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Marine Science Graduate Program


Graduate Director

Ron Kaufmann

Ron Kaufmann, PhD

Associate Dean
Associate Professor, Marine Science
(619) 260-5904

Office: SCST 274

Ron Kaufmann, PhD, joined the USD faculty in 1997 and currently serves as director of the Marine Science Graduate Program.  His areas of specialization are ecology and environmental biology, and his teaching includes courses in biology, environmental studies and marine science, as well as interdisciplinary courses that are team-taught with colleagues in the humanities. Kaufmann’s scholarship focuses on biological communities and their dynamics as well as their responses to changing environmental conditions. He has studied marine communities in extreme environments such as the Antarctic and the deep ocean.


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Michel A. Boudrias

Michel A. Boudrias, PhD

Associate Professor
(619) 260-4794

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 267

Michel A. Boudrias, PhD,has been on the faculty since 1996 and is currently chair of the department and Chair of the university's Sustainability Task Force.  Boudrias teaches classes that cover a wide range of topics from introductory marine biology to interdisciplinary coastal environmental science to classical invertebrate zoology.  He has taught Honors courses that combine traditional classroom concepts with intense field experiences. His research projects include long-term interdisciplinary projects combining marine ecology and marine chemistry in Baja California Sur and an integrated project studying the social, cultural and environmental impacts of tourism in Jamaica. 

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Hugh Ellis

Hugh Ellis, PhD

Professor, Biology
(619) 260-4075

Office: SCST 478

Office Hours: Spring 2016: M-F-11:00am-12pm And by appointment

Hugh Ellis, PhD, came to the Biology Department in 1980 after teaching three years at Iowa State University.  He is a physiological ecologist and teaches several ecological courses as well as two of the preparatory courses for the Biology and Marine Science majors.  His research is in the energetics of birds, looking at such topics as energy budgets, migration, and diving.  He has been a visiting research scientist at the University of Hawaii, Sydney University (Australia), and the Archbold Biological Station (Florida).  Dr. Ellis is affiliated with the Marine Science graduate program and is involved with the Center of Comparative Physiology in the Biology Department.

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Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray, PhD

(619) 260-4098

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 270

Office Hours: TR 2:30pm-5:00pm

Sarah Gray, PhD, teaches courses in geological oceanography, paleoclimatology, climate change, environmental geology, and earth science.  These courses include hands-on field and lab-based research experiences.  Gray conducts research in paleoclimatology, marine sedimentation, the geology of coral reefs and environmental proxies recorded in the geochemistry of coral skeletons.  Current research includes a study of the impact of watershed development on sedimentation on fringing coral reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands and a synthesis of multi-century climate cycles preserved in the geologic record. Her PhD dissertation was entitled “Late Quaternary History of Reef Growth, Sea Level, and Diagenesis from three Cook Islands Atolls”.

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Mary Sue Lowery

Mary Sue Lowery, PhD

Professor, Biology
(619) 260-4078

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 482

Mary Sue Lowery, PhD, joined the biology faculty in 1990. She teaches preparatory courses for biology majors, as well as biological oceanography and interdisciplinary team-taught honors courses. Lowery is a comparative biologist with particular interest in the effect of endurance swimming on the development of muscle in juvenile marine fishes.

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Geoffrey Morse

Geoffrey Morse, PhD

Associate Professor, Biology
(619) 260-7914

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 479

Office Hours: Spring 2016: On Sabbatical

Geoffrey Morse, PhD, came to USD in 2008 and teaches general biological topics and more specialized courses in entomology and evolutionary biology.  He conducts research in insect evolution and ecology, the goal of which is to understand how ecological interactions, environmental conditions, and geographic distributions have structured their impressive diversification.  This research involves reconstructing evolutionary relationships among insect species, examining patterns and mechanisms of speciation, understanding processes that link or separate populations, and understanding the adaptations that cause ecological specialization of insect species.  Morse works on these interactions at levels that span from local California landscapes to global patterns of diversification.

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Bethany O'Shea

Bethany O'Shea, PhD

Assistant Professor
(619) 260-4243

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 273

Office Hours: M: 8:30-10:30am T: 11am-12pm F: 12:30-2:30pm

Bethany O'Shea, PhD, teaches courses in environmental geology, earth science, and geochemistry of ocean and continental waters. All of these courses use the environment as a natural laboratory and include interactive problem solving and thought provoking learning techniques. Dr. O'Shea is interested in the cycling of metals, nutrients, and contaminants in the environment; specifically controls on the movement and distribution of trace elements in groundwater, lakes, and sediments. She welcomes the opportunity to teach and mentor students interested in the earth, marine, and environmental sciences.

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Jennifer C. Prairie

Jennifer C. Prairie, PhD

Assistant Professor
(619) 260-8820

Office: SCST 269

Office Hours: M: 1:30-3:30pm T: 3-5pm R: 2:30-3:30pm

Jennifer C. Prairie, PhD, joined the USD faculty in 2014. Prairie teaches courses on introductory marine biology and physical oceanography. Her research combines laboratory experiments and field work with mathematical modeling to study biological-physical interactions in marine ecosystems, particularly focusing on plankton. Current projects include studying marine snow formation in turbulence and zooplankton foraging in patchy environments. Prairie welcomes undergraduate involvement in her research.

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Nathalie Reyns

Nathalie Reyns, PhD

Associate Professor
(619) 260-4096

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 277

Office Hours: M: 10am-12pm W: 11am-2pm

Nathalie Reyns, PhD, teaches core and upper division courses in oceanography, marine ecology and how humans impact the oceans. Reyns’ research interests focus on identifying the factors that influence the dispersal of marine organisms, to better understand the population dynamics of these organisms and the implications for fisheries management and marine conservation. Reyns is also very interested in advancing marine science education and improving ocean literacy, and regularly provides research opportunities for undergraduate students.

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Steven Searcy

Steven Searcy, PhD

Adjunct Assistant Professor
(619) 260-2793

Office: SCST-250

Office Hours: MWF: 9-11am

Steven Searcy, PhD, focuses his research on the early life history of marine organisms with a focus on the transition between larval and juvenile stages of marine fish and invertebrates.

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Drew M. Talley

Drew M. Talley, PhD

Associate Professor
(619) 260-6810

Office: SCST-266

Office Hours: Sabbatical FA15-SP16

Drew Talley, PhD, teaches a variety of courses including Introduction to Physical Oceanography, Biological Oceanography, Graduate Statistics and Experimental Design, and Life in the Ocean. His overall research focuses on understanding connectivity across habitat boundaries, and assessing how that interdependence between systems changes with anthropogenic influence both locally (e.g., through habitat loss) and globally (e.g., through climate change).

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Zhi-Yong Yin

Zhi-Yong Yin, PhD

(619) 260-8864

Office: SCST-268

Office Hours: TR: 10:40am-12:10pm W: 2:30-4:30pm

Zhi-Yong Yin, PhD, came to USD in 2003 after teaching at Georgia State University in Atlanta for 12 years. He offers classes in hydrology, climatology, geographic information systems (GIS), and remote sensing. His research focus is hydroclimatology, with special interests in recent and past climate variations and the impact on hydrological systems and water resources in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau