator, Div. Echinoderms, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1976-1978       Graduate Teaching Assistant, RSMAS, University of Miami
1971                Research Assistant, Div. Echinoderms, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
1970-1975       Associate Curator, Invertebrate Museum, RSMAS, University of Miami

2000, 2005      Visiting Scientist, Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris
2001               Visiting Scholar, University of Sydney (November)
1994-6, 1998   Visiting Scientist, Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris
1991               Christensen Research Institute Fellowship, Madang, Papua New Guinea
1979-80          Smithsonian Institution Post-doctoral Fellowship
1970-73        National Science Foundation Traineeship


Deep-sea and Cold-water Coral Reefs Seminar
Marine and Coastal Flora and Fauna
Taxonomy of South Florida Marine Invertebrates

Deep-water Ecology of the Strait of Florida
Marine Invertebrate Zoology
Marine Environments of South Florida


Introduction to Biology I and II
Introduction to Marine Biology Seminar
Invertebrate Zoology
Gulf Stream Ecology
Introductory Oceanography
Introduction to Marine Science (High School Honors)
Historical Geology

Biology: Concepts and Connections
Amoebas to Zebras: The Diversity of Life on Earth
The Age of Dinosaurs
Introduction to Oceanography
Introduction to Marine Biology
Elementary Zoology
Introduction to Biological Science




Bahamas National Trust, Nassau; Belle Baruch Marine Science Center, Univ. South Carolina; Biology Dept., Agnes Scott College; Florida Museum of Natural History; Geology Dept., Auburn University; Geology Dept., Univ. Cincinnati; Geology Dept., University of Tokyo; Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Ft. Pierce FL; International Oceanographic Foundation, Miami FL; Lizard Island Research Station, Australia; Marine Science Curriculum, Univ. North Carolina; Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute; Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris; National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; Natural History Museum, London; Newfound Harbor Marine Institute, Big Pine Key FL; NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (at Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta); Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, Univ. of Miami.

American Littoral Society; Broward County Parks & Recreation; Broward County Schools; Broward County Shell Club; Dade County Schools; Dade County Shell Club; Florida Marine Science Educators Assoc.; Girl Scouts of America; International Oceanographic Foundation; Institute for Retired Professionals (NSU); Kiwanis; Miami Museum of Science; Monroe County Schools; Museum of Discovery & Science, Ft. Lauderdale; Blowing Rocks Preserve, Nature Conservancy, Hobe Sound FL; Norwegian Caribbean Lines; New World Aquarium; NSU Alumni Organization; Palau Coral Reef Center, Koror, Palau; Princess Cruise Lines; Propeller Club, Broward Co., FL; Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, Univ. Miami; Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines; Seacamp, Big Pine Key, FL; Smithsonian Travel Associates; South Florida Association of Environmental Professionals; South Florida Marine Aquarium Society; South Florida Reef Research Team; Sportfishermen of Broward County, Inc.; University of Miami Alumni Association; The Explorers Club.

National Science Foundation; US Navy; US Department of Energy; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Suez Energy North America; Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Mote Marine Laboratory; Florida Institute of Oceanography; Ecology and Environment, Inc.; Ecological Services Program, URS Corporation; Broward County Schools.