Division of Natural Sciences
Raised in the mountains of North Carolina, Drew Barton is a forest ecologist whose research focuses on how forests change over time in response to climate change and natural disturbances, such as fire. His fieldwork has taken him to Costa Rica, Arizona, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Maine, and he has published in a wide range of biology journals, including several articles with UMF students. He has recently devoted himself to also writing for general audiences, culminating in the release in 2012 of The Changing Nature of the Maine Woods. Drew is the co-founder of the UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition and continues to promote environmental sustainability on campus and in the community as faculty co-coordinator of the group. He greatly enjoys teaching Plant Biology, Forest Ecology and Conservation, and Ecology and the Environment (for non-majors), especially when he gets to take students outside to meet wild plants and animals.
Dr. Timothy Breton is a fish physiologist with expertise in reproductive development and applications to fisheries and aquaculture (fish farming). His research efforts have focused on understanding reproduction in several commerically important species, including Atantic cod, black sea bass, summer flounder, and alewives. Dr. Breton also utilizes many modern molecular techniques to understand egg development, sex change, and sex differentiation in fishes, including quantitative PCR (qPCR) and genomics approaches. He has interests in all things related to fish or molecular biology, and is always looking to apply modern genetic techniques to new ecological or physiological questions.
Anthony "Chris" Brinegar received his BS in Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame (1977), MS in Food Chemistry from Cornell University (1979), and PhD in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin (1983). Following post-doctoral training in plant molecular biology at the Plant Cell Research Institute in California, he joined the faculty of the Biology Department at San Jose State University in 1987 where he taught molecular biology, cell biology, botany and evolution. His research focused on the population genetics of coastal and forest plants of northern California, including coast redwoods. Chris and his wife Bonnie moved to Maine in 2006 after retirement from SJSU. At UMF, he teaches general education science part-time as an Adjunct Associate Professor and continues his research in plant genetics. Chris spent the Fall semester of 2008 as a Fulbright Scholar in the Biotechnology Department at Kathmandu University in Nepal.
Dr. Ron Butler is an ecologist with research interests in behavioral ecology, community ecology, and conservation biology. During the past 30 years, he has worked in Antarctica, Newfoundland, and Maine on a variety of projects concerning the ecology and conservation of seabirds, dragonflies, butterflies, and native pollinators. Because of his interest in ecologically important insect groups, he presently helps coordinate three state-wide citizen scientist initiatives: The Maine Damselfly and Dragonfly Survey, The Maine Butterfly Survey, and The Maine Bumble Bee Atlas. Dr. Butler’s undergraduate research students work with him each summer in Maine on dragonfly, butterfly ecology, and bee ecology. In addition to teaching courses in Ecology, Entomology, Ornithology, and Conservation Biology, Ron also teaches Tropical Island Ecology each May-term in the US Virgin Islands.
Dr. Julia Daly is a geomorphologist at the University of Maine at Farmington. She teaches from an earth systems perspective, including courses focused on landscape processes and evolution, and climate change. Her research interests are currently centered on better understanding the dynamics of subalpine and alpine lake systems at high elevation lakes in western and central Maine. UMF undergraduates have worked on this project with Dr. Daly since 2007, helping to deploy and maintain high-resolution data loggers from these remote sites located along the Appalachian Trail. Dr. Daly is an enthusiastic advocate of engaging students in field-based projects at all levels and incorporates as much outdoors, place-based learning into her courses and research as possible.
Dr. Jean Doty is a microbiologist with research interests in both environmental and medical microbiology. When not in the classroom, you can find Dr. Doty in the lab guiding students in their class-required or independent research projects. These student-designed projects are very diverse in topic, ranging from the heritability of musicality to the bioremediation of heating oil contamination in soil. Her own research interests are in the interaction between humans and their microbiota. Dr. Doty teaches Cell Biology, Genetics and Microbiology for students in the major, and Introductory Microbiology and Human Genetics for students outside the major. When she isn't teaching or doing research, she's exploring the Canadian Maritimes with her husband, daughter and two very excited dogs.
Rachel Hovel is an aquatic ecologist who studies fishes and invertebrates across a range of freshwater habitats. Major themes of her research include species interactions, the timing of ecological events, and biodiversity of species and life histories. In particular, she is interested in how changes to freshwater environments--especially climate change--influence aquatic organisms and ecosystems. Rachel's work takes place in Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, and the lakes of Maine. Visit her website for more information: rachelhovel.wordpress.com
Chris Magri is an astronomer whose research involves radar studies of asteroids. He uses the world's most powerful radar facility, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, to transmit million-watt microwave beams at asteroids and then measure the faint echoes. These data are used to determine the target's orbit, size, shape, rotation state, surface topography, and material composition. Recently he and his collaborators around the country have also begun studying the thermal properties of asteroids, using an infrared telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii to measure emitted heat radiation. Computer analysis of these emissions can reveal whether an asteroid's surface is loose material or else solid bedrock. At UMF Dr. Magri teaches introductory physics and astronomy, typically as general education courses for nonscientists; he also offers first-year seminars, most recently on the topic of astrobiology, the search for life beyond Earth.
In the laboratory, we are currently working on the trace voltammetric speciation of arsenic in the groundwater of the Farmington area, hoping to study/understand any seasonal variations.
Dr. Mariella Passarelli was trained as a synthetic organic chemist designing candidates, developing synthetic methods, and making promising molecules for use in the pharmaceutical industry. After her doctorate, Passarelli did postdoctoral work in toxicology where her synthetic skills were used to adduct DNA with carcinogens. This work catapulted Passarelli into the realm of biochemistry and now she uses enzymatic methods in synthetic work alongside organic chemistry methods. Her teaching responsibilities include both organic chemistry and biochemistry courses. Because she teaches science majors and non-majors, Passarelli has also contributed new ideas to the teaching of science. Her courses blend content, learning/teaching methodologies, and student research.
Nancy Prentiss teaches courses in Marine Biology, Tropical Island Ecology and Field Botany. Her research focuses on surveying marine worms (polychaete) in the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, USVI, where she is developing a database for polychaete biodiversity. She currently employs UMF students as research assistants to conduct polychaete taxonomy and to develop a UMF lab protocol for the DNA barcoding of new species found in the collection. Other interests include monitoring rare plant species in Maine.
Dr. Douglas Reusch, Associate Professor of Geology, is interested in the origins and significance of mountains, notably the New England Appalachians, and also how tectonic processes affect carbon cycling and Earth’s climate. He has participated in Antarctic research, Ocean Drilling Leg 183 to the southern Indian Ocean, and mapping projects in coastal Maine, west-central Maine and Newfoundland. Along the way, he has taught 9th grade earth science and was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology. At UMF, Dr. Reusch teaches Field Introduction to Geology, Oceans: Ancient and Modern, Structural Geology and Tectonics, Geochemistry, and Carbon Fundamentals. He has also engaged UMF students in geologic research, including mapping of the nearby spectacular Bald Mountain field site.
Michael J. Sherrod received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Emory University in 1989. His graduate research explored intramolecular catalysis, host-guest binding, and surfactant packing. He performed postdoctoral research in organic chemistry in Cambridge, England. He is the author or coauthor of 16 scientific publications. He has taught undergraduate and graduate level chemistry courses at Vanderbilt University, the University of New Hampshire and at UMF. He teaches an online course in Environmental Science for the University of Phoenix. Aside from academia, Sherrod has had a diverse career as a scientific entrepreneur in Maine, and as a corporate manager for a contract R&D company in Albany, NY. He is an active volunteer in his community, currently serving as the Chair of the Town of Wilton Planning Board, on the Wilton Finance Committee, and previously as a volunteer for Scouting and the Service Core of Retired Executives.
Associate Professor of Physics