Let me introduce myself:
Knowledge is infinite, makes one aware, and provides opportunities (including necessary skills) to achieve in a competitive world. Educators and scientists serve in numerous roles: (1) as teachers, instructing students in their field of study; (2) as mentors, leading by example and providing guidance; and (3) as researchers, collecting and analyzing data.
For my dissertation work, I studied Heraclides spp. and their interactions with host plants and predators in tropical dry forest in the Florida Keys, Cuba, and Hispaniola. From 2012 - 2016, I volunteered my time towards a conservation project (Schaus’s swallowtail habitat enhancement project) in association with Dr. Kevin Whelan at the National Park Service (NPS-SFCN). This project restored degraded dry forest within prime Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus (a federally endangered butterfly) territory by planting and nurturing 5,000 host plants, mainly Amyris elemifera. We collected and analyzed host plant survivorship data (over time) and generated maps to quantify the extent of available for Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus. Currently, the manuscript is in submission.
Habitat loss is a major factor that contributes to the decline of insect species globally. Schools, community centers, and universities provide an opportunity to rehabilitate green space (planting native plants) in the local community. Teachers can use the school's surroundings as a framework to actively engage students in applied Science and Math. I work with local residents, schools, community centers, and universities to enrich their green space, knowledge (often learning from them), and encourage lifelong compassion for the environment.
Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy
- University of South Florida St. Petersburg
- St. Petersburg, FL, May 2011
Bachelor of Science in Biology, Minor in Environmental Studies
- Eckerd College
- St. Petersburg, FL, May 2006
Adjunct Professor - Miami Dade College, Miami, FL, 2019 - Present
Adjunct Professor - Florida International University, Miami, FL, 2018 - Present
Adjunct Lab Instructor - Florida International University, Miami, FL, 2018
Teacher Assistant - Florida International University, Miami, FL, 2011 - 2017
Facilitator - Pathfinder Outdoor Education, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, 2007 - 2011
Teacher Assistant - University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, FL, 2009 - 2011
Marine Educator - Pier Aquarium, St. Petersburg, FL, 2008
AmeriCorps Teacher - Academy Prep, St. Petersburg, FL, 2006 - 2007
Introduction to Botany Lab (Florida International University)
Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences - Florida International University, Miami, FL, April 2018
Dissertation: Top-down and bottom-up approaches to understanding the fate of the federally endangered Schaus’ swallowtail butterfly (Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus)
Major Advisor: Dr. Suzanne Koptur
Schaus's swallowtail habitat enhancement project in Biscayne National Park: Replanted cleared sites at Elliott and Adams Key with host plants for a federally endangered butterfly. Monitored growth rate and survival of host plants in restored sites and tracked caterpillar recruitment. Surveyed sites annually for adult Schaus's swallowtail butterflies.
Torchwood and sea level rise mapping using GIS: Surveyed and mapped torchwood and wild lime at Elliott, Adams, Old Rhodes, and Totten Keys using GIS. Generated torchwood habitat suitability maps and sea level rise projections to predict future habitat loss. Critical Schaus’s swallowtail habitats less susceptible to sea level rise were identified.
Mortal combat between exotic ants and Heraclides species in Biscayne National Park: Extensive ant surveys were conducted in subtropical dry forests to identify the most common ant species on Schaus’s swallowtail caterpillar host plants. Ant-caterpillar interaction studies were conducted in the field to record and quantify caterpillar defensive tactics against various native and exotic ant species. Video surveillance technology powered by solar powers/rechargeable batteries were deployed in the field to monitor interaction between Heraclides caterpillars and other organisms. Video surveillance manuscript, currently, in review.
Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy - University of South Florida St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, FL, 2008 - 2011
Thesis: The survivorship and foraging strategies of Solenopsis invicta in beach habitats of central-west Florida
Major Advisor: Dr. Deby Cassill
Solenopsis invicta survivorship and foraging strategies in beach habitats: conducted research on fire ants via bait traps, buried eggs, and tolerance to saline water. Maintained fire ant colonies and other arthropods for experiments and outreach programs.
Undergraduate student - Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL, 2004 - 2006
Assisted with turtle sampling surveys at Rainbow River (Ocala, FL). Turtles were identified and tagged; measurements of size, sex, and weight were recorded.
Assisted with reptile and amphibian surveys at Archbold Reserve (Lake Placid, Florida).
Clayborn J, Delamarre A. 2019. Living room conservation: a virtual way to engage participants in insect conservation. Rethinking Ecology, 4, 31-43. PDF
Clayborn J, Koptur S, O’Brien G, Whelan KRT. 2017. The Schaus Swallowtail Habitat Enhancement Project: An Applied Service-Learning Project Continuum from Biscayne National Park to Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Southeastern Naturalist, 16, 26-46.
Clayborn J, Koptur S. 2017. Mortal combat between ants and caterpillars: an ominous threat to the endangered Schaus swallowtail butterfly (Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus) in the Florida Keys, USA. Journal of Insect Conservation, 21(4), 689-702. PDF
Clayborn J, O’Brien G, Medina M. 2017. School gardening with a twist using fish: Encouraging educators to adopt aquaponics in the classroom. Applied Environmental Education & Communication, 16(2), 93-104. PDF
Cassill DL, Casella A, Clayborn J, Perry M, Lagarde M. 2015. What can ants tell us about collective behavior during a natural catastrophe? Journal of Bioeconomics, 17(3), 255-270. PDF
O’Brien G, Sparrow K, Morales J, Clayborn J. 2015. Re-orienting a Science Methods Course to Prepare Sustainability Literate K-6 Pre-service Teachers: A Mixed Methods Investigation. In Educating Science Teachers for Sustainability, Springer International Publishing, 205-234.
Clayborn, J. 2016. The not-so Graceful Twig Ant in Biscayne National Park: An Opportunistic Danger to Schaus swallowtail caterpillars. American Butterflies, Summer Issue, 24(2), 4-10.
Whelan KRT, Clayborn J, Giannini HC, Pernas T, Perry C. 2013. Planting to save the Schaus swallowtail butterfly: The National Park Service's Schaus Swallowtail Habitat Enhancement Project at Biscayne National Park. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Winter Issue, 42-43. PDF
Manuscript (in review)
Clayborn J, Clayborn T. What happens in forests when nobody’s present? A sustainable method to document insect behaviors and interactions.
Manuscripts (in submission)
Clayborn J, Koptur S, O’Brien G. Plugging students into nature through butterfly gardening: a reconciled ecological approach to insect conservation.
Clayborn J, Gann D, Cuni L, Koptur S, Whelan KRT. Rising seas in the Florida Keys: Restoring habitat for the federally endangered Schaus’ swallowtail butterfly (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae).
Clayborn J. 07/05/18. Miami-Dade Commission should not betray our environmental legacy by destroying pine rocklands. Miami Herald (op-ed). https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article214413889.html
Clayborn J. 09/15/2014. On Behalf of the Schaus' Swallowtail: Habitat Enhancement at Biscayne National Park. Miami Blue Chapter North American Butterfly Association. http://miamiblue.org/schaus-swallowtail-habitat/
Clayborn J. February 02/13. Bringing Sea Torchwood Back to South Florida's Mainland and a Backyard Near You. Tillandsia web Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society for Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys. http://www.dade.fnpschapters.org/pastnewsletters/2013/02.php#dicerandra
Featured in the News
Wiederholt, R. 2019. The Vanishing and Rematerializing Butterflies of South Florida. The Everglades Foundation (evergladesfoundation.org), 03/19. https://evergladesfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ScienceMonthlyBriefButterflies-1.pdf
Bowden, B. 2017. Aquaponics: Alternative to traditional gardening. Florida Keys Free Press, March 15, 2017:1B. keysnews.com
Gonzalez, ES. 2017. How to build your own butterfly garden. FIU News, March 14, 2017. http://news.fiu.edu/2017/03/how-to-build-your-own-butterfly-garden/109705
Bowden, B. 2015. Regional effort aims for rare butterfly's resurgence. Florida Keys News – Florida Keys Free Press, July 22, 2015. http://keysnews.com/node/68324
Krosney, L. 2009. Study of fire ants may help turtles. Anna Maria Island Sun, May 20, 2009. http://www.amisun.com/archives/2009/05-20-09/turtles.htm
Conferences, Meetings, Symposiums
North American Butterfly Association (NABA) Chapter of South Florida, Inc., Quarterly Meeting, Oral Presentation – Clayborn J, Delamarre A. Butterfly conservation through VR gaming: Frontier Earth: Butterfly World 1.0. Miami, Florida, 2019.
