Diara Spain, PhD

Diara considers herself a functional morphologist, interested in the interactions of form (anatomy) and function (physiology). Echinoderms and crustaceans are her favorite groups of organisms. Previously, she examined the links between locomotion and dermal morphology in sea cucumbers (Phylum Echinodermata, Order Holothuroidea). Currently, she is mentoring students in undergraduate research projects investigating the impact of increased ocean acidification on the exoskeleton of crabs (Subphylum Crustacea).   

Science education including curricular development is another area of interest. Diara has developed courses for science majors courses and science courses for non-science majors. She has projects on communication skills for science majors, and the use of reflections in science research courses. Additionally, she has worked with undergraduate students to write a case study on ocean acidification. This case study was used to teach non-science majors in an environmental science course. 


University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, PhD, Biology

Research Interests

  • Ocean acidification – interactions with marine invertebrates, in particular, crustaceans
  • Locomotion – soft-bodied marine invertebrates, hydrostatic skeletons
  • Science communication – use of reflections, oral and written presentation skills

Contact Information