Joel Carlin


Associate Professor and Chair in Biology and Associate Professor in Environmental Studies

Dr. Joel Carlin is a marine biologist, biogeographer and geneticist for the Department of Biology and the Environmental Studies Program.  His research interests involve phylogeography and conservation genetics, particularly in benthic fishes.  Currently Dr. Carlin is investigating the genetic impacts of offshore petroleum drilling and mapping reproduction and migration in a commercially valuable marine fish.  Past projects include evaluating habitat and water quality in Minnesota and uncovering the evolutionary history of fishes and amphibians.  Dr. Carlin's research sponsors student experiences working with Minnesota fish hatcheries and on U.S. marine research vessels in the Gulf of Mexico.  He has mentored undergraduate projects on evaluating lake health by mapping aquatic plants, studies of inbreeding in rare fish, the ecotoxicology of herbicides and species formation in tropical plants.  He was a professor of biology and history at UIC in Zhuhai (Guangdong, China), and is the director of the spring 2016 Semester in Malaysia program with partner institution USM.  During Fall 2015, Dr. Carlin will serve as co-director of the Environmental Studies program, providing signatures to all those pesky forms that students need to fill out.

In addition to his regular courses, Dr. Carlin's teaching interests include marine biology, ichthyology, international biodiversity, the ecopolitics of food, maritime history, herpetology and bioethics.  He has guest lectured on fisheries economics, modern and ancient piracy, creationism, rap music, and the biological underpinnings of sex, gender and race.  Dr. Carlin is involved in developing the sister city relationship between Saint Peter and Petatlan Mexico, including environmental consultancy and education.  Professionally, he is an active participant in the American Fisheries Society and is on the advisory council for Ecologists Without Borders.  He has repeatedly served as a grant reviewer for both the National Science Foundation and the North Pacific Research Board, which distributed research funding from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill court settlements.

Originally from Indiana, Dr. Carlin received his B.S. in marine biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a M.S. in zoology from Louisiana State University, where he studied salamander evolution in the southeastern USA. Joel then became a marine biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for three years, where he worked on stock identification in the newly developed wreckfish fishery. He then received a Ph.D. in fisheries from the University of Florida for his work on the systematics and population genetics of groupers, a diverse subfamily of commercially valuable tropical fishes.  Joel taught Biology and Environmental Studies for three years at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.  While there, he and Umatilla tribal biologists worked on the conservation of the rare streamfish the margined sculpin.

Dr. Carlin's personal interests include career mentorship for environmental students, Asian religious traditions (esp. Daoism and Buddhism), travel, animation (both classic cartoons and anime) and music (particularly rap, hiphop and Afropop).


B.Sc. Marine Biology, Univ. North Carolina Wilmington; M.Sc. Zoology, Louisiana State Univ.; Ph.D. Fisheries, Univ. Florida

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
BIO-101Principles of Biology92016/FA, 2014/FA, 2012/FA, 2011/FA, 2010/FA, 2007/FA, and 2006/FA
BIO-102Organismal Biology Lab92015/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/SP, 2008/SP, and 2007/SP
BIO-102Organismal Biology82015/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/SP, 2009/SP, 2008/SP, and 2007/SP
BIO-385Evolution72015/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/SP, and 2008/SP
BIO-101Principles Lab52016/FA, 2014/FA, 2007/FA, and 2006/FA
BIO-383Aquatic Biology w/Lab52015/FA, 2011/FA, 2009/FA, and 2007/FA
BIO-392Biology Research52012/FA, 2012/SP, and 2011/FA
BIO-397Honors Thesis32012/FA, 2012/SP, and 2011/FA
BIO-383Aquatic Biology32011/FA, 2009/FA, and 2007/FA
BIO-245Conservation Biology Lab32010/FA, 2009/FA, and 2008/FA
BIO-245Conservation Biology32010/FA, 2009/FA, and 2008/FA
FTS-100FTS:Pirates, Explorers22015/FA and 2014/FA
BIO-146Ecuador & Galapagos22011/JN and 2009/JN
IDS-250Bahasa Malaysia I12016/SP
IDS-253Tropical Ecology12016/SP
IDS-251Malaysia Experience12016/SP
IDS-252Malaysia Religious Exp12016/SP
BIO-205Marine Conservation12016/JN
PHY-344AT:Our Global Ocean12012/FA
CHE-344ST:Our Global Ocean12012/FA
BIO-344ST:Our Global Ocean12012/FA
GEO-344ST:Our Global Ocean12012/FA
BIO-100Biology Explorations Lab12008/FA
BIO-100Biology Explorations12008/FA
BIO-121Wolf Conservation12008/JN