Jonathan Fingerut, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Director of Environmental Science and Sustainability Studies
Disciplines Taught: Biology, Environmental Science, Environmental and Sustainability 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
  • Exploring the Earth


Brannin M.*, O’Donnell M.K.*, Fingerut J.T. 2014 Effects of ontogeny and hydrodynamics on the growth rates of the black fly Simulium tribulatum. Integrative Zoology 9:61-69

Fingerut J.T., Orbe K. *, McRobert S.* 2013 Fluorescein dye as a tagging agent for Drosophila dispersal studies. Drosophila Information Service 95:117-122

Fingerut J.T., Orbe K.*, Flynn D.*, Habdas P.* 2013 Creating a better bone: A biomechanics laboratory exercise. Bioscene 39:10-15

Fingerut J.T., and Simmen L.* 2012 Silk use by benthic macroinvertebrates. In Silk: properties, production and uses. NOVA Scientific Publishers

Habdas P.*, Mawhinney M.*, O’Donnell M.K.*, Fingerut J.T. 2012 Measuring drag force in Newtonian liquids in the introductory laboratory. The Physics Teacher 97

Oates J.*, Fingerut J.T. 2011 Internal movement of estuarine digenetic trematodes through their intermediate snail host Cerithidea californica. Journal of Parasitology 97:1181-1183

Fingerut J.T., Hart D.D., Thomson J. 2011 Larval settlement in benthic environments: The effects of velocity and bed element geometry. Freshwater Biology, 56:904-915

Fingerut, J., Schamel, L., Faugno, A., Mestrinaro, M., and Habdas, P. 2009 Role of silk threads in the dispersal of larvae through stream poools. Journal 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.

A second research project is looking at the ecology and biology of an invasive fruit fly known as the spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) which has spread across the country in recent years affecting fruit crops such as blueberries and raspberries. My lab, along with the McRobert and Braverman labs here at SJU are investigating the dispersal, lifecycles, population genetics, and overwintering of this agricultural menace.

Finally, moving beyond invertebrates but staying in streams: in collaboration with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, we are working to better understand the ecology of a ubiquitous (and possibly cryptic) species of diatom, Achnanthidium minutissimum. Specifically we are looking at the effects of flow and density on its growth, and other environmental factors on its movement.



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