Jonathan Fingerut, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Disciplines Taught: Biology, Environmental Science, Animal Studies
Office: Science Center 221
Research Lab: Science Center 111
Phone: 610-660-1830
Fax: 610-660-1832
Website: Faculty Website


  • B.A.  in Biology (1994), Cornell University, Ithaca NY
  • Ph.D. in Biology (2003), University of California, Los Angeles

Professional Experience

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (2003-2006), Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Adjunct Professor (2005-2006), Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, PA

Assistant Professor (2006-present), Department of Biology, Saint Joseph‘s University, Philadelphia, PA

Courses Taught

  • Organismic Biology
  • Invertebrate Zoology
  • The Environment
  • Oceanography
  • Field Research Techniques
  • Biomechanics


Fingerut, J., Schamel, L., Faugno, A., Mestrinaro, M., and Habdas, P. 2009 Role of silk threads in the dispersal of larvae through stream poools. Jounral of Zoology, 279:137-143 [pdf]

Zimmer, R.K., Fingerut J.T., Zimmer, C.A. 2009 Dispersal Pathways, Seed Rains, and the Dynamics of Larval Behavior. Ecology, 90:1933-1947 [pdf]

Fingerut, J.T., Hart, D.D., J.N. McNair. 2006. Silk filaments enhance the settlement of stream insect larvae. Oecologia, 150:202-212 [pdf]

Thomson, J.R., Clark B.D., Fingerut J.T., D.D. Hart. 2004. Local modification of benthic flow environments by suspension-feeding stream insects. Oecologia, 140: 533-542 [pdf]

Fingerut, J.T., Zimmer,C.A., R.K. Zimmer. 2003. Patterns and processes of larval emergence in an estuarine parasite system. Biological Bulletin, 205: 110-120 [pdf]

Fingerut, J.T., Zimmer, C.A., R.K. Zimmer. 2003. Larval swimming overpowers turbulent mixing and facilitates transmission of a marine parasite. Ecology, 84: 2502- 2515 [pdf]


Research in my laboratory focuses on the role of hydrodynamics and larval behavior in determining the spatial distribution of invertebrates in aquatic systems. Though often poorly understood, flow can be one of the most important environmental factors determining these distributions.

Currently, we are studying larvae of the black fly Simulium tribulatum. Relying on fast flow for food, safety from predators, and transportation, this aquatic life-stage of a terrestrial fly is particularly sensitive to hydrodynamic conditions in its stream habitat. Recent work has determined that the use of silk threads, similar to those produced by spiders, can influence how these larvae are transported downstream. These threads not only increase their ability to settle in regions of preferred fast flow, but may also facilitate emigration from regions with unsuitably slow flow. Future research will determine how the silk is produced, used, and under what conditions it is most effective.

In a related study, my students and I are working to understand how differences in the shape and arrangement of objects that make up the streambed can affect a larva‘s ability to settle. In both the field and in the laboratory, flow probes, video analysis and a specialized flume allow us to quantify the conditions under which larvae settle, and determine how much an individual‘s behavior can influence that process. These projects will allow us to predict how changes in the natural environment will affect invertebrate populations.


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