Faculty & Staff Profiles

Charles G. Messing


Area(s) of Research

Systematics, evolution and ecology of living Crinoidea (Echinodermata). Ecology and biogeography of tropical deep-water hard-substrate assemblages.

Most taxa of living crinoids-sea lilies and feather stars-were described before the modern synthesis of evolutionary biology was introduced in the mid-20th century. As a result, many named taxa (chiefly species and genera) are poorly diagnosed and understood. I have a strong interest in clarifying the systematic status and evolutionary relationships of living crinoids, as well as better understanding their ecology and distributions. My other primary area of research interest is in understanding distributional patterns and ecology of deep-water benthic invertebrate assemblages (e.g., corals, octocorals, echinoderms, sponges) associated with hard substrates at low latitudes, particularly as they relate to hydrodynamic conditions and biogeographic boundaries. In addition, I maintain an abiding interest in the ecology and phylogeny of invertebrates in general.

Current students

Kristian Taylor (Ph.D.) - “A Revision of the Phylogeny of the superfamily Mariametroidea (Echinodermata: Crinoidea) with an Emphasis on Biogeography.”

Alois Romanowsky (M.S.) - “A revision of the genera of the family Charitometridae (Crinoidea: Echinodermata) with abruptly expanded genital pinnules.”

Jana Ash (M.S.) - ” Benthic Invertebrate Assemblages and Habitat Characterization of the Pourtalès Terrace with Analysis of the Deepwater Marine Protected Area and Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern.”

Joan-Lorraine Guerra (M.S.) - “A comparison of infaunal community population structure between natural and artificial FDOT rock-pile reefs in Broward County, Florida.”

Robert Bernhard (M.S.) - “Macroinfaunal assessment of the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale."

Ryan St. George (M.S.) - “A Comparison of Chironomid Assemblages between Everglades Model Wetlands and Mitigation Wetlands in South Florida; A Technique for Assessing Mitigation Health and Success.”

Reed JK, Messing CG, Walker BK, Brooke S, Correa TBS, Brouwer M (in press)
Habitat Characterization, Distribution, and Areal Extent of Deep-sea Coral Ecosystems off Florida, Southeastern U.S.A. Caribbean Journal of Science.

Baumiller TK, Salamon MA, Gorzelak P, Mooi R, Messing CG, Gahn FJ (2010)
Post-Paleozoic crinoid radiation in response to benthic predation preceded the Mesozoic marine revolution. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 107(13):5893-5896. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0914199107

Owen CL, Messing CG, Rouse GW & Shivji MS (2009)
Using a combined approach to explain morphological and ecological diversity in Phanogenia gracilis Hartlaub, 1893 ( Echinodermata: Crinoidea) sensu lato: two species or intraspecific variation? Marine Biology 156(8):1517-1529.

Rankin DL & Messing CG. (2008).
A revision of the comatulid genus Stephanometra A.H. Clark with a rediagnosis of the genus Lamprometra A.H. Clark (Echinodermata: Crinoidea). Zootaxa 1888:1-35.

Messing CG. (2008).
A new species of five-armed feather star, Pentametrocrinus paucispinulus n. sp., from the eastern Pacific (Echinodermata: Crinoidea: Comatulida). Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 121(2):269 - 275.

Baumiller TK, Mooi R & Messing CG. (2008).
Urchins in the meadow: paleobiological and evolutionary implications of cidaroid predation on crinoids. Paleobiology 34(1): 35-47.

Messing CG, David J, Roux M, Améziane N & Baumiller TK. (2007).
In situ stalk growth rates in tropical western Atlantic sea lilies (Echinodermata: Crinoidea). J Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 353 (2007) 211 - 220.

Baumiller TK & Messing CG.(2007).
Stalked crinoid locomotion, and its ecological and evolutionary implications. Palaeontologia Electronica 10(1) 2A:10p, 12MB; http://palaeo-electronica.org/paleo/2007_1/crinoid/index.html

Messing CG. (2007).
The crinoid fauna (Echinodermata: Crinoidea) of Palau. Pacific Science 61(1): 91-111.

