my courses

I teach courses in ecology, freshwater biology, conservation biology, Community and Environmental Studies, and other sciences. My courses concentrate on exploring both the surroundings landscape, flora, and fauna, as well as how humans interact with our natural resources. I focus many of the activities and field trips throughout New Hampshire, and take advantage of the natural resources in the Lakes region around New London.

My research interests in water quality and how human derived impacts affect water resources allow me to incorporate students in my on-going studies in the region. I am currently collaborating with a community-based lake association, as well as several other researchers from other institutions to investigate how water quality changes in the Lake Sunapee watershed affects the foodweb dynamics in streams, and heavy metal transport within the foodweb. Please see my research section for additional details on both my research and recent undergraduate research projects.

Interactions in Biology (BIO 107)

This course introduces Biological concepts and the scientific research that have built our understanding of the patterns in nature we observe. This course touches on all areas of biology as we investigate ecological theory and research, including evolutionary, organismal, population, community, and ecosystem perspectives. Students apply these conceptual ideas to self-directed, small group, field and laboratory experiments, where the students design and carry out quantitative hypotheses testing. Examples of past experiments include: the effect of development on small mammal populations, municipal water treatments affects on bacterial communities, foodweb interactions between algae, aquatic herbivores and their predators, edge effects on tree growth, and food preference studies of birds. While expanding their understanding of the interactions between organisms and their surrounding environment, students hone their skills in critical thinking, quantitative analyses, graphical illustrations, and written and oral communication skill.

Aquatic Ecology (BIO/CES 350)

Freshwater Biology explores the organisms that contribute to the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems.

We study the unique environmental conditions and biota in lake and pond, and river and stream habitats. Because individual organisms respond differently to physical and chemical conditions, the class spends time investigating how organisms have adapted to function in these environments. We build our understanding of aquatic ecosystems as we look at both plant and animal communities, and their contributions to aquatic ecosystem processes and services, including primary and secondary production, detrital foodweb dynamics, and nutrient cycling. Students draw from classic and current research to help explain patterns we observe. We look at ways resource managers are using the biotic community as a tool to quantify and monitor water quality impairments. As part of this class students sample and explore a number of streams, ponds, and lakes in and around the New London area.

Conservation Biology (BIO/CES 407)

We face a challenge as human populations grow exponentially to preserve the existence of many organisms threatened by our actions.

Students in this course explore how concepts in biology are being used to understand and address species and habitat loss. The course develops our understanding of Conservation Biology as we learn about both terrestrial and aquatic environments, and observe how human activities and natural fluctuations in the environment can alter ecosystem dynamics dramatically. We draw from classic and current research to help explain patterns we observe, as well as non-fiction readings to broaden our perspectives of the social, economic and political components that usually are woven in the management decisions. Students examine ways that wildlife and conservation biologists and resource managers use current scientific understanding of specific species and ecosystem restoration to conserve populations of threatened organisms. Student-lead case study explorations have the class investigating conservation issues throughout the globe using world-wide web search engines to scour the literature and current efforts.

Water Resources(CES 210)

Students in this course explore a wide range of aquatic ecosystems, spanning from small headwater streams to rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries, and marine environments. They are presented with a historical perspective in order to understand how water has helped shape the landscape and civilizations. We also investigate the ways in which humans have worked to control and harness water resources for their benefit, and also how anthropogenic actions are impacting these very water resources on which society relies. This lab based course provides opportunities for the class to explore ecological principles, by participating in on-going research efforts of specific watersheds, touring a hydroelectric plant, visiting wastewater and water purification treatment plants, and exploring streams, lakes, and coastal environments. They build their understanding of aquatic ecosystems as we look at both the biotic and abiotic aspects of water resources, and their contributions to shaping aquatic ecosystem processes and services. Students are exposed to the social, economic, and political influences and impacts on water resources globally. We draw from classic and current research to help explain patterns we observe.

Environmental Issues (SCI 120)

This course introduces students to biological, chemical, geological, and earth science concepts that have built our understanding of the patterns in nature and how human derived impacts can alter these conditions. Students use the scientific method to explore and understand these patterns. The course explores the interactions of humans and natural resources through discussions, student-lead presentations, field exploration, reading of popular and scientific articles, and meetings with local and regional experts. Students develop a knowledge base of the human derived impacts on air, soil, and water quality, as well as biodiversity, and communicate the ways in which humans can achieve sustainability.

Independent Research BIO486/487

The senior capstone research project is an opportunity for the senior Biology majors to perform independent research in their area of interest while being mentored by a faculty member. This is a year long endeavor where the student performs an in depth literature review on a specific topic and develops and implements experiments to test their hypotheses. The students present their finding within the college and at a regional conference. This experience challenges the students to pull together much of their knowledge and skills learned throughout their tenure at CSC. Please visit my research page for specific studies students have performed.