Eric W. Montie, Ph.D.Eric W. Montie, M.S., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology
University of South Carolina Beaufort
Science and Technology Building, Room 103
One University Boulevard, Bluffton, SC 29909
Office: 843-208-8107     Lab: 843-208-8192     Fax: 843-208-8294

Follow Our Lab on Facebook: Marine Sensory and NeuroLab At USCB

USCB Lowcountry Dolphin Conservation

Give to the Lowcountry Dolphin Conservation (Click Here)


Marine Sensory & Neurobiology Lab Overview

Marine sensory and neurobiology, bioacoustics of marine organisms, soundscape ecology, fish biology, marine mammal biology, environmental toxicology, noise pollution, and climate change.


  • B. S. in Zoology, University of Rhode Island (1993)
  • M. S. in Environmental Toxicology, Clemson University (1999)
  • Ph. D. in Biological Oceanography, MIT/WHOI Joint Program (2006)


Biographical Sketch

I earned a B.S. degree in Zoology at the University of Rhode Island in 1993, and then embarked upon post-baccalaureate studies in Biochemistry at Harvard University. I received a M.S. degree in Environmental Toxicology at Clemson University in 1999. My major advisers were Dr. Ed Pivorun and Dr. Mike Hooper. I worked from 1999 to 2000 as a marine mammal field biologist at the National Ocean Service in Charleston, SC with Dr. Pat Fair and Larry Hansen. I completed my Ph.D. in September 2006 in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Biological Oceanography. My dissertation research was in the area of marine mammal toxicology, and my thesis was entitled "Approaches for Assessing the Presence and Impact of Thyroid Hormone Disrupting Chemicals (THDCs) in Delphinid Cetaceans". One very important accomplishment of my thesis research was to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the size of brain structures in marine mammals and how these structures change during development.

From 2006 to 2007, I served as a postdoctoral investigator in Dr. Chris Reddy's Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry Lab at WHOI, where I performed organohalogen contaminant and metabolite analyses in cerebrospinal fluid and cerebellum gray matter of various marine mammal species. Subsequently, from 2007 to 2010, I did postdoctoral work in marine bioacoustics (i.e., sound production and hearing of marine vertebrates) in Dr. David Mann's Lab at the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida. In addition, during this time, I was awarded a NOAA Oceans and Human Health grant in collaboration with Dr. Frances Gulland to use MRI and volumetric neuroimaging to investigate the effects of domoic acid on the brain of California sea lions.

In January 2011, I joined the University of South Carolina Beaufort as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Sciences. In 2013, I received a Breakthrough Rising Star award by USC Columbia for outstanding research (15 selected of 2000 faculty) and was awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2016. Since 2016, I have served as an Adjunct Faculty in the Graduate Program in Marine Biology, College of Charleston, which allows me to serve as a primary advisor for MS students in this program.

Research Interests

Our Team has built a strong research program in soundscape ecology with a focus on estuaries. Since 2013, our lab has been recording the underwater soundscape of the May River estuary, South Carolina. From 2017 to 2019, we expanded our soundscape monitoring program to Charleston Harbor, Chechessee Creek, Colleton River, and the North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. In 2020, NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing Systems (IOOS) and the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) invested in our lab, and we founded the “Estuarine Soundscape Observatory Network in the Southeast” or “ESONS”. We utilize passive acoustic recorders mounted on oceanographic instrument frames that allow continuous and long-term sampling of the underwater soundscape. These recordings provide information on the behavior of snapping shrimp, spawning patterns of fish, foraging patterns and communication of bottlenose dolphins, and noise levels associated with human activity. The long-term goal is to ‘eavesdrop’ on key behaviors of marine animals that can change rapidly or gradually in response to environmental changes and human impacts, thus providing a measure of resilience or shifting baselines in a globally changing environment.

Current Research Projects

  • Spatial patterns and temporal rhythms of estuarine soundscapes
  • Understanding spawning aggregations of sciaenids using passive acoustics
  • Establishing a relationship between seasonal patterns of fish sound production and seasonal patterns of fish abundance
  • Long-term acoustic monitoring of fish spawning aggregations as a means to detect shifts in reproduction associated with climate variability.
  • Risks of recreational boat noise on acoustic communication of fish.
  • Effects of dredging and shipping noise on acoustic communication of fish and bottlenose dolphins in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
  • Bottlenose dolphin abundance, distribution, and residency in the May River, Chechessee Creek, Colleton River, and Okatie River, SC.



  • Biological Principles II
  • Animal Physiology
  • Neurobiology
  • Ichthyology


Publications (underlined authors USCB undergraduates)

  1. Monczak A, McKinney B, Mueller C, Montie EW. (2020). What’s all that racket! Soundscapes, phenology, and biodiversity in estuaries. PLoS ONE 15(9): e0236874. https://doi. org/10.1371/journal.pone.0236874.
  2. Mueller C, Monczak A, Soueidan J, McKinney B, Smott S, Mills T, Ji Y, Montie E.W. (2020). Sound characterization and fine-scale spatial mapping of an estuarine soundscape in the southeastern USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series645:1-23. (FEATURE ARTICLE).
  3. Monczak A., Ji Y., Soueidan J., Montie E.W. (2019). Automatic detection, classification, and quantification of sciaenid fish calls in an estuarine soundscape in the Southeast United States. PLoS ONE 14(1): e0209914.
  4. Monczak A., Mueller C., Miller M.E., Ji Y., Borgianini S.A., Montie E.W. (2019). Sound patterns of snapping shrimp, fish, and dolphins in an estuarine soundscape of the southeastern USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series 609:49-68.
  5. Smott, S., Monczak, A., Miller, M., Montie, E.W. (2018). Boat noise in an estuarine soundscape – a potential risk on the acoustic communication and reproduction of soniferous fish in the May River, South Carolina. Marine Pollution Bulletin133, 246-260.
  6. Monczak, A., Berry A., Kehrer C., Montie E.W. (2017). Long-term acoustic monitoring of fish calling provides baseline estimates of reproductive timelines in the May River estuary, southeastern USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series 581, 1-19. (FEATURE ARTICLE).
  7. Montie, E.W.Hoover, M.Kehrer, C., Yost, J., Brenkert, K., O'Donnell, T., Denson, M.R. (2017). Acoustic monitoring indicates a positive relationship between calling frequency and spawning in captive spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). PeerJ 5:e2944; DOI 10.7717/peerj.2944
  8. Montie, E.W.Kehrer, C., Yost, J., Brenkert, K., O'Donnell, T., Denson, M.R. (2016). Long-term monitoring of captive red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) reveals that calling incidence and structure correlate with egg deposition. Journal of Fish Biology 88, 1776-1795.
  9. Colon-Perez, L.M ., Spindler, C., Goicochea, S., Triplett, W., Parekh, M., Montie, E., Carney, P., Price, C., Mareci, T. (2015). Dimensionless, scale invariant, edge weight metric for the study of complex structural networks. PLOS ONE10(7): e0131493. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131493.
  10. Montie, E.W.Vega, S., & Powell, M.(2015). Seasonal and spatial patterns of fish sound production in the May River, South Carolina. Transactions of American Fisheries Society 144, 705-716.
  11. Powell, M.H.,Nguyen, H.V., Gilbert, M., Parekh, M., Colon-Perez, L.M., Mareci, T.H., Montie, E.W. (2012).  Magnetic resonance imaging and volumetric analysis: novel tools to study thyroid hormone disruption and its effects on white matter development. Neurotoxicology 33, 1322-1329.
  12. Montie, E.W., Wheeler, E., Pussini, N., Battey, T.W.K., Van Bonn, W., Gulland, F. (2012).  Magnetic resonance imaging reveals that brain atrophy is more severe in older California sea lions with domoic acid toxicosis. Harmful Algae20, 19-29.
  13. Fair, P.A., Montie, E., Balthis, L., Reif, J.S., Bossart, G.D. (2011).  Influences of biological variables and geographic location on circulating concentrations of thyroid hormones in wild bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). General and Comparative Endocrinology174, 184-194.
  14. Van Bonn, W., Montie, E., Dennison, S., Pussini, N., Cook, P., Greig, D., Barakos, J., Colegrove, K., Gulland, F. (2011). Evidence of injury caused by gas bubbles in a live marine mammal: barotraumas in a California sea lion Zalophus californianusDiseases of Aquatic Organisms96, 89-96.
  15. Moore, M.J., Hammar, T., Arruda, J., Cramer, S., Dennison, S., Montie, E., Fahlman, A. (2011). Hyperbaric computed tomographic measurement of lung compression in seals and dolphins. The Journal of Experimental Biology214, 2390-2397.
  16. Montie, E.W., Manire, C.A., Mann, D.A. (2011). Live CT imaging of sound reception anatomy and hearing measurements in the pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata). The Journal of Experimental Biology 214, 945-955. (INSIDE JEB).
  17. Mann, D., Hill-Cook, M., Manire, C., Greenhow, D., Montie, E., et al. (2010). Hearing loss in stranded odontocete dolphins and whales. PLOS ONE5(11): e13824. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013824.
  18. Montie, E.W., Wheeler, E., Pussini, N., Battey, T.W.K., Barakos, J., Dennison, S., Colegrove, K., Gulland, F., (2010). Magnetic resonance imaging quality and volumes of brain structures from live and postmortem imaging of California sea lions with clinical signs of domoic acid toxicosis. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms91, 243-256.
  19. Montie, E.W., Letcher, R.J., Reddy, C.M., Moore, M.J., Rubinstein, B., Hahn, M.E., (2010). Brominated flame retardants and organochlorine contaminants in winter flounder, harp and hooded seals, and North Atlantic right whales from the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Marine Pollution Bulletin60, 1160-1169.
  20. Montie, E.W., Pussini, N., Schneider, G.E., Battey, T.W.K., Dennison, S., Barakos, J., Gulland, F., (2009). Neuroanatomy and volumes of brain structures of a live California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) from magnetic resonance images. The Anatomical Record 292, 1523-1547. (FRONT COVER OFJOURNAL).
  21. Wilson, M., Montie, E.W., Mann, K.A., Mann, D.A., (2009). Ultrasound detection in the Gulf menhaden requires gas-filled bullae and an intact lateral line. The Journal of Experimental Biology212, 3422-3427.
  22. Montie, E.W., Reddy, C.M., Gebbink, W.A., Touhey, K.E., Hahn, M.E., Letcher, R.J., (2009). Organohalogen contaminants and metabolites in cerebrospinal fluid and cerebellum gray matter in short-beaked common dolphins and Atlantic white-sided dolphins from the western North Atlantic. Environmental Pollution157, 2345-2358.
  23. Montie, E.W., Garvin, S.R., Fair, P.A., Bossart, G.D., Mitchum, G.B., McFee, W.E., Speakman, T.,Starczak, V.R., Hahn, M.E., (2008). Blubber morphology in wild bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)from the southeastern United States: influence of geographic location, age class, and reproductive state. Journal of Morphology 269, 496-511.
  24. Montie, E.W., Fair, P.A., Bossart, G.D., Mitchum, G.B., Houde, M., Muir, D.C.G., Letcher, R.J., McFee, W.E.,Starczak, V.R., Stegeman, J.J., Hahn, M.E., (2008). Cytochrome P4501A1 expression, polychlorinated biphenyls and hydroxylated metabolites, and blubber dynamics of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from the Southeast United States. Aquatic Toxicology86, 397-412.
  25. Montie, E.W., Schneider, G.E., Ketten, D.R., Marino, L., Touhey, K.E., Hahn, M.E., (2008). Volumetric neuroimaging of the brain of the Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus) from in situ magnetic resonance images. The Anatomical Record291, 263-282.
  26. Montie, E.W., Schneider, G.E., Ketten, D.R., Marino, L., Touhey, K.E., Hahn, M.E., (2007). Neuroanatomy of the subadult and fetal brain of the Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus) from in situ magnetic resonance images. The Anatomical Record 290, 1459-1479. (FRONT COVER OF JOURNAL).