David, J, Roux M, Messing CG & Améziane, N. (2006).
Revision of the pentacrinid stalked crinoids of the genus Endoxocrinus ( Echinodermata, Crinoidea), with a study of environmental control of characters and its consequences for taxonomy. Zootaxa 1156:1-50

Messing CG, Meyer, DL, Siebeck U, Jermiin LS, Vaney, DI & Rouse GW. (2006 ).
A modern, soft-bottom, shallow-water tropical crinoid fauna (Echinodermata) from the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 25(1):164-168.

Wolcott, R. & Messing CG. (2005).
A comparison of diets and agitation methods for larval culture of the edible sea urchin, Tripneustes ventricosus. Bull. Marine Science 77(2):177-190.

Wirshing HH, Messing CG, Douady CJ, Reed J, Stanhope MJ, & Shivji MS. (2005).
Molecular evidence for multiple lineages in the gorgonian family Plexauridae (Anthozoa: Octocorallia). Marine Biology 147: 497-508.

Messing CG. (2004).
Biozonation on deep-water carbonate mounds and associated hardgrounds along the western margin of Little Bahama Bank, with notes on the Caicos Platform island slope. Pp. 107-115 IN Lewis, R.D. & Panuska, B.C. (eds.) 11th Symposium on the Geology of the Bahamas and other Carbonate Regions, Gerace Research Center, San Salvador, Bahamas.

Fet V & Messing CG. (2003).
Case 3270: Isometrinae Clark, 1917 (Echinodermata, Crinoidea): proposed emendation of spelling to Isometrainae to remove homonymy with Isometrinae Kraepelin, 1891 (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Bull. Zoological Nomenclature 60(4):293-296.

Messing CG. (2003).
Unique morphology in the living bathyal feather star, Atelecrinus Carpenter (Echinodermata: Crinoidea). Invertebrate Biology 122(3):280-292.

Kirkendale L & Messing CG. (2003).
An annotated checklist and key to the Crinoidea of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Micronesica 35-36:523-546.

Messing CG. (2003). Three new species of Comasteridae (Echinodermata: Crinoidea) from the tropical western Pacific. Zoosystema 25(1):149-162.

Roux M, Messing CG & Améziane, N. (2002).
Artificial keys to the genera of living stalked crinoids (Echinodermata). Bulletin of Marine Science 70(3):799-830.

Messing CG. (2001)
A key to the genera of Comasteridae (Echinodermata: Crinoidea) with the description of a new genus. Bulletin Biological Society of Washington 10:277-300.

Messing CG and White, CM. (2001).
A revision of the Zenometridae (new rank) (Echinodermata: Crinoidea: Comatulidina). Zoologica Scripta 30(3):159-180.

White CM, Messing CG, Shivji, M. & Forstner, M.R.J (2001).
Initial phylogeny of the Comasteridae (Crinoidea) from mtDNA sequences. Pp. 135-138 In: Barker, M. (ed.) Echinoderms 2000; Proc. tenth International Echinoderm Conference, Dunedin, N.Z., 2000. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Pilcher NJ & Messing CG. (2001).
A preliminary checklist of the shallow-water crinoids of the Kerama Islands, Okinawa, Japan. Report of Akajima Marine Science Laboratory (12): 15-17 (transl. into Japanese).

Messing CG, Améziane N and Eleaume M. (2000).
Echinodermata Crinoidea: Comatulid crinoids of the KARUBAR Expedition to Indonesia. The families Comasteridae, Asterometridae, Calometridae and Thalassometridae. IN: Crosnier, A. (ed.), Résultats des Campagnes MUSORSTOM, vol. 21. Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, 184: 627-702.

McClintock JB, Baker BJ, Baumiller TK and Messing CG. (1999).
Lack of chemical defense in two species of stalked crinoids: support for the predation hypothesis for Mesozoic bathymetric displacement. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 232:1-7.

David J, Messing CG, Baumiller TK, Ameziane N and Roux M. (1998).
Premières mesures directes et modélisation de la croissance rapide d'un crinoïde pédonculé (Echinodermata) en domaine bathyal au large des Bahamas. Comptes Rendus de l'Academie Français, Sciences de la vie 321: 771-775.

Messing CG. (1998).
A revision of the Recent Indo-West Pacific comatulid genus Comaster Agassiz. Part 1: The type species of Comaster and Phanogenia Lovén (Echinodermata: Crinoidea: Comasteridae). Invertebrate Taxonomy 12: 191-209.

Messing CG. 1998.
An initial re-assessment of the distribution and diversity of the East Indian shallow-water crinoid fauna. Pp. 187-192. IN: Mooi, R. & Telford, M. (eds.) Echinoderms: San Francisco. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Featherstone CM, Messing CG and McClintock JB. (1998).
Dietary composition of two bathyal stalked crinoids: Neocrinus decorus and Endoxocrinus parrae (Echinodermata: Crinoidea: Isocrinidae). Pp. 155-160. IN: Mooi, R. & Telford, M. (eds.) Echinoderms: San Francisco. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Messing CG. (1997).
Living Comatulids. Pp. 3-30 IN: Waters, J & Maples, C. (eds.) Geobiology of Echinoderms, Paleontol. Soc. Pap. v. 3. Carnegie Mus. Nat. Hist., Pittsburgh.

Messing CG. (1995).
Redescription of a unique feather star (Echinodermata: Crinoidea: Comasteridae) with the diagnosis of a new genus. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 108(4):656-661.

Messing CG. (1995).
Alloeocomatella, a new genus of reef-dwelling feather star from the tropical Indo-West Pacific (Echinodermata: Crinoidea: Comasteridae). Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 108:436-450.

Baumiller TK, Llewellyn G, Messing CG & Ausich WI. (1995).
Taphonomy of isocrinid stalks: influence of decay and autotomy. Palaios 10(1):87-95.

Messing CG. (1994).
Comatulid crinoids (Echinodermata) of Madang, Papua New Guinea, and environs: Diversity and ecology. pp. 237-243 IN: David, B, Guille, A., Feral, J-P. & Roux M. (eds.) Echinoderms through Time. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Llewellyn G and Messing CG. (1993).
Compositional and taphonomic variations in modern crinoid-rich sediments from the deep-water margin of a carbonate bank. Palaios 8(6):554-573.

Messing CG, Neumann AC & Lang JC. (1990).
Biozonation of deep-water lithoherms and associated hardgrounds in the northeastern Straits of Florida. Palaios 5(1):15-33.

Messing CG and Dearborn J. (1990).
Marine Flora and Fauna of the northeastern United States. Echinodermata:Crinoidea. NOAA Technical Report, National Marine Fisheries Service No. 91, 33 pp.

Messing CG, RoseSmyth MC, Mailer SR and Miller JE. (1988).
Relocation movement in a stalked crinoid (Echinodermata). Bull. Mar. Sci. 42:480-487.

Messing CG. 1985.
Submersible observations of deep-water crinoid assemblages in the tropical western Atlantic Ocean, pp.185-193. In: Keegan, B. O. and B. S. O'Connor (eds.), Proc. Fifth International Echinoderm Conf., Galway, Ireland, Balkema, Rotterdam.

Messing CG. (1984).
Brooding and paedomorphosis in the deep-water feather star Comatilia iridometriformis A.H. Clark (Crinoidea: Comatulida). Marine Biology 80:83-91.

Grimmer JC, Holland ND and Messing CG. 1984.
Fine structure of the stalk of the bourgueticrinid sea lily Democrinus conifer (Echinodermata: Crinoidea). Marine Biology 81:163-176.

Messing CG. (1983).
Post-marsupial development and growth of Pagurapseudes largoensis McSweeny (Crustacea: Tanaidacea). J Crustacean Biology 3:380-408.

Messing CG. (1981).
Notes on recent changes in tanaidacean terminology. Crustaceana 41:96-101.

Messing CG. (1981).
Reclassification and redescription of the comatulid Comatonia cristata (Hartlaub) (Echinodermata: Crinoidea). Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 94:240-253.

Messing CG. (1978).
A revision of the comatulid genus Comactinia A.H. Clark (Echinodermata: Crinoidea). Bull. Mar. Sci. 28:49-80.

Meyer, DL, Messing CG and Macurda, Jr., D.B. 1978.
Zoogeography of tropical western Atlantic Crinoidea. Bull. Mar. Sci. 28:412-441.

Messing CG. (1978).
Pentametrocrinus atlanticus (Perrier) (Echinodermata: Crinoidea): A review. J Natural Hist. 12:699-708.

Messing CG. (1977).
Neotanais persephone, a new species of hadal tanaidacean (Crustacea: Peracarida). Bull. Mar. Sci. 27:511-519.