Paul Richardson homepage

Paul Richardson

Dive Safety Officer / Deputy Marine Safety Officer

Email: [[v|jprichar]]
Phone: (804) 684-7058
Office: Dive Office
Unit: Marine Operations

Personal Summary

As a marine ecologist, I have gained much experience performing scientific work in SCUBA and operating vessels with various onboard gear. This helped prepare me for my current position as Dive Safety Officer/Deputy Marine Safety Officer at VIMS. In addition to being in charge of the Dive Program, I employ my USCG 100 Ton captain’s license to run vessels and assist in field operations for various groups. Formally trained in oceanography, prior to my current position, most of my scientific experience was in seagrass ecology where I worked with Drs. JJ Orth, Emmett Duffy, Christoffer Bostrom, and many others.


Old Dominion University – Norfolk, Virginia

  • Masters of Biological Oceanography in May 2001
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology (Chemistry minor) in August 1998
Professional Experience

Dive Safety Officer/Deputy Marine Safety Officer                                August 2018 – Present

Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary

Gloucester Point, VA 23062

  • Administer the Dive Program for VIMS under the guidelines of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences AAUS
  • Run vessels and onboard equipment for various research programs
  • Maintain and update certifications and records for the dive team and ensure that everyone is in good standing
  • Perform training as needed
  • Maintain equipment

Research Scientist – Restoration Ecologist                                          July 2014 – August 2018

Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary

Gloucester Point, VA 23062

  • Leading multi-agency seagrass and fisheries ecology collaborations
  • Lead seagrass restoration operations, utilizing power vessels, onboard equipment, and SCUBA
  • Monthly surveys collecting aquatic organisms in the seagrass beds of local estuaries
  • Spatial analysis of seagrass beds with Arc GIS and Trimble GPS
  • R data analysis – various types of modeling with huge data from multiple sources
  • Interpret results, present at conferences, write reports and peer-reviewed articles
  • Maintain experimental aquaculture systems and devise and execute field studies

 Laboratory Manager – Research Scientist                                  May 2001 – July 2014

Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary

Gloucester Point, VA 23062

  • Field and laboratory operations with small vessels and onboard equipment
  • Design and construction of experimental aquaculture systems and field studies
  • Marine flora and faunal taxonomy, identification and analysis
  • Spectrophotometric determination of algal pigments of seagrass epiphytes
  • Monthly surveys of the fauna and flora of the Chesapeake Bay eelgrass beds
  • Collaborated with multinational Zostera Experimental Network (ZEN)
  • Led ZEN experiments in Virginia, North Carolina and Finland
  • Coordinated and shipped supplies for ZEN’s multi-national synoptic experiments
  • Led teacher workshops for their professional development
  • Supervised coordinated multi-vessel field activities in the Chesapeake Bay for Dr. Jen Rhode’s marine biology class (University of North Carolina, Ashville)
  • Supervised and advised graduate students, interns, and laboratory employees
  • Ordered and maintained laboratory supplies and equipment

Masters Research Assistantship                                                August 1999 – May 2001

Department of Ocean, Earth, & Atmospheric Sciences

Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

Applied Research Center, Newport News, VA

  • Research of the effectiveness and mechanisms of high pressure atmospheric plasma to kill bacteria and bacterial spores with potential ballast water applications
  • Utilized fluorescent, light, and scanning electron microscopy of microorganisms,
  • ATP analysis for microbial biomass
  • Tritiated leucine incorporation to measure bacterial production
  • Sole- source carbon substrate utilization (Biolog) experiments

Marine Technician                                                                       May 1999 – August 1999

Department of Ocean, Earth, & Atmospheric Sciences

Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

  • Provided technical support to scientists in the department
  • Vessel operation, computer repair, carpentry, metalwork, and vehicle maintenance

Research Intern                                                                   January 1999 – April 1999

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Marine Bio-invasions Program at SERC, Edgewater, MD

  • Research into the interactions of a pathogen Vibrio cholerae and a copepod, Acartia tonsa, in simulated ballast-tank conditions
  • Interviewed the first officers of cargo and coal ships, sampled ships’ ballast water, and analyzed ballast water data in the lab

Laboratory Technician                                                          July 1998 – January 1999

Department of Ocean, Earth, & Atmospheric Sciences

Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

  • Participated in a ballast water project with faculty and other researchers
  • Interviewed crews and sampled ballast water aboard coal ships
  • Investigated the feeding ecology of groundwater protozoans for a DOE groundwater project

Laboratory Assistant                                                          September 1996 – December 1998

