Dr. Parsons is a Professor of Marine Science at Florida Gulf Coast University and Director of the Coastal Watershed Institute and Vester Field Station. He was a State of Louisiana Board of Regents Fellow and received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 1996 in Biological Oceanography. He received the Outstanding Mentor award from the University of Hawaii-Hilo in 2001 and the Senior Faculty Scholarship Excellence Award at Florida Gulf Coast University in spring 2013.
Michael Parsons has built a successful research career, receiving over $8.6 million of extramural funding to study ciguatera fish poisoning, harmful algal blooms, coral reef ecology, and phytoplankton ecology. He is also a collaborator in two Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Consortia studying the impacts of the Macondo oil spill on coastal ecosystems in multi-year projects worth over $20 million. His 35+ peer-reviewed publications have been cited over 1600 times in the scientific literature. Parsons uses his research program to mentor undergraduate and graduate students in aspects of coastal ecosystem health. He also teaches several courses in marine ecology and data collection and analysis. As Director of the Coastal Watershed Institute and the Vester Field Station, Parsons continually pursues new avenues for student involvement and community outreach in both research and educational activities.