Department Chair

Associate Professor of Biology
Director of Environmental Programs
Phone: ext. 2407

Academic Accomplishments

• Ph.D., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2007
• M.S., East Carolina University, 2000
• B.S., Millersville University, 1994


Dr. Lauren Bergey received a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from Millersville University, Millersville, PA in 1994. After spending four years working for The Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute in drug development she decided to continue her education and received an M.S. in environmental science from East Carolina University, Greenville, NC in 2000. Her master’s research investigated maternal genetics and variability of striped bass, Morone saxatilis, egg characteristics in seven populations along the Eastern Seaboard from Georgia to Nova Scotia. Realizing that she loved to teach after having a teaching assistantship at ECU she decided to continue on for a Ph.D. at Rutgers. Lauren obtained her Ph.D. in biology (ecology and evolution) at Rutgers University, Newark in 2007.

Dr. Bergey has taught marine biology, environmental science, field ecology, animal physiology and behavior, nutrition, general biology, and a senior biology seminar courses at several colleges and universities.  In 2010, she won the Centenary University Distinguished Teaching Award.

Lauren also conducts marine biology lessons with live organisms for grade school, middle school, and high school students and volunteers for education groups and has been a presenter for things like Ocean Fun Days at the NOAA facility in Sandy Hook, NJ.  Lauren is a co-advisor for Centenary University’s evergreen group whose goal is to increase environmental awareness education.


My current research involves several different topics all related to marine environmental issues.

Marsh Die-back Events and Fiddler Crabs

The first area of research is looking at impacts of marsh die-back events on population dynamics in fiddler crabs, Uca pugnax.  Large scale die-off events of marsh grasses have been observed in many salt marshes located on the east coast including New Jersey.  Current research is being conducted in die-back marsh areas to estimate marsh crab population numbers and how an increase in population number can shift population dynamics including increased competition.

Invasive Oriental Grass Shrimp

The second area of research involves trying to locate an invasive species, the oriental grass shrimp, Palaemon macrodactylus, along the New Jersey Coast.  Invasive species can have negative impacts on the native species’ environment, as well as cause unfavorable economic trends in the fishing markets.  While not reported in New Jersey, this species has been reported to have established populations in Connecticut and Maryland.  Sampling is being conducted in estuaries along the entire coast of New Jersey to determine if it has arrived in the garden state.

Watch her CBS Local interview below.

Population Ecology of Three Fiddler Crab Species

The third area of research is looking at behavioral and population ecology of three species of fiddler crabs, Uca pugnax, Uca pugilator, and Uca minax in sites with varying pollution loads along the New Jersey Coast.  Pollutants have been shown to impact various behaviors.  One behavior that has been reported to vary among individuals of a population is the degree of shyness of boldness that they exhibit. Boldness can be described as a willingness to be exposed to a higher risk of predation in an effort to increase foraging or reproductive success.  Current research is being conducted looking at how shyness/boldness behaviors vary in populations fiddler crabs in three sites with differing pollution levels.

Published Works

• Bergey, L., T. Glover, and J.S. Weis.  2012.  Behavioral Differences in Fiddler Crabs, Uca Pugnax, from   Contaminated and Reference Estuaries in New Jersey.  In  K. Saruwatari and M. Nishimura (Eds.), Crabs:  Anatomy, Habitat and Ecological Significance 89-105.  Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers.

• Weis, J.S., L. Bergey, A. Candelmo, and J. Reichmuth.  2011.  Living in a contaminated estuary: Behavioral changes and ecological consequences for five species.  BioScience  61(5):  375-385.

• Bergey, L. and J.S. Weis.  2008.  Aspects of population ecology in two populations of fiddler crabs, Uca pugnax.  Marine Biology 154:435-442.

• Bergey, L. and J.S. Weis. 2007.  Molting as a mechanism of depuration of metals in the fiddler crab, Uca pugnax.  Marine Environmental Research 64(5):556-562.

• Bergey, L. and J.S. Weis.  2006.  Immobility in five species of fiddler crabs, genus Uca.  Journal of Crustacean Biology 26 (1):82-84

• Bergey, L.L., R.A. Rulifson, M.L. Gallagher, and A.S. Overton.  2003. Variability of Atlantic Coast striped bass egg characteristics.  North American Journal of Fisheries Management 23:  558-572

• Bergey, L., J. Weis, and P. Weis.  2002.  Mercury uptake by the estuarine species Palaemonetes pugio, Fundulus heteroclitus and their parasites, Probopyrus pandalicola and Eustrongylides sp. Marine Pollution Bulletin 44: 1046-1050.  2007
Published online 19 July 2007 |Nature| doi:10.1038/news070716-12
Crabs use their shells for garbage disposal; Matt Kaplan

Professional Societies

• The Crustacean Society
• Atlantic Estuarine Research Society (AERS)
• Animal Behavior Society (ABS)
• American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS)

Student Groups

Tribeta Biology Honor Society

Co-advisor for the Tribeta Biology Honor Society at Centenary University

The Omega Rho Chapter of Beta Beta Beta, also known as Tri-Beta, is an honor society designed for students interested in the sciences who are dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of scientific research. The Omega Rho Chapter of Centenary University was established in 2010. Originally it was founded in 1922, and since then more than 553 chapters have been established. Students who have become Tri-Beta members of Centenary University participated in field trips, research presentations, conferences, campus events and projects.