Department of Ocean, Earth, & Atmospheric Sciences

Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

  • Prepared samples, reagents, and other standard solutions for analysis
  • Used pH meters, micro-balances, columns and resins for trace metal analyses
  • Installed and plumbed an atomic absorption spectrophotometer
  • Worked aboard the R/V Cape Hatteras 400 miles offshore on a seven-day oceanographic cruise

Marine Travel-Lift Operator, Hampton Boat Yard                         April 1995 – August 1996

Hampton, VA

  • Operated a 25-ton marine travel lift, forklifts, and other heavy equipment
  • Troubleshot, repaired, rebuilt and painted private and USCG vessels for customers

Tree technician/High climber/Rigger/Ground operations           August 1994 – April 1995

Re-Leaf Tree Care, Gloucester, VA

  • Responsible for all ground and line operations for arborist work
  • Experience with high climbing removals and trimmings
General Skills
  • USCG 100-Ton Inland waters merchant marine license
  • Vessel operator instructor
  • Current CPR and first aid certified
  • Heavy equipment: Marine Travel Lift, Forklift
  • Construction with mixed materials:
    • Fiberglass, metals, wood, plastics, plumbing, wiring, and upholstery
  • NAUI-SCUBA certified – Science Diver
  • YSI operation, calibration, analysis
  • Laboratory Equipment i.e. Spectrophotometer
  • Differential interference contrast microscopy
  • Microphotography
  • William & Mary Supervisor Institute 2018

Computer Skills

  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Blogger
  • R Statistical analysis:
    • netcdf file manipulation
    • generalized mixed models
    • NMDS, SEM, random forests,
    • Machine learning
  • ArcGIS

Richardson JP, Orth RJ, and Lefcheck JS (2018) Warming temperatures alter the relative abundance and distribution of two co-occurring foundational seagrasses in Chesapeake Bay, USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 599:65-74.

Miyashita  L K, Richardson JP, and Duffy JE (2016) Effects of predator richness and habitat heterogeneity on prey suppression in an estuarine food chain.  Marine Ecology Progress Series. 559. 13-20

Duffy  JE, Reynolds PL, Boström C, Coyer JA, Cusson M, Donadi S, Douglass JG, Eklöf J, Engelen  A, Eriksson BK, Fredriksen S, Gamfeldt L, Gustafsson C, Hoarau G, Hori M, Hovel K, Iken K, Lefcheck JS, Moksnes P, Nakaoka M, O'Connor MI, Olsen JL, Richardson JP, Ruesink JL, Sotka EE, Stachowicz JJ, Thormar J, Whalen MA (2015) Biodiversity mediates top-down control in eelgrass ecosystems: A global comparative experiment. Ecology Letters.  18(7)696–705

Reynolds, P. L., J. P. Richardson, and J. E. Duffy (2014) Field experimental evidence that grazers mediate transition between microalgal and seagrass dominance.  Limnology and Oceanography. 59(3),1053-1064

Reynolds PL, Richardson JP, and Duffy JE (2014) Field experimental evidence that grazers mediate transition between microalgal and seagrass dominance.  Limnology and Oceanography. 59(3), 1053-1064

Douglass JG, France KE, Richardson JP, and Duffy JE (2010) Seasonal and interannual change in a Chesapeake Bay eelgrass community: insights into biotic and abiotic control of community structure. Limnology and Oceanography, 55:1499-1520

Spivak AC, Canuel EA, Duffy JE, Douglass JG and Richardson JP (2009) Epifaunal community composition and nutrient levels alter sediment organic matter composition in a seagrass bed: a field Experiment. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 376, 55-67

Spivak AC, Canuel EA, Duffy JE, and Richardson JP (2009) Nutrient enrichment and food web composition affect ecosystem metabolism in an experimental seagrass habitat. PLoS ONE  4(10):e7473:1-13

Spivak AC, Canuel EA, Duffy JE and Richardson JP (2007) Top-down and bottom-up controls on sediment organic matter composition in an experimental seagrass ecosystem. Limnology and Oceanography, 52:6:2595-2607

Douglass JG, Duffy JE, Spivak AE, and Richardson JP (2007) Nutrient versus consumer control of community structure in a Chesapeake Bay eelgrass habitat. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 348:71-83

Duffy JE, Richardson JP, and France KE (2005) Ecosystem consequences of diversity depend on food chain length in estuarine vegetation. Ecology Letters, 8:301-309

Duffy JE, Richardson JP, and Canuel EA (2003) Grazer diversity effects on ecosystem functioning in seagrass beds. Ecology Letters. 6:1-9

Laroussi M,  Richardson JP, and Dobbs FC (2002) Effects of nonequilibrium atmospheric pressure plasmas on the heterotrophic pathways of bacteria and on their cell morphology. Applied Physics Letters. Vol. 81, No. 4

