Schonna R. Manning

Assistant Professor

Biological Sciences, Institute of Environment

Office: MSB 250B (BBC)

Phone: 1-305-919-4173


Dr. Schonna R. Manning is a phycologist working at the intersection of molecular biology and analytical chemistry whose research examines the dynamics of harmful algal blooms and proliferations. She is also interested in the immense potential of algae in biotechnology for carbon capture, remediation, and the synthesis of diverse bioproducts. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Manning oversees the Omics Facility for the Institute of Environment, an FIU preeminent program. She is committed to the advancement of algal sciences and works closely with colleagues across the globe in academia, local and federal agencies, and non-profit organizations. Dr. Manning serves on numerous editorial boards and contributes to the international scientific community through her service to the Phycological Society of America and the Algae Biomass Organization, including the development of educational curricula for The Algae Foundation.

Research Areas

Research in the Manning laboratory is focused on understanding why microalgae, including cyanobacteria, form blooms and proliferations often accompanied by potent toxins. Dr. Manning is the lead principal investigator of several multi-year harmful algal monitoring projects, including Biscayne Bay PhycoNet (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration; 2022-2025), AlgaeATX (City of Austin, Texas; 2020-2025), and CyanoCSI (Lower Colorado River Authority; 2021-2026). Her research group utilizes comprehensive omics techniques, including the analysis of environmental DNA coupled with whole-genome sequencing, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, merging modern bench techniques and instrumentation for the top-down and bottom-up evaluation of complex microalgal communities and their microbiomes. It is anticipated interdisciplinary approaches combining genetic, biochemical, and environmental data will reveal factors that elicit the formation of algal blooms/proliferations and the production of toxins toward modeling and mitigation strategies. Related research examines the roles of bioactive algal natural products, i.e., alkaloids, polyketides, and non-ribosomal peptides, which are broadly characterized as toxins. Thousands of molecules are predicted from microalgae with roles in signaling and allelopathy. However, very few metabolites have been elucidated, leaving immense opportunities for the discovery of novel compounds with potential pharmaceutical applications.


  • Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
  • M.A., University of Texas at Austin
  • B.S., University of Texas at Austin

Selected Publications

Gámez TE, Groeger AW, Manning SR. Accepted, 2022. Dynamic phytoplankton community structure in a subtropical reservoir during an extended drought, Central Texas, USA. Aquatic Sciences

*Manning SR. Microalgal lipids: biochemistry and biotechnology. 2022. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 73 (1), 1-7. *invited manuscript

Rakowski CJ, Farrior CE, Manning SR, Leibold MA. 2021. Predator complementarity dampens variability of phytoplankton biomass in a diversity-stability trophic cascade. Ecology 102 (12), e03534.

*Manning SR, Perri KA, Blackwell K. 2021. Bioactive polysaccharides from microalgae, In: Polysaccharides of Microbial Origin. (Eds., JM Oliviera, H Radhouani, and RL Reis), Springer, Cham. *invited chapter

Manning SR, Perri KA, Bellinger B. 2020. Bloom Announcement: first reports of dog mortalities associated with neurotoxic filamentous cyanobacterial mats at recreational sites in Lady Bird Lake, Austin, Texas. Data In Brief 33, 106344.

Barkia I, Saari N, Manning SR. 2019. Microalgae for high-value products towards human health and nutrition. Mar Drugs 17 (5), 304.

Gámez T, Benton L, Manning SR. 2019. Observations of two reservoirs during a drought in central Texas, USA: strategies for predicting harmful algal blooms. Ecol Ind 104, 588-593.

Sabir J, Theriot E, Manning SR, Al-Malki AL, Khiyami MA, Al-Ghamdi AK, Sabir MJ, Romanovicz D, Hajrah NH, El-Omri A, Jansen RK, Ashworth M. 2018. Phylogenetic analysis and a review of the history of the accidental phytoplankter, Phaeodactylum tricornutum Bohlin (Bacillariophyta). PLoS ONE 13 (6):e0196744.

*Manning SR, Nobles DR. 2017. Impact of global warming on water toxicity: cyanotoxins. Current Opinion in Food Science 18, 14-20. *invited manuscript

Talarski AE, Manning SR, La Claire JW. 2016. Transcriptome analysis of the euryhaline alga, Prymnesium parvum Carter (Haptophyta): effects of salinity on differential gene expression. Phycologia 55 (1), 33-44.

*La Claire JW, Manning SR. 2015. Ichthyotoxins, In: Phycotoxins: Chemistry and Biochemistry, 2nd edition (Eds., L Botana and A Alfonso), Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, U.S. ISBN: 978-1-118-50036-1, 552 pp. *invited chapter

La Claire JW, Manning SR, Talarski AE. 2015. Semi-quantitative assay for polyketide prymnesins isolated from Prymnesium parvum (Haptophyta) cultures. Toxicon 102, 74-80.

Manning SR, La Claire JW. 2013. Isolation of polyketide toxins from Prymnesium parvum Carter (Haptophyta) and their detection by LC/MS metabolic fingerprint analysis. Anal Biochem 442 (2), 189-195.

Jones J, Manning SR, Montoya M, Keller K, Poenie M. 2012. Extraction of algal lipids and their analysis by HPLC and mass spectrometry. J Am Oil Chem Soc 89 (8), 1371-1381.‐012‐2044‐8

Manning SR, La Claire JW. 2010. Multiplex PCR methods for the species-specific detection and quantification of Prymnesium parvum (Haptophyta). J Appl Phycol 22 (1), 587-597.