Andrea Tarnecki, Ph.D.

Senior Marine Scientist I, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Asst. Extension Professor, Auburn University School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences


Dr. Andrea M. Tarnecki is a Senior Marine Scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and an Assistant Extension Professor in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences at Auburn University.

She received her B.S. in Biology from Middle Tennessee State University (2007) and her Ph.D. in aquatic microbiology from Auburn University (2014). She was a postdoc and then Staff Scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida where she remains an Adjunct Scientist.

Her research at Mote focused on the interactions between microbes and their hosts, particularly in aquaculture systems.

She returned to Alabama in 2021 and is stationed full-time at the Auburn University Shellfish Lab on Dauphin Island.


As an assistant extension professor, I connect with shellfish farmers and stakeholders to identify current and emerging limitations to the industry. I communicate and transfer relevant information and technologies to farmers and consumers through a variety of means including on-site demonstrations, seminars, extension publications, social media, etc.

My research primarily addresses needs identified by the Alabama shellfish aquaculture industry and its stakeholders. My lab tests technology/practices that have the potential to alleviate challenges and bottlenecks encountered by the off-bottom oyster farming industry. Because of my training in microbiology, additional research interests include new and emerging shellfish diseases, harmful algal blooms, and seafood safety.

Who We Are

Prospective students

Students are accepted through Auburn University. Open positions are posted at Interested students must meet the qualifications set by The Graduate School and the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences at Auburn University.

Current Personnel

  • Scott Rikard Manager, Ag & Natural Resources Program
  • Glen Chaplin, Advisor III, Natural Resource Program
  • Sarah Spellman, Research Assistant III
  • Meghan Capps, Research Assistant II
  • Kevin Landry, Research Technician III
  • Mason Williams, Research Technician II, Graduate student Advisor – Andrea Tarnecki
  • Rusty Grice, Oyster Aquaculture Business Specialist

Graduate Students

  • Kayla Boyd Advisor – Jim Stoeckel
  • Will Kleist Advisor – Jim Stoeckel
  • Jack Irwin Advisor – Jim Stoeckel
  • Heather King Advisors – Andrea Tarnecki, Jim Stoeckel
  • Luke Matvey Advisor – Andrea Tarnecki
  • Zophia Galvan Advisor – Andrea Tarnecki
  • Alec Hess Advisor – Andrea Tarnecki



  • Tarnecki, A.M., K. Landry, S. Rikard. 2023. Nursery upweller type has minimal impact on subsequent grow-out of Eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica). Frontiers in Aquaculture 2: 1236346.


  • Tarnecki, A.M., C. Miller, T.A. Sherwood, R.J. Griffitt, R.W. Schloesser, and D. Wetzel. Dispersed Crude Oil Induces Dysbiosis in the Red Snapper Lutjanus campechanus External Microbiota. Microbiology Spectrum 10: e00587-21.
  • Rodgers, M.L., T.A. Sherwood, A.M. Tarnecki, R.J. Griffitt, and D.L. Wetzel. Characterization of transcriptomic responses and transcriptional pathways of southern flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma) chronically exposed to Deepwater Horizon oiled sediments. Aquatic Toxicology 230: 105716.
  • Tarnecki, A.M., N. Levi, M. Resley, and K. Main. Effects of copper sulfate on the external microbiome of common snook (Centropomus undecimalis). Animal Microbiome 3: 21.
  • Sherwood, T.A., M.L. Rodgers, A.M. Tarnecki, R.J. Griffitt, and D.L. Wetzel. Characterization of the differential expressed genes and transcriptomic pathway analysis in the liver of sub-adult red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) exposed to Deepwater Horizon chemically dispersed oil. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 214: 112098.


