Dr Jordan Jack Grigor

        Dr Jordan Grigor wearing a red hard

Marine ecologist

I am a marine ecologist researching the adaptations of zooplankton for a life in the Arctic Ocean, especially copepods and arrow worms. I have published four first-author manuscripts about the ecology of arrow worms, known as the “tigers of the plankton”. However, my recent paper was on the novel topic of omnivorous chaetognaths, that eat diatoms.

In my previous position, I created a hands-on marine biology curriculum for high school students in Nashville, USA, and managed saltwater aquaria. I’m also interested in using optical imagers to peacefully study plankton without the need to kill them or bring them to the surface. I post regularly about my passion for the sea and its creatures on my social media pages.

When I'm not doing research, I like to travel and hang out with my black labrador, Taka.

Contact details:

I’m currently working on a project to understand the ability of plankton species, seen to be migrating north into the Arctic Ocean, to survive the tough conditions they’ll encounter when they get there. We are especially interested in the daylength, which is extreme at the poles. To do this, I am comparing morphological, physiological, behavioural and clock gene expression data for species found in both polar and temperate locations.

I am also seeking to investigate the extent and implications of chaetognath non-carnivory in the world’s oceans. Their recently identified diet of diatoms could influence food web dynamics, the abundance of food for other animals, and the flux of carbon to the seafloor (processes that mitigate some aspects of climate change).

Check out my chaetognath project page.


Current project

CHASE (Chronobiology of Changing Arctic Sea Ecosystems): As the Arctic Ocean is warming, many marine organisms are moving northwards to take advantage of new habitats. Since photoperiod is central to the timing of many life-cycle events and the 'setting' of the biological circadian clock, the consequences of migrating 'up north' are as yet unknown. Funded by NERC and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 2018-21

Peer-reviewed publications

Grigor JJ, Schmid MS, Caouette M, St.-Onge V. Brown TA, Barthélémy R-M (2020) Non-carnivorous feeding in Arctic chaetognaths. Progress in Oceanography 186(10233). doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2020.102388. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079661120301270

Grigor JJ, Schmid MS, Fortier L (2017) Growth and reproduction of the chaetognaths Eukrohnia hamata and Parasagitta elegans in the Canadian Arctic Ocean: capital breeding versus income breeding. Journal of Plankton Research 39:910-929. doi: 10.1093/plankt/fbx045. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/plankt/article/39/6/910/4344873 

Schmid MS, Aubry C, Grigor JJ, Fortier L (2016) The LOKI underwater imaging system and an automatic identification model for the detection of zooplankton taxa in the Arctic Ocean. Methods in Oceanography 15-16:129-160. doi: 10.1016/j.mio.2016.03.003. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211122015300050 

Grigor JJ, Marais AE, Falk-Petersen S, Varpe Ø (2015) Polar night ecology of a pelagic predator, the chaetognathParasagitta elegans. Polar Biology 38:87-98. doi: 10.1007/s00300-014-1577-8. Available from: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s00300-014-1577-8.pdf

Grigor JJ, Søreide JE, Varpe Ø (2014) Seasonal ecology and life-history strategy of the high-latitude predatory zooplankter Parasagitta elegans. Marine Ecology Progress Series 499:77-88. doi: 10.3354/meps10676. Available from: https://www.int-res.com/articles/meps_oa/m499p077.pdf


Other publications

Schmid MS, Baltensperger AP, Grigor JJ, Huettmann F (2015) Assessments of carbon stock hotspots in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. In: Huettmann F (ed.) Central American Biodiversity: Conservation, Ecology, and a Sustainable Future. Springer, New York, pp 677-701.doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2208-6_30. Available from: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4939-2208-6_30


Other research outputs: software

Salas C, Kinkel R, Delgado A, Grigor JJ (2018) Svalbard zooplankton identification app (for android phones). Available from:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Svalbard.salasc.svalbardzooplanktonidentification (Research in Svalbard-ID 11040)

Schmid MS, Aubry C, Grigor JJ, Fortier L (2015) ZOOMIE v1.0 (Zooplankton Multiple Image Exclusion). doi:10.5281/zenodo.1792. Available from: https://zenodo.org/record/17928,


Marine Science BSc: Year 4 Behaviour and Biological Clocks.

Marine Science BSc: Year 3 Biogeochemistry.

Marine Science BSc: Year 2 Fieldwork (zooplankton sampling)


Current research students

Chelsey McGowan-Yallop: Using autonomous wideband echosounders to characterise polar ecosystems. PhD. 2018-21


Alumni research students

Joseph Turner: The borealisation of calanoid copepods in sub-Arctic and European shelf seas: a review of the ecological implications. H3 Marine Science BSc. 2018/19.

Frederick Fleet: The effect of lipid content and prosome length on behaviour of Calanus finmarchicus. H4 Marine Science BSc. 2018/19.

I have also supervised a number of interns including Vaila Grigg and Michela Iodio.

Professional memberships

ARCTOS Postdoctoral Association: Member

International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE): Member

Changing Arctic Ocean: Member


Relevant research expeditions

Arctic cruises in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2019

Sub-Arctic cruises in 2012

Regular local fieldwork in Loch Etive

Previously lived in Svalbard (Arctic Norway) for one year, studying Marine Science with Arctic Science at the University Centre in Svalbard


Public engagement / media activities

A few of many videos and articles (in no particular order):

Scientists discover 'tiger' of the plankton world enjoys its veg too 

Nashville News Channel 5: Upside-Down Jellyfish Take Up Residence At Vanderbilt University's SSMV Aquarium

Dawn of the Copepod Chasers 

Ocean Explorer Magazine (summer 2020)

Underdogs of the Arctic

Chaetognath feeding on detritus 

Marine Biology and Climate Change (Straight from a Scientist podcast) 

Upside-down jellyfish teach land-locked teens about ocean conservation

Studying the tigers of the plankton aboard the CCGS Amundsen (Innovation Canada podcast)

Why do science at the poles?

Arctic zooplankton and climate change


Prizes and awards 

2012 – 2016
Scholarship from the Canadian Excellence Research Chair on Canada’s new Arctic frontier ($42500CAD) for doctoral project at Laval University, as well as support from Quebec Ocean ($12000CAD).

Laval University Bursary of Excellence: Leadership and Sustainable Development Scholarship Program ($10000CAD per year).

Dec 2013
Prize for best poster in category: Marine Natural Science at ArcticNet Annual Science Meeting, Halifax, Canada ($500CAD).

July 2011
Scottish Arctic Club funding (£500 to conduct M.Sc. project work on Svalbard, Norway).

Student Awards Agency for Scotland (Postgraduate award) (£3000 to cover M.Sc. annual tuition fees).

Financial support to help fund a year of study in Norway; Thomas & Margaret Roddan Trust Bursary (£1500), Erasmus Bursary.



Reviewed zooplankton subject manuscripts for many journals including Marine Biology, Biological Reviews, Progress in Oceanography and Marine Biology Research.

Employment history

Since 2018: Postdoctoral Research Associate. SAMS, Scotland

2016-18: Postdoctoral Instructor. Vanderbilt University, USA



2017 PhD Oceanography. Laval University, Canada

2011 MSc Climate Change: Impacts and Mitigation. Heriot-Watt University, Scotland

2010 BSc (Hons) Marine Science with Arctic Studies. University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland