Title: Adjunct Assistant Professor of Natural Resources and Philosophy
At Northland Since: 2012
The Apostle Islands had an early and significant influence on my research interests, career, and moral views. In high school I was lucky enough to attend a two week geology, ecology, and biology field course at Madeline Island (Edgewood High School Field Education based in Madison WI, a course that has greatly expanded and is directed by one of my former mentorees http://teachersites.schoolworld.com/webpages/MWM/enviromentalfielded.cfm. This course shaped my view of the relationships between outdoor education, science, nature, and society. Of course I also fell completely in love with The Lake and northern Wisconsin. After many years studying and conducting research in science and philosophy, I still hold to the ideals of that first course- in particular the idea of integrating outdoor education and scientific research into programs that directly benefit natural resources and the people who depend on them. Northland is the natural place for me to pursue this work and I am very happy to be a part of this community.
I have experience in diverse teaching environments including field education, non-academic environments, and traditional university settings. I have also contributed to, designed, and directed several field science and applied conservation programs for high school and college students. In university settings I've enjoyed teaching logic (formal and informal), history and philosophy of science, scientific reasoning, ethics, environmental science, introductory and upper division ecology courses and other topical courses in biology. Closest to my heart is work I have directed or participated in that mentors students in scientific projects that have direct application to culturally and scientifically important issues. I have also developed hybrid courses integrating philosophy (both analytical and moral) with scientific topics and methodology.
My research expertise covers aquatic invertebrate taxonomy and ecology , paleoecology, and limnology. I specialize in underwater (SCUBA) study design and implementation. My studies of philosophy of science focus on multi-scalar complexity in the relationship between taxonomy and ecology, causality in complex ecological or biological systems, and the tensions that ecological science creates for traditional moral reasoning. My current research is largely centered on 1) relating food web ecology to invasive species management in large rivers, 2) genetic taxonomy and biogeography of zooplankton, 3) unionid mussel conservation, and 4) ecology of Lake Superior coastal and nearshore environments.
Just about all water related activities take up my free time, including swimming, triathlon, fishing, kayak, canoe, and SCUBA. I also enjoy bicycle touring (on and off road) and trail running. Much of my free time is dedicated to theoretical and applied zymurgy.