Dr. John Lehrter

Dr. John Lehrter


Associate Professor, University of South Alabama
Senior Marine Scientist, Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Ph.D. 2003, University of Alabama

Emphasis: Nutrient biogeochemistry and eutrophication impacts in coastal ecosystems

Research Interests

Multiple Stressor Impacts to Coastal Ecosystems

Estuaries and coastal ecosystems located at the land-sea interface are among the most highly productive systems on Earth and due their proximity to land are also among the most susceptible to human activities. The impacts to these systems therefore are of great societal concern. Work in our lab has focused on land-use change, nutrient pollution, eutrophication, and hypoxia as primary stressors. We have hypothesized that these stressors along with a myriad of other stressors such as, ocean acidification, increasing sea surface temperatures, alterations in watershed hydrology, and harvesting of natural resources have combined to impact habitats and their supported flora and fauna. Our research aims to disentangle and quantify how these stressors manifest both individually and cumulatively in coastal systems, and to predict how the systems may change following management or restoration activities.

Link to selected publications:

Le C, Lehrter JC, Schaeffer B, Hu C, MacIntyre H, Hagy JD, Beddick DL. 2015. Relation between inherent optical properties and land use and land cover across Gulf Coast estuaries. Limnology and Oceanography 60:920-933.


Cai W-J, Hu X, Huang W-J, Murrell MC, Lehrter JC, Lohrenz SE, Chou W-C, Zhai W, Hollibaugh JT, Wang Y, Zhao P, Guo X, Gunderson K, Dai M, Gong G-C. 2011. Acidification of subsurface coastal waters enhanced by eutrophication. Nature Geoscience 4:766-770.


Oliver LM, Lehrter JC, Fisher WS. 2011. Relating landscape development intensity to coral reef condition in the watersheds of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Marine Ecology Progress Series 427:293-302.


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Join the Lab

Our lab offers research and training opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students and postdocs.

PhD and MS graduate students are accepted through the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama. Admission is competitive and requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a GRE score of 300 or better for combined verbal and quantitative subtests. If you meet these criteria, please send your GRE and GPA scores, a current CV, and a brief statement of research interests to jlehrter@disl.org

We accept undergraduate volunteers who are interested in pursuing science as a career. We expect at least a semester-long commitment, during which time you will work on your own project with guidance and consultation from more senior lab members. This means that during the semester we expect at least 12 hours per week and during summer at least 20 hours per week, preferably full time. Please contact John Lehrter to discuss interests and potential projects.


For a complete list of my publications, please visit my Google Scholar site at: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=v09th-sAAAAJ&hl=en


  • Marine Resource Management