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Dr. Campbell Joseph Nairn

Professor, Conservation Genetics, Molecular Ecology, Forest Biotechnology

Contact Information

Pictured: Dr. Joe Nairn

Contact Dr. Campbell Joseph Nairn

Ph.D. Major-Molecular Biology/Plant Science, Minor-Zoology, University of Florida
M.S. Molecular Biology/Botany, University of Florida
B.S. Biology, University of Central Florida


Research Areas Detail:

The overarching goal of our research program is to conduct basic and applied research focused on conservation, management, and restoration of natural resources. Molecular genetic and genomic approaches, as well as other biotechnologies are central to our program. Projects in the lab include two somewhat distinct, but complimentary areas of research. 

The first of these is focused on the genetics of wildlife populations, particularly threatened species. The current rate at which species are disappearing or declining is of great concern. Additionally, fragmentation of habitat and populations restricts migration, dispersal and consequently gene flow. We use molecular genetics and genomic approaches to study these populations. Research topics include genetic structure, differentiation between fragmented populations, and inbreeding in small populations. Ongoing projects include the genetic structure of marine turtle populations in the southeastern US and the Greater Caribbean and the reproductive ecology of loggerhead turtles in the US Northern Recovery Unit. Collaborations with marine turtle researchers from around the globe combine data from individual efforts to investigate genetic structure and ecology of marine turtles across ocean basins and on a global scale. 

A second area of emphasis in the lab is Forest Biotechnology. We have characterized genes involved in cellulose and hemicellulose synthesis of loblolly pine and approaches for modifying properties of lignocellulosic feedstocks for bioenergy production. Current research includes forest health, particularly emerging threats to natural forests that are frequently due to introduced pathogens. We collaborate with Dr. Scott Merkle’s research group on American chestnut restoration. A major objective of this work is to identify and propagate American chestnut germplasm with resistance to the chestnut blight Cryphonectriaand root diseases caused by Phytophthora. We accept graduate students for M.S. and PhD. programs of study in the fall semester. Graduate assistantships are available on a competitive basis to qualified candidates. Applications are generally due in January for admission in the fall semester. Application and program details can be found at

Prior Positions:
University of Georgia, Department of Plant Biology, Assistant Research Scientist
University of Florida, Department of Horticultural Sciences, Research Associate
U.S.D.A. ,A.R.S., Horticultural Research Laboratory, Research Scientist

Recent Citations:

Hamilton, JL, Workman, JN, Nairn CJ, Fraedrich, SW, Villari, C (2020) Rapid detection of Raffaelea lauricola directly from host plant and beetle vector tissues using loop-mediated isothermal amplification. Plant Disease

Shamblin, BM, Hart, KM, Martin, KJ, Ceriani, SA, Bagley, DA, Mansfield, KL, Ehrhart, LM, Nairn, CJ (2020) Green turtle mitochondrial microsatellites indicate finer-scale natal homing to isolated islands than to continental nesting sites. Marine Ecology Progress Series 643:159-171.

Pfaller, JB, Pajuelo, M, Vander Zanden, HB, Andrews, KM, Dodd, MG, Godfrey, MH, Griffin, DB, Ondich, BL, Pate, SM, Williams, KL, Shamblin, BM, Nairn, CJ, Bolten, AB, Bjorndal, KA (2020) Identifying patterns in foraging-area origins in breeding aggregations of migratory species: Loggerhead turtles in the Northwest Atlantic. PLOS One 15(4): e0231325.

Shaver, DJ, Frandsen, HR, Waler, JX, Montello, MA, Turman, S, Nairn, CJ, Shamblin, BM, Dutton, PH, Frey, A (2019) Chelonia mydas (Green Sea Turtle) Nesting Behavior. Herpetological Review 50(3):555-556.

Tumas, H, Shamblin B, Woodrey M, Nairn C (2018-19) Broad-scale patterns of genetic diversity and structure in a foundational salt marsh species, black needlefish (Juncus roemerianus). Conservation Genetics 20:903-915.

Pfaller  JB, Williams, KL, Frick, MG, Shamblin, BM, Nairn, CJ, Girondot, M (2019) Genetic determination of tag loss dynamics in nesting loggerhead turtles: a new chapter in “the tag loss problem”. Marine Biology 166:97.

Pfaller, JB, Shamblin, BM, Miles, CL, Williams, KL, Nairn, CJ (2019) Caretta caretta (Loggerhead Sea Turtle) X Lepidochelys kempii (Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle) Fertile Hybrid. Herpetological Review 50(2):347.

Coughlin, E, Shamblin B, Tumas H, Chandler R, Nairn C (2019) The complete mitochondrial genome of the Canada warbler (Cardellina canadensis). Mitochondrial DNA Part B: Resources 4(1):450-451.