Imperiled Butterfly Working Group, Oral Presentation – Clayborn J. What happens in forests when nobody’s present? A sustainable method to document insect behaviors and interactions. Miami, Florida, 2018
Society of Conservation Biology (LACA) Inaugural Congress, Oral Presentation – Clayborn J, Koptur S, O’Brien G. Butterfly gardening at Miami (Florida, USA) urban schools: Plugging students into nature through habitat rehabilitation on school grounds; Poster Presentation – Clayborn J, Koptur S. Mortal combat between ants and caterpillars: An ominous threat to the endangered Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus in the Florida Keys, USA. The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago, 2018.
Florida Native Plant Society 38th Annual Conference, Oral Presentation – Clayborn J, Koptur S. Rising seas in the Florida Keys: The last refuge for the federally endangered Schaus’ swallowtail butterfly. Miami, Florida, 2018.
IX Congreso de la Biodiversidad Caribeña – Clayborn J. (1) El aumento del nivel del mar vs. el mejoramiento del habitat de la planta huesped, Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus; Paradoja de cambio climatico?, (2) El mortal kombat entre hormigas exóticas y especies de Heraclides en el bosque seco tropical en los cayos de Florida. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2017.
Botanical Society of America, Presentation – Clayborn J, O’Brien G, Medina M. School gardening with a twist using fish: Encouraging educators to adopt aquaponics in the classroom. Savannah, Georgia, 2016.
80th Annual Meeting of the Florida Academy of Sciences, Presentation – Clayborn J, Koptur S, O’Brien G, Whelan KRT. The Schaus Swallowtail Habitat Enhancement Project: An Applied Service-Learning Project Continuum from Biscayne National Park to Miami-Dade County Public Schools. St. Petersburg, Florida, 2016. Recognized as “Outstanding Graduate Student Oral Presentation”.
Imperiled Butterfly Working Group, Oral Presentation - Clayborn J. Mortal kombat between ants and Heraclides species in Biscayne National Park. Homestead, Florida, December 2015.
V Simposio, Ecología, Sociedad y Medio Ambiente Ecovida, Oral Presentation - Clayborn J. El mortal kombat entre hormigas y especies de Heraclides en los Cayos de Florida. Pinar del Río, Cuba, December 2015.
Plant Biologists of South Florida Annual Meeting (Florida International University), Oral Presentation - Clayborn J. Urban gardening with a twist using fish: Do - It - Yourself Aquaponic Systems. Miami, Florida, March 2015.
Cuba Primera Circular Evento Cientifico Internacional "Utowana" (Botanico de Cienfuegos), Poster - Clayborn J. Aumento del nivel del mar versus mejoramiento de habitat de Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus, una paradoja? Cienfuegos, Cuba, November 2014
43rd Annual NAAEE Conference, Roundtable Discussion - Clayborn J, O’Brien G. Butterflies and Habitat Restoration: What we can do? Ottawa, Canada, October 2014.
Entomological Society of America (Southeastern Branch), Oral Presentation - Clayborn J, Koptur S, Whelan KRT. Sea Level Rise versus Habitat Enhancement for the Schaus Swallowtail Butterfly (Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus), a Paradox? Greenville, South Carolina, March 2014.
Southeastern Ecology and Evolutionary Conference (University of Central Florida), Oral Presentation - Clayborn J, Whelan KRT. Habitat restoration subsidies for the Schaus swallowtail butterfly. Orlando, Florida, March 2013.
Florida Marine Science Educators Association Conference (University of South Florida St. Petersburg), Presentation including Demonstrations - Clayborn J, O’Brien G. The Schaus and Coastal Hardwood Hammocks. St. Petersburg, FL, May 2012.
Florida Academy of Sciences (Florida Institute of Technology), Oral Presentations - Clayborn J, Cassill D. (1) The effect of salinity within the immediate environment on the survival of fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) in coastal habitats; (2) Are coastal populations of fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) impacting sea turtle nests? Melbourne, FL, March 2011.
Certifications and Training
Motorboat Operator Certification Course (MOCC) - National Park Service (South Florida Caribbean Network)
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) Certification - National Park Service (Everglades National Park)
Applied workshops consist of presentations and interactive activities with the audience. The engaging workshops bridge the gap between theory and the exercise of innovation.
Community School of Naples: Middle School – Butterflies as ambassadors for insect conservation. Naples, Florida, 2019.
Faith, Truth, and Deliverance Church of God by Faith – Gospel of John: The miracle of the five loaves and two fish – Aquaponics and Sustainability. Miami Gardens, Florida, 2018.
Faith, Truth, and Deliverance Church of God by Faith, Catalyst Miami, and Outdoor Afro Miami – Biodiversity exploration and investigation in the national parks and Miami metropolitan area: a citizen scientist approach to cognizance and harmony. Everglades National Park, Florida, 2018.
Carol City Middle School – The science of aquaponic systems: Feed yourself, feed the future. Miami Gardens, Florida, 2017.
Coral City Middle School – FIU tour: Walk a mile as an undergraduate, bio major. Miami Gardens, Florida, 2017.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (The Delicate Balance of Nature Series) – Gardening with fish: Solar-powered aquaponic systems. Key Largo, Florida, 2017.
Garden Club Upper Keys – Aquaculture + Hydroponic = Aquaponics (Learn, Design, Construct, Implement, Eat, Share). Key Largo, Florida, 2016.
Sierra Club – Aquaponic systems in an urban environment. Coconut Grove, Florida, 2016.
Sylvania Heights Elementary School – Aquaponic systems in the classroom and home. Miami, Florida, 2016.
Potential Invasive Pests Workshop (UF-CTA) – Are coastal populations of fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, preying or scavenging on sea turtle nests? Miami, Florida, 2010.
Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science Fellow, Cohort #3, 2014: Graduate students prototype their research for the lay audience and showcase at stations in the museum or during outreach events. We typically educate and entertain 50 – 200 people during each event.
Frost Museum of Science, Scientist Sundays, 2014 – 2015
Museum Park, Frost Museum of Science, 8/22/15
Perez Art Museum Miami and Frost Museum of Science, Art & Science Outdoor Eco-environments, Second Saturday Activities, 9/12/15
Rainbow Park Elementary, Science Stars (Coastal Ecology), 2/4/15
Phyllis Ruth Miller Elementary, Backyard Aquaponic Systems, 10/6/15
Phyllis Ruth Miller Elementary, Frost Museum of Science Event, 10/28/15
Cohort #5, Entomological Society of America Science Policy Fellows, 2018 – Present
Cohort #1, National Parks Ambassador Program, 2018 – Present
Member, Outdoor Afro Miami, 2018 – Present
Treasurer, Graduate Advocates for Diversity in Science (GrADS), 2017
Member, Sigma Xi Research Honor Society, 2017 – Present
Member, Climate Reality Project, 2016 – Present
Cohort #3, Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science Fellow, 2014 – Present
President, FIU Insect Conservation Club, Miami, FL, 2013 – 2014
Member, Black Graduate Student Association FIU Chapter, Miami, FL, 2012 – 2013
Member, Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, Miami, FL, 2011 – Present
Member, Black Student Association, University of South Florida, 2008 – 2011
Member, Student Chapter of Environmental Professionals, University of South Florida, 2008 - 2011
President, Afro-American Society, Eckerd College, 2005 - 2006
Volunteer and Site Director, Into the Streets, Eckerd College, 2002 - 2005
Volunteer Educator, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, St. Petersburg, FL, 2009 – Present
Volunteer Educator, Churches, Schools, and Camps, Cleveland, Ohio and Tampa bay area, FL, 2009 – Present