Alison Roark

Alison Roark

Associate Professor of Biology

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As an animal physiologist, Dr. Roark studies how animals respond to environmental stressors such as elevated temperatures and exposure to pollutants. Most recently, her work has focused on cnidarians, a group of evolutionary ancient animals including corals and sea anemones.​​​ These animals play critical roles in reef ecosystems and engage in a symbiotic relationship with intracellular dinoflagellate algae. Using techniques like fluorescence microscopy and histology, Dr. Roark and her students study how exposure to stressors affects development, growth, and reproduction of cnidarian hosts as well as the symbiotic relationship between hosts and symbionts.


  • Ph.D., University of Florida
  • B.S., University of Virginia


* denotes student co-author

  • Roark, A.M. 2020. Endocrine disruptors and marine systems. Encyclopedia of the World’s Biomes, Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. Elsevier, Inc.
  • *Castleberry, A.M. and A.M. Roark. 2019. Genetic fingerprinting of Exaiptasia pallida anemones via a modified amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) method. Bios 90:139-148.
  • Edwards, T.M., H.E. Morgan, *C. Balasca, N.K. Chalasani, *L. Yam, and A.M. Roark. 2018. Detecting estrogenic ligands in personal care products using a yeast estrogen screen optimized for the undergraduate teaching laboratory. Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) 131:e55754.
  • *Carlisle, J.F., *G.K. Murphy, and A.M. Roark. 2017. Body size and symbiotic status influence gonad development in Aiptasia pallida anemones. Symbiosis 71:121-127.
  • McCoy, K.A, A.M. Roark, A.S.P. Boggs, J.A. Bowden, L. Cruze, T.M. Edwards, H.J. Hamlin, T.M. Cantu, J.A. McCoy, N.A. McNabb, A.G. Wenzel, C.E. Williams, and S. Kohno. 2016. Integrative and comparative reproductive biology: from alligators to xenobiotics. General and Comparative Endocrinology, DOI:10.1016/j.ygcen.2016.03.026.
  • *Thorn, H.A., J.E. Quinn, and A.M. Roark. 2015. Reproductive and developmental effects of tributyltin, bisphenol A, and 17 β-estradiol in pale anemones (Aiptasia pallida). Endocrine Disruptors 3:1, e1030062.
  • Cruze, L., A.M. Roark, G. Rolland, M. Younas, N. Stacy, and L.J. Guillette, Jr. 2015. Endogenous and exogenous estrogens during embryonic development affect timing of hatch and postnatal growth in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B 184:10-18.
  • Roark, A.M. and K.A. Bjorndal. 2014. Bridging developmental boundaries: lifelong dietary patterns modulate life histories in a parthenogenetic insect. PLoS ONE, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111654.
  • Moore, B.C., A.M. Roark, S. Kohno, H.J. Hamlin, and L.J. Guillette, Jr. 2012. Gene-environment interactions: the potential role of contaminants in somatic growth and the development of the reproductive system of the American alligator. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 354:111-120.
  • Edwards, T.M., B.K. Smith, D.L. Watts, C.C. Germain-Aubrey, A.M. Roark, S.M. Bybee, C.E. Cox, H.J. Hamlin, and L.J. Guillette, Jr. 2011. Group-advantaged training of research: a metamorphosis of mentorship. BioScience 61:301-311.
  • Roark, A.M., K.A. Bjorndal, A.B. Bolten, and C. Leeuwenburgh. 2009. Biochemical indices as correlates of recent growth in juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 376:59-67.
  • Roark, A.M., K.A. Bjorndal, and A.B. Bolten. 2009. Compensatory responses to food restriction in juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas). Ecology 90:2524-2534.
  • Roark, A.M. and K.A. Bjorndal. 2009. Metabolic rate depression is induced by caloric restriction and correlates with rate of development and lifespan in a parthenogenetic insect. Experimental Gerontology 44:413-419.
  • *Emerson, J.K. and A.M. Roark. 2007. Composition of guano produced by frugivorous, sanguivorous, and insectivorous bats. Acta Chiropterologica 9:261-267.
  • Franklin, R.B., L.K. Blum, A.C. McCombe, and A.L. Mills. 2002. A geostatistical analysis of small-scale spatial variability in bacterial abundance and community structure in salt marsh creek bank sediments. Federation of European Microbiologists (FEMS) - Microbiology and Ecology 42(1):71-80.