Shamblin BM, Godgrey MH, Pate SM, Thompson WP, Sutton H, Altman J, Fair K, McClary J, Wilson AM, Milligan B, Statzar EJ, Nairn CJ (2018) Green turtles nesting at their northern range limit in the United States represent a distinct subpopulation. Chelonian Conservation and Biology17(20:314-319.


Shamblin BM, Mansfield KL, Seney EE, Long CA, Bagley DA, Nairn CJ (2018) Brazilian origin of a neritic juvenile green turtle x loggerhead turtle hybrid foraging in Florida. Marine Turtle Newsletter155:3-6.


Perera D, Magbanua ZV, Thummasuwan S, Mukherjee D, Arick M, Chouvarine P, Nairn CJ, Schmutz J, Grimwood J, Dean JFD, Peterson DG (2018)Exploring the loblolly pine (Pinus taedaL.) genome by BAC sequencing and Cot analysis. Gene663:165-177.


Tumas HR, Shamblin BM, Woodrey M, Nibbelink NP, Chandler R, Nairn CJ (2018) Landscape genetic of the foundational salt marsh plant species black needlerush (Juncus roemerianusScheele) across the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.Landscape Ecology33:1585-1601.


Shamblin BM, Witherington BE, Hirama S, Hardy RF, Nairn CJ (2018) Mixed stock analyses indicate population-scale connectivity effects of active dispersal by surface-pelagic green turtles. Marine Ecology Progress Series601:215-226.


Ferrari, BA, Shamblin BM, Chandler RB, Tumas HR, Hache s, Reitsma L, Nairn CJ (2018) Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis): novel molecular markers and a preliminary analysis of genetic diversity and structure. Avian Conservation and Ecology13(1):8.


Shamblin BM, Dodd MG, Griffin DB, Pate SM, Godgrey MH, Coyne MS, Williams KL, Pfaller JB, Ondich BL, Andrews KM, Boettcher R, Nairn CJ (2017) Improved female abundance and reproductive parameter estimates through subpopulation-scale genetic capture-recapture of loggerhead turtles. Marine Biology164:138.


Tumas HR, Shamblin BM, Woodrey MS, Nairn CJ (2017) Microsatellite markers for population studies of the salt marsh species Juncus roemerianus(Juncaceae). Applications in Plant Sciences5(3):1600141.


Shamblin BM, Cutton PH, Shaver DJ, Bagley DA, Ehrhart LM, Mansfield KM, Pena LJ, Nairn CJ (2017) Mexican origins for the Texas green turtle foraging aggregation: a cautionary tale of incomplete baselines and poor marker resolution. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 488:111-120.


Finn SA, Thompson WP, Shamblin BM, Nairn CJ, Godfrey MH (2016) Northernmost records of hawksbill sea turtle nests and possible trans-Atlantic colonization event. Marine Turtle Newsletter151:27-29.


Gorham JC, Bresette MJ, Guertin JR, Shamblin BM, Nairn CJ (2016) Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in an urban estuary system: Lake Worth Lagoon, Florida. Florida Scientist79:14-27.


Shamblin BM, Dutton PH, Bjorndal KA, Bolten AB, Naro-Maciel E, Santos AJB, Bellini C, Baptistotte C, Marcovaldi MÂ, Nairn CJ (2015) Deeper mitochondrial sequencing reveals cryptic diversity and structure in Brazil’s green turtle rookeries. Chelonian Conservation and Biology14:167-172.


Shamblin BM, Bagley DA, Ehrhart LM, Nairn CJ (2015) Mitochondrial repeat haplotypes suggest local origins for CM-A13 green turtles foraging in Florida. Marine Turtle Newsletter 146:11-13.


Shamblin, BM, Bagley, DA, Ehrhart, LM, Desjardin, NA, Martin, RE, Hart, KM, Naro-Maciel, E, Rusenko, K, Stiner, JC, Sobel, D, Johnson, C, Wilmers, TJ, Wright, LJ, Nairn, CJ. (2015) Genetic structure of Florida green turtle rookeries as indicated by mitochondrial DNA control region sequences. Conservation Genetics16(3):673-685.


Gorham, JC, Clark, DR, Bresette, MJ, Bagley, DA, Keske, CL, Traxler, SL, Witherington, BE, Shamblin, BM, Nairn, CJ (2014) Characterization of a subtropical hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmocheyles imbricata) assemblage utilizing shallow water natural and artificial habitats in the Florida Keys. PLoS ONE9(12): e114171. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0114171


Naro-Maciel, E., Reid, B.N., Alter, S.E., Amato, G., Bjorndal, K.A., Bolten, A.B., Martin, M., Nairn, C.J., Shamblin, B., Pineda-Catalan, O. (2014) From refugia to rookeries: Phylogeography of Atlantic green turtles. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology461:306-316.


Kong, L., Holtz, C.T., Nairn, C.J., Houke, H., Powell, W.A., Baier, K., Merkle, S.A. (2014) Application of airlift bioreactors to accelerate genetic transformation in American chestnut. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture117:39-50.


Shamblin BM, Bolten AB, Abreu-Grobois FA, Bjorndal KA, Cardona L, Carreras C, Clusa M, Monzón-Argüello C, Nairn CJ, Nielsen JT, Nel R, Soares LS, Stewart KR, Vilaça ST, Türkozan O, Yilmaz C, Dutton PH (2014) Geographic patterns of genetic variation in a broadly distributed marine vertebrate: new insights into loggerhead turtle stock structure from expanded mitochondrial DNA sequences. PLoS ONE9(1): DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0085956)


Nelson, CD, Powell, WA, Maynard, CA, Baier, KM, Newhouse, A, Merkle, SA, Nairn, CJ, Kong, L, Carlson, JE, Addo-Quaye, C., Staton, ME, Hebard, FV, Georgi, LL, Abbott, AG, Olukolu, BA, Zhebentyayeva, T (2014) The Forest Health Initiative, American chestnut (Castanea dentata) as a model for forest tree restoration: Biological research program. Acta Horticulturae(ISHS) 1019:179-189.


Vander Zanden H.B., Pfaller J.B., Reich K.J., Pajuelo M., Bolten A.B., Williams K.L., Frick M.G., Shamblin B.M., Nairn C.J., Bjorndal K.A. (2014) Foraging areas differentially affect reproductive output and interpretation of trends in abundance of loggerhead turtles. Marine Biology161:585-598.


Shamblin, B.M., Berry, B.E., Lennon, D.M., Meylan, A.B., Meylan, P.A., Outerbridge, M.E., Nairn, C.J. (2013) Tetranucleotide microsatellite loci from the critically endangered hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). Conservation Genetics Resources5:23-26.


Shamblin, B.M., Bjorndal, K.A., Bolten, A.B., Nairn, C.J. (2012) Natal homing by an adult male green turtle at Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Marine Turtle Newsletter134:21-22.


Shamblin, B.M., Bolten, A.B., Bjorndal, K.A., Dutton, P.H., Nielsen, J.T., Abreu-Grobois, A., Reich, K.J., Witherington, B.E., Bagley, D.A., Ehrhart, L.M., Tucker, A.D., Addison, D.S., Arenas, A., Johnson, C., Carthy, R.R., Lamont, M.M., Dodd, M.G., Gaines, M.S., LaCasella, E., Nairn, C.J. (2012) Expanded mitochondrial control region sequences increase resolution of stock structure among North Atlantic loggerhead turtle rookeries. Marine Ecology Progress Series469:145-160.


Lehmicke, A.J., Berry, B.E., Shamblin, B.M., Lennon, D.M., Woodrey, M.S., Cooper, R.J., Nairn, C.J. (2012) Isolation and charactertization of tetranucleotide microsatellite loci from the seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus). Conservation Genetics Resources4:881-884.


Shamblin, B.M., Bjorndal, K.A., Bolten, A.B., Hillis-Starr, Z.M., Lundgren, I., Naro-Maciel, E., Nairn, C.J. (2012) Mitogenomic sequences better resolve stock structure of southern Greater Caribbean green turtle rookeries. Molecular Ecology21:2330-2340.


Shamblin, B.M., Berry, B.E., Lennon, D.M., Bagley, D.A., Ehrhart, L.M., Nairn, C.J. (2012) Tetranucleotide microsatellite loci from the endangered green turtle (Chelonia mydas). Conservation Genetics Resources4:783-785.


Shamblin, B.M., Dodd, M.G., Bagley, D.A., Ehrhart, L.M., Tucker, A.D., Johnson, C., Carthy, R.R., Scarpino, R.A., McMichael, E., Addison, D.S., Williams, K.L., Frick, M.G., Ouellette, S., Meylan, A.B., Godfrey, M.H., Murphy, S.R., Nairn, C.J. (2011) Genetic structure of the southeastern United States loggerhead turtle nesting aggregation: evidence of additional structure within the peninsular Florida recovery unit. Marine Biology158:571-587.


Alstad, T.I., Shamblin, B.M., Bagley, D.A., Ehrhart, L.M., Nairn, C.J. (2011) Isolation and characterization of tetranucleotide microsatellites from the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriaceaConservation Genetics Resources3:457-460.


Shamblin, B.M., Dodd, M.G., Williams, K.L., Frick, M.G., Bell, R., Nairn, C.J. (2011) Loggerhead turtle eggshells as a source of maternal nuclear genomic DNA for population genetic studies. Molecular Ecology Resources11:110-115.


Shamblin, B.M., Alstad, T.I., Stevenson, D.J., Macey, J.N., Snow, F.H., Nairn, C.J. (2011) Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers from the threatened eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi)Conservation Genetics Resources3:303-306.