Laroussi M, Dobbs FC, Wei Z, Doblin MA, Ball LG, Moreira KR, Dyer FF, and Richardson JP (2002) Decontamination of water by excimer UV radiation.  IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science. Vol. 30, No. 4

Selected Presentations

Richardson JP (2018) Rappahannock Institute of Lifelong Learning (RILL) Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA. Restoring eelgrass and bay scallops to the seaside of Virginia’s Eastern Shore (oral presentation)

Richardson JP, Orth RJ, Lefcheck JS (2017) Coastal Estuarine Research Federation Meeting, Providence, RI. Pinfish incursion: ecosystem consequences for mid-Atlantic seagrass meadows.  

Richardson JP, Orth RJ, and Wilcox DJ (2016) National Estuarine Research Reserve Annual Meeting, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA. Eelgrass and scallop restoration in the coastal bays of Virginia (oral presentation)

Richardson JP, Orth RJ, Marion SJ and Holbert FC, Wilcox D, and Lefcheck JS (2015)Coastal Estuarine Research Federation Meeting, Portland, OR. Temperature induced changes in the distribution of two seagrasses in Chesapeake Bay (oral presentation)

Richardson PR, Orth RJ, Marion SJ and Holbert FC (2015)Benthic Ecology Meeting. Quebec City, Quebec,Canada. Shifting baselines in the distribution patterns of two submerged angiosperms in the Chesapeake Bay (oral presentation)

Richardson JP, Lefcheck JS, Ziegler SL, Duffy JE (2014) Size structure drivers of crustacean grazer epifauna in a Chesapeake Bay Zostera marina bed. Benthic Ecology Meeting. UNF, Jacksonville, FL (oral presentation)

Richardson JP, Duffy JE, Reynolds PL (2012) Zostera Experimental Network (ZEN) A global approach to experimental seagrass ecology. Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland (oral presentation)

Richardson, J. P. (2012) Fishes of the York River, Discovery Lab Series, Guest Speaker, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. VIMS, VA (oral presentation)

Community Service

2018 PLOS One reviewer

2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 York County, Virginia, Science Fair Judge, Grafton High School

2015 – Present:  Assistant Scoutmaster/Woodbadge Trained (2018), Boy Scouts of America, Troop 200, York County, Virginia

2017 Paper Judge, Coastal Estuarine Research Federation Meeting, Providence, Rhode Island. And 2015 Paper Judge, Benthic Ecology Meeting, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

2012 Worked for 6.5 weeks with Christoffer Boström, and other scientists in Finland on the ZEN Experiments with SCUBA in the Baltic Sea

2011 Zostera Experimental Network (ZEN): Coordinated a large collaborative synoptic field experiment with 14 research groups from around the United States and the world

2011 and 2013 led an instructive field expedition for Dr. Jen Rhode’s marine biology class in the lower Chesapeake Bay. Coordinated the deployment of three vessels with operators to transport the UNC- Asheville students to the field for sampling and instruction

2008 Conducted a teacher’s workshop for 15 high school science teachers that included intensive field and lab experience and data analysis of the communities of an eelgrass bed at the Goodwin Island Nature Reserve

2007 VIMS Mentor for Research Experience for Undergraduates Intern, Diana W. Chin (Boston University) Topic: Effects of emigration and predation pressure on grazers in seagrass mesocosms

2004 – Present, Participant in VIMS Marine Science Day. Set up aquarium display featuring seagrass animals for the general public. Talk to the public about the display and allow them to collect the organisms and view them microscopically.

2005 and 2006 Delivered presentations on climate change and biodiversity to Ms. Babbette Zado’s environmental science students at Grafton High School (York County, VA), including a hands-on microscopic session with live animals from local underwater grass beds

2002 – 2003 VIMS Mentor for The Governor’s School for Science and Technology student, Sonia Abdelaziz 

2000 - 2001 OEAS Graduate Student Organization Vice President (vocational and professional) O.D.U.

2000, 2001, 2002 Volunteered at Regional National Ocean Sciences Bowl Competition (Blue Crab Bowl) for high school students

2000–2001 Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Speaker’s Bureau – Deliver presentations concerning the health of the Chesapeake Bay and the mission of the CBF

2000 Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Organized the OEAS Graduate Student Organization, members to plant eelgrass (Zostera marina) in the Lynnhaven River

2000 Center for Marine Conservation, Beach cleanup

1999 Clean the Bay Day, volunteer

1990 Army Achievement Medal, 1st Battalion 111th Field Artillery - Virginia National Guard