STT = St. Thomas Campus,
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

STX = Albert A. Sheen Campus,
St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

STJ = St. John Academic Center,
St. John, US Virgin Islands

Cruz-Rivera, Edwin, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology
College of Science and Mathematics
Department of Biological Sciences




MSC 221




Marine Biology

Office Hours

Mondays: 8:00 to 11:00 am
Wednesdays: 8:00 to 10:00 am
Fridays: 8:00 to 10:00 am

My research focuses on plant-herbivore and predator-prey interactions, with an emphasis on the feeding behavior, chemical ecology, and nutrition of marine invertebrates. I am interested in marine ecological and evolutionary processes at various levels of organization and have studied organisms ranging from microalgae to fishes. My students use a variety of techniques in the field and lab, including:

  • Natural history observations and field surveys
  • Manipulative experiments on feeding behavior and fitness
  • Quantification of prey nutritional, chemical and structural properties
  • Molecular barcoding and phylogenetic techniques
  • Ethograms and video capture
  • Taxonomy and morphology

These studies have been conducted in diverse ecosystems, including the North Atlantic, the Chesapeake Bay, the Mediterranean Sea, the tropical Pacific, South Australia, the Red Sea, the Caribbean, brackish lakes in Egypt, and the South African intertidal.

Over the past 15 years, I have taught a variety of courses in ecology, marine sciences, zoology, and general science at both undergraduate and graduate levels. After several years as faculty in the USA, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, I joined UVI in 2014.

While my research has specific areas of emphasis, I am willing to accommodate new lines of ecological research that interest undergraduate and graduate students who work with me. Some of the works published include:

  • Bos AA, Cruz-Rivera E, Sanad A (2016) Herbivorous fishes Siganus rivulatus (Siganidae) and Zebrasoma desjardinii (Acanthuridae) feed on Ctenophora and Scyphozoa in the Red Sea. Marine Biodiversity DOI: 10.1007/s12526-016-0454-9
  • Kim I-H, Cruz-Rivera E, Sherif M-E-D, El-Sahhar S (2016) Cyclopoid copepods (Ascidicolidae, Notodelphyidae) associated with Phallusia nigra Savigny, 1816 (Ascidiacea) in the Red Sea: a new ascidicolid and first descriptions of the males from two notodelphyids. Journal of Crustacean Biology 36:553-566
  • Cruz-Rivera E, Malaquias MAE (2016) Ecosystem alterations and species range extensions: An Atlantic-Mediterranean cephalaspidean in an inland Egyptian lake. PLoS ONE 11: e0156760
  • Cruz-Rivera E, Flores-Díaz M, Hawkins A (2015) A fish kill coincident with dense Sargassum accumulation in a tropical bay. Bulletin of Marine Science 91:455-456
  • El-Maklizi MA, Ouf AA, Ferreira A, Hedar S, Cruz-Rivera E (2014) A localized PCR inhibitor in a porcelain crab suggests a protective role. Peer J 2:e689
  • Sobolev D, Boyett MR, Cruz-Rivera E (2013) Detection of ammonia-oxidizing Bacteria and Archaea within coral reef cyanobacterial mats. Journal of Oceanography 69:591-600
  • Cruz-Rivera E, Friedlander M (2013) Effects of algal phenotype on mesograzer feeding. Marine Ecology Progress Series 490:69–78
  • Cruz-Rivera, E. 2011. Evidence for chemical defense in the cephalaspidean Nakamigawaia spiralis. Journal of Molluscan Studies 77:95-97