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Dr. Nora Demers

Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: (239) 590-7211
Office: WH - 218

My background spans the disciplines of biology and interdisciplinary studies.  I’ve applied these interests to problems concerning impacts of stressors on organisms and systems.  I’m currently doing three research projects that I welcome student participation.  They are 1.  studying gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) populations, habitat and relocation success; 2.  Water quality in local waterways, working to decipher the sources and influences of non-point source pollution in our local outstanding Florida waterways (studying the community of San Carlos Park specifically in collaboration with Lee Environmental labs); and examining the way students learn biology using graphic and text. 

In addition, I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring various students on projects of their own design.  Please send me a note or give a call to talk about how we might collaborate.

Web pages:


Research Interests and Potential for Student Projects

Comparative Immunology, Growth Management, Pedagogy and Civic Engagement

How do organisms respond to habitat changes?

Explore habitats and population structure of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus):

How much gopher tortoise habitat has been “lost” in our 5 county service region since the last report (in the 1980’s)?  How many tortoises have been relocated to where, with what success?  I have a dataset of incidental take permits from FFWC- we need to put them into a GIS map and overlay the preserve areas.

Water Quality:
What proportion of nitrogen in the outfall from San Carlos Park is from septic systems, and what fraction is from lawn fertilizer?  We’ll use δ15N (delta N 15 ratios) in mangroves, grasses and/or soils and water to determine. 
EDUCATION: Pedagogy and Assessment:
What are we teaching? What are students learning?  Do the assessments adequately measure the knowledge acquired?
-data analysis of worksheet from General Biology I examining student understanding of the properties of water. 

Hypothesis:  Students who complete a guided water activity using models, and subsequently prepare a storyboard will have better retention of the important concepts surrounding the qualities of water that make it important in understanding life.


I am also willing to mentor projects of student design that are related to my interests. Feel free to stop by my office of contact me by e-mail to talk about your research interests.

Undergraduate Student Research Projects I have sponsored

  • Lauren Galluzzo, B.A. Biology, 2005 Gopher tortoise burrow environment analysis.
  • Meghan Auchter, B.A. Biology, 2005 An examination of a population of Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) at Florida Gulf Coast University, Lee County, Florida.
  • Narissa Parnell, B.A. Environmental Studies, 2005 An examination of a population of Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) at Hickey Creek Mitigation Park, Lee County, Florida.
  • Jessica Jones, BA Biology (2004) Comparison of lysozyme levels between apparently healthy and unhealthy dogs and cats.
  • Lenore Bishop, B.A. Environmental Studies, 2002 The population of Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) at Hickey Creek Mitigation Park, Lee County, Florida.
  • Christopher Burt, Biology, 2001 A comparison of nesting and hatchling success of Loggerhead Sea Turtles on developed and undeveloped barrier islands.
  • Meredith Myers, B.A. Biology, 2001 Comparison of Appetite Suppression in children taking Concerta® versus children taking Ritalin® for ADD/ADHD.
  • Anthony Lotter, B.A. Biology, 2001 L.A.S.I.K.  Surgery and Cataracts:  Decreasing the need for a second surgery with alteration in measurements.
  • Elizabeth Meaney, B.A. Biology, 2001 Is the incidence of violent rape rising in Lee County, Florida?
  • Rebecca Hill, B.A. Biology, 2000 Measuring microbial diversity in native and Melaleuca infested sites on the FGCU campus.
  • Sabrina von Brueckwitz, B.A. Biology, 2000 Evolution of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and its Relationship to Animal Models in Biomedical Research.
  • Jennifer Hitzing, B.A Biology, 2000 An evaluation of diagnosis and treatment of ADD and ADHD in children in the FGCU five county service area.  

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