Teaching

I enjoy teaching with an interactive and engaging lecture style that combines traditional lectures with discussion, active learning activities, and innovative teaching technologies. I value interdisciplinary learning and incorporate real-world examples and hands-on experience in my classes.

At the University of Maine, I currently teach:

SMS203: Introduction to Integrative Marine Science (Spring, even years)

In this required, first-year laboratory course for marine science majors, students focus on key topics in Marine Science research and explore the nature of inquiry, elements of experimental design, data presentation, elementary statistics, and interpretation of scientific papers. Hands-on activities introduce basic concepts in the biology of marine organisms, observational skills, data literacy and experimentation.

SMS308: Ecology & Conservation of Marine Mammals (Fall)

This course introduces students to the ecology and conservation of marine mammals, including cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians and sea otters. We consider the evolution, morphology, and physiology of marine mammals within the context of mammalian adaptation to the marine environment, and we discuss the behavior and life history of marine mammals to better understand their role in coastal and oceanic ecosystems. This class also focuses on the health of marine mammal populations, the variety of threats they face, and current conservation and management practices and goals. The course is a mixture of lecture and class discussion and activities, during which students are expected to be active participants in their learning.

As a final project, SMS308 students select a peer-reviewed scientific journal article that has been published within the last year and summarize the findings of this article in a news story format intended for the general public.  This final assignment follows a semester-long series of discussions and critiques of paired news stories and scientific journal articles.  Check out the students’ stories in our online Marine Mammals in the News publication.

SMS598: Marine Ecology & Conservation in the Genomics Era (Spring, odd years)

Genomic tools and resources are revolutionizing the way we in which we design and conduct scientific research to understand our natural environment and address pressing challenges.  It is therefore increasingly important for ecologists and conservation practitioners alike to become fluent in genomic approaches and to understand their promise (and limitations) for the field.  In this graduate-level seminar course, following a brief, general introduction to ecological and conservation genomics, students explore how these approaches are being applied to current questions in marine ecology and conservation science, through student-led, facilitated discussions of the scientific literature.

Courses previously taught:

SMS491: Ocean Health Issues for Humans, Wildlife, and Marine Ecosystems

This course explores the major health issues impacting our coasts and oceans. Using a “one health” perspective, we jointly consider the impacts of ocean health on humans, wildlife, and marine ecosystems. Human and ocean health are closely tied; our actions can greatly affect the oceans, and in turn, we are affected by the oceans that we rely upon for food and recreation. In this course, we discuss issues related to harmful algae, marine pollutants, and infectious disease, and we consider the impacts of climate change on these ocean stressors.