Reuben J.A. Macfarlan, Ph.D.

Lecturer, Marine Science
Department of Science

Dr. Macfarlan is a marine ecologist who is interested in studying invertebrates and the interaction of people and living aquatic environments. He has worked on the east and west coasts of the US and Caribbean for state agencies, as a federal contractor, and for three universities. His current projects at the CGA include working with cadets and collaborating with other faculty on improving anti-fouling strategies employed by the Coast Guard, investigating marine sponges as reservoirs of novel biocompounds, and studying an emergent and highly toxic invasive jellyfish. Dr. Macfarlan’s teaching philosophy focuses on increasing the scientific literacy of cadets while fostering an inclusive environment in the classroom, field, and lab.


  • Ph.D., Chemical Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, Rhode Island, 2004
  • M.E., Ocean Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, 1999
  • B.A., Chemistry, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1996

Professional Experience

  • 2003-04: State Survey Coordinator, US Department of Agriculture-APHIS
  • 2004-05: At Sea Fisheries Observer II-New England, NOAA-National Marine Fisheries Service
  • 2005-07: Aquatic Biologist, North Shore Sea Sampler. Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
  • 2007-10: Research Associate II-Marine Science Institute, PISCO Lab, University of California Santa Barbara
  • 2011: Consultant ASA-RPS, NOAA/NRDA, Rhode Island, Deep Water Horizon Response

Teaching Experience

  • University of Rhode Island, 2011-2018
  • Salve Regina University, 2015-18
  • US Coast Guard Academy 2018-Present

Courses Taught at the Coast Guard Academy

  • Marine Biology, Lab and Lecture
  • Atmospheric and Marine Science

Courses Taught at the University of Rhode Island

  • Marine Biology Lab
  • Biology for Everyday Life
  • Advanced Animal Behavior
  • Animal Physiology
  • Special Problems in Marine Ecology
  • Marine Invertebrates of Southern New England

Courses Taught at the Salve Regina University

  • Biology for Humans
  • Humans and their Environment

Selected Publications and Presentations

  • Macfarlan, RJA, Forrester, GE, McLean Elizabeth. Isolating The Effect Of Artisanal Fishing On An Intertidal Gastropod In The Caribbean. Proceedings of the Gulf Caribbean Fisheries Institute. 2015.
  • GE Forrester, RJA Macfarlan, AJ Holevoet, S Merolla. Dislodgement force and shell morphology vary according to wave exposure in a tropical gastropod (Cittarium pica). Marine Biology Research 12 (9), 986-992
  • Gosnell JS, Macfarlan RJ, Shears NT, Caselle JE. A dynamic oceanographic front drives biogeographical structure in invertebrate settlement along Santa Cruz Island, California, USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 2014.
  • B Helmuth, F Choi, A Matzelle, JL Torossian, SL Morello, KAS Mislan, …Long-term, high frequency in situ measurements of intertidal mussel bed temperatures using biomimetic sensors. Scientific data 3, 16008.

Contact Information