UCF Biology

Graham Worthy

  • Pegasus Professor, Department Chair & Director-National Center for Integrated Coastal Research
  • graham.worthy@ucf.edu
  • 407-823-1333
  • Biological Sciences, BIO302A

Research Area(s): Physiological ecology of marine mammals through the study of their bioenergetics, feeding ecology, and habitat utilization.


Graham Worthy is a UCF Pegasus Professor, Provosts Distinguished Professor of Biology and the Hubbs-SeaWorld Endowed Professor of Marine Mammalogy at the University of Central Florida. He is also the Director of the Physiological Ecology and Bioenergetics Lab in the Department of Biology.  He holds a B.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Guelph in Ontario Canada, as well as a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Environmental Physiology from the same institution.  After finishing his Ph.D. he went to the University of California at Santa Cruz on a 3 year ONR Postdoctoral Fellowship.  Professor Worthy was on the faculty of Texas A&M University at Galveston between 1990 and 2001 where he achieved the rank of Full Professor.  During that same time, he was also President and State Director of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network – one of the largest marine mammal response networks in the world.  In 2001 he was recruited to the University of Central Florida.  He was one of the founders of the Comparative Nutrition Society (1995) and subsequently served as Vice-President (2000-2002) and President (2002-2004).  He was a member of the Board of Governors for the Society for Marine Mammalogy (1992-1995) and served as the Conference Chairman for two of their biennial meetings (1989 and 1993).  He is currently a member of the Editorial Review Board of both Frontiers in Aquatic Physiology and Southeastern Naturalist.  He has served on many boards and advisory panels on issues relating to marine mammal strandings, manatee conservation, and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and is currently co-Chair of the North American Region of IUCN Sirenian Specialist Group.

Professor Worthy’s research interests focus on understanding marine ecosystem function, and ultimately ocean health, by examining the interrelationships between different species and how those species respond to natural and anthropogenic perturbations and how individual animals derive their nutritional needs from their environment by studying their energetics, growth, and nutrition.  To achieve this he has undertaken studies on a variety of marine mammal species, including pinnipeds, cetaceans and sirenians, through laboratory and field based investigations designed to examine the capabilities of different species to withstand normal seasonal variation in their environment as well as understanding how human induced change can impact them.


Carmichael, R.H., M. Graham, A. Aven, G.A.J. Worthy and S. Howden. 2012. Were multiple stressors a ‘perfect storm’ for Northern Gulf of Mexico bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in 2011? PLoS One 7(7): e41155. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.

Witteveen, B.H., G.A.J. Worthy, R.J. Foy, and K.M. Wynne. 2011. Modeling the diet of humpback whales: an approach using stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in a Bayesian mixing model. Marine Mammal Science: in press. DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2011.00508.x

Witteveen, B.H., G.A.J. Worthy, K.M. Wynne, A.C. Hirons, A.G. Andrews, and R.W. Markel. 2011. Trophic levels of North Pacific humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) through analysis of stable isotopes: implications on prey and resource quality. Aquatic Mammals 37:101-110.

Alves-Stanley, C.D., G.A.J. Worthy and R.K. Bonde.  2010.  Feeding preferences of West Indian manatees in Florida, Belize, and Puerto Rico as indicated by stable isotope analysis. Marine Ecology Progress Series 402:255-267.

Witteveen, B.H., G. A.J. Worthy, and J. Roth. 2009. Using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios to describe migratory movements of breeding North Pacific humpback whales.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 393:173-183.

Alves-Stanley, C.D. and G.A.J. Worthy. 2009.  Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope turnover rates and diet-tissue discrimination in Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris).  Journal of Experimental Biology 212:2349-2355.

Witteveen, B.H., G.A.J. Worthy, K.M. Wynn, and J.D. Roth.  2009.  Population structure of North Pacific humpback whales on their feeding grounds revealed by stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 379:299-310.

Smith, H.S. and G.A.J. Worthy.  2006.  Stratification and intra- and inter-specific differences in fatty acid composition in common dolphin (Delphinus sp.) blubber. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part B 143: 486-499.

Samuel, A.M. and G.A.J. Worthy.  2004.  Variability in fatty acid composition of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) blubber as a function of body site, season, and reproductive status.  Canadian Journal of Zoology 82:1933-1942.

Kurle, C.M. and G.A.J. Worthy.  2002.  Variations in stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) tissues: Implications for dietary and migratory reconstructions.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 236:289-300.


Faculty Leave the Knights to Tackle Tigers

The UCF College of Sciences is proudly sending off two faculty this fall – Chris Parkinson, Ph.D., and Cynthia Young, Ph.D. Parkinson is a professor of biology and founding director of the Faculty Cluster Initiative... Read more

TEDx Talk With Coastal Implications

  Story by Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala Albert Manero ‘16, president of Limbitless Solutions, will speak about the power of technology and art to help children unlock their identities during the relaunch of TEDx Orl... Read more

Chairs and Directors Leadership Circle

Four University of Central Florida department chairs from the College of Sciences have been selected to be in the UCF Office of Faculty Excellence’s Chairs and Directors Leadership Circle. Tosha Dupras, Ph.D., anthro... Read more

Click here to read additional news stories