Jennifer Polinski

Senior Research Associate

Jennifer comes to GMGI with a background in marine biology and genomics. Originally from Michigan, she earned a B.A. in Biology and Mathematics from Albion College before moving to Florida to complete an M.S. in Marine Biology at FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. There, Jennifer used both traditional techniques and next generation sequencing to characterize coral endosymbionts on reefs in the Gulf of Mexico in conjunction with the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research, and Technology. Prior to joining GMGI, she worked as a research assistant for the Bay Paul Center and Keck Sequencing Facility at the Marine Biology Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. Jennifer is also an avid SCUBA diver and underwater photographer.


978-879-4575 ext. 207


Research Interests

DNA sequencing is a powerful tool that allows researchers to answer a vast array of questions – What organisms are present? What biological processes are they capable of, which are they currently using, and how does that change with shifting conditions? What genetic mutations underlie adaptation? Since joining the team in September of 2017, Jennifer has focused on helping build GMGI’s capacity to apply questions like these to marine organisms.

Jennifer utilizes her background in molecular ecology, sequencing, and field work to actively contribute to several GMGI projects. She’s played an active role in the Microbial Discovery Project, developing and implementing protocols for generating metagenomic data and answering ecological questions, and has used her bioinformatic skills to help crack the American lobster genome and uncover patterns of aging in the sea urchin transcriptome.


2014 – BA Biology & Mathematics, Albion College, Albion, Michigan
2016 – MSc Biology, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University, Advisor: Joshua Voss

Prior Positions

2016-2017: Research Assistant II, Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA
2014-2016: Graduate Research Assistant, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University, Fort Pierce, FL
2013-2014: Laboratory Teaching Assistant, Biology Department, Albion College, Albion, MI

Research Profile Links

Research Projects


Atkinson, Rogan A., Baker C. S., Dagdag R., Redlinger M., Polinski J. M., Urban J., Sremba A., Branson M., Mashburn K., Pallin L., Klink A., Steel D., Bortz E., Kerr I. 2021. Genetic, Endocrine, and Microbiological Assessments of Blue, Humpback and Killer Whale Health using Unoccupied Aerial Systems. Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Polinski, J.M., Zimin, A.V., Clark, K.F., Kohn, A.B., Sadowski, N., Timp, W., Ptitsyn, A., Khanna, P., Romanova, D.Y., Williams, P., Greenwood, S.J., Moroz, L.L., Walt, D.R. and Bodnar, A.G. (2021) The American lobster genome reveals insights on longevity, neural, and immune adaptations. Science Advances Vol. 7, no. 26, eabe8290 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe8290

Polinski, J.M., N. Kron, D.R. Smith, and A.G. Bodnar. (2020) Unique age-related transcriptional signature in the nervous system of the long-lived red sea urchin Mesocentrotus franciscanus. Scientific Reports. 10: 9182. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-66052-3

Polinski, J.M., J.P. Bucci, M. Gasser, and A.G. Bodnar. (2019)  Metabarcoding assessment of prokaryotic and eukaryotic taxa in sediments from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Scientific Reports. 9:14820 doi:10.1038/s41598-019-51341-3.

Polinski, J.M. and J.D. Voss. 2018.  Evidence of photoacclimatization at mesophotic depths in the coral-Symbiodinium symbiosis at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and McGrail Bank. Coral Reefs, 37(3): 779-789.

Klepac, C.N., J. Beal, C.D. Kenkel, A. Sproles, J.M. Polinski, M.A. Williams, M.V. Matz, and J.D. Voss. 2015.  Seasonal stability of coral-Symbiodinium associations in the subtropical coral habitat of St. Lucie Reef, Florida. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 532: 137-151.