  • Sherwood, T., R. Medvecky, C. Miller, A.Tarnecki, R. Schloesser, K. Main, C. Mitchelmore, and D. Wetzel. Non-lethal biomarkers of oxidative stress in oiled sediment exposed southern flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma): Utility for field-base monitoring exposure and potential recovery. Environmental Science & Technology 53(24): 14734-14743.
  • Patrick, G., A.M. Tarnecki, N. Rhody, R. Schloesser, K. Main, R. Yanong, and R. Francis-Floyd. Disinfection of almaco jack (Seriola rivoliana Valenciennes) eggs: evaluation of three chemicals. Aquaculture Research 50: 3793-3801.
  • Guttman, L., A. Neori, S.E. Boxman, R. Barkan, B. Shahar, A.M. Tarnecki, N.P. Brennan, K.L. Main, and M. Shpigel. An integrated Ulva-periphyton biofilter for mariculture effluents: multiple nitrogen removal kinetics. Algal Research 42: 101586.
  • Tarnecki, A.M., M. Wafapoor, R.N. Phillips, and N.R. Rhody. Benefits of a Bacillus probiotic to larval fish survival and transport stress resistance. Scientific Reports 9: 4892.


  • Tarnecki, A.M., N.P. Brennan, R.W. Schloesser, and N.R. Rhody. Shifts in the skin-associated microbiota of hatchery-reared common snook Centropomus undecimalis during acclimation to the wild. Microbial Ecology. 77(3): 770-781.
  • Tarnecki, A.M., N.R. Rhody, and C.J. Walsh. Health parameters and blood bacterial assemblages of healthy captive red drum Sciaenops ocellatus: implications for aquaculture and fish health management. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 30(4): 339-353.


  • Tarnecki, A.M., F.A. Burgos, C.L. Ray, and C.R. Arias. Fish intestinal microbiome: diversity and symbiosis unraveled by metagenomics. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 123: 2-17.
  • Ray, C., N. Bujan, A. Tarnecki, D.A. Davis, C. Browdy, and C.R. Arias. Analysis of the gut microbiome of Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus L. fed diets supplemented with Previda® and Saponin. Journal of Fisheries Sciences 11: 036-045.
  • Tarnecki, A.M., and N.R. Rhody. Microbiota of common snook Centropomus undecimalis larvae exhibiting high mortality. Aquaculture Research 48: 5693-5698.



  • Larsen, A.M., M.R. Womble, S.A. Bullard, and C.R. Arias. Community structure of skin microbiome of Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis, is driven by seasonality and not exposure to oiled sediments in a Louisiana saltmarsh. Microbial Ecology 70(2): 534-544.


  • Larsen, A.M., H.H. Mohammed, and C.R. Arias. Comparison of DNA extraction protocols for the analysis of gut microbiota in fishes. FEMS Microbiology Letters [Published online 4 Dec 2014].
  • Larsen, A.M., F.S. Rikard, W.C. Walton, and C.R. Arias. Temperature effect on high salinity depuration of Vibrio vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus from the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica). International Journal of Food Microbiology 192: 66-71.
  • Larsen, A.M., H.H. Mohammed, and C.R. Arias. Characterization of the gut microbiota of commercially valuable warmwater fish species. Journal of Applied Microbiology 116: 1396-1404.


  • Larsen, A.M., Z. Tao, S.A. Bullard, and C.R. Arias. Diversity of the skin microbiota of fishes: evidence for host species specificity. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 85: 483-494.
  • Larsen, A.M., F.S. Rikard, W.C. Walton, and C.R. Arias. Effective reduction of Vibrio vulnificus in the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) using high salinity depuration Food Microbiology 34(1): 118-122.
  • Arias, C.R., A.M. Larsen, and K. Koenders. Predominant bacteria associated with red snapper Lutjanus campechanus (Poey, 1860) from the northern Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 25(4): 281-289.


  • Tao, Z., A. Larsen, S.A. Bullard, A.C. Wright, and C.R. Arias. Prevalence and population structure of Vibrio vulnificus on recreational fishes from the northern Gulf of Mexico. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78(21):7611-7618.