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

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Montie Marine Sensory & Neurobiology Lab Overview

Marine sensory and neurobiology, marine bioacoustics (sound production and hearing), fish biology, marine mammal biology, environmental toxicology, noise pollution, 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. This research laid the groundwork for current studies in my lab that are investigating how THDCs may affect myelination in bottlenose dolphins. Some coastal populations have been shown to accumulate high levels of these chemicals and maternally transfer these compounds to their offspring.

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 period, 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 and have built a strong research program in marine bioacoustics. Since 2013, our lab has been recording the underwater soundscape of the May River, South Carolina. We utilize DSG-Ocean 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 anthropogenic noise levels.

Research Interests

Montie Research Program
My research interests have evolved into three overlapping areas: i) acoustic communication; ii) hearing; and iii) neuroimaging of marine organisms. Understanding the fundamental basics of acoustic communication, hearing, and brain architecture allows us to better understand how certain human-made stressors (e.g., chemical pollutants, noise, and climate change) may impact invertebrates, fish, and apex predators.

Current and Planned Research Projects

  • Spatial patterns and temporal rhythms of estuarine soundscapes.
  • Understanding spawning aggregations of sciaenids using passive and active acoustics.
  • Establishing a relationship between seasonal patterns of fish sound production and seasonal patterns of juvenile fish abundance in the May River and Chechessee Creek, South Carolina.
  • Precise and long-term acoustic monitoring of fish spawning aggregations as a means to detect phenological shifts in reproduction associated with climate change.
  • Risks of recreational boat noise on acoustic communication of fish in the May River, South Carolina.
  • 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, South Carolina.
  • Neuroimaging of marine mammal brains.
  • Effects of chemical pollutants on the brain and hearing of marine mammals.


  • Biological Principles II
  • Animal Physiology
  • Neurobiology
  • Ichthyology

Publications (underlined authors were USCB undergraduates)

20.  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

19.  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.

18.  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 ONE 10(7): e0131493. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131493.

17.  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.

16.  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.

15.  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 Algae 20, 19-29.

14.  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 Endocrinology 174, 184-194.

13.  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 californianus. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 96, 89-96.

12.  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 Biology 214, 2390-2397.

11.  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).

10.  Mann, D., Hill-Cook, M., Manire, C., Greenhow, D., Montie, E., et al. (2010). Hearing loss in stranded odontocete dolphins and whales. PLOS ONE 5(11): e13824. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013824.

9.    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 Organisms 91, 243-256.

8.    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 Bulletin 60, 1160-1169.

7.     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 OF JOURNAL).

6.   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 Biology 212, 3422-3427.

5.     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 Pollution 157, 2345-2358.

4.     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.

3.     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 Toxicology 86, 397-412.

2.     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 Record 291, 263-282.

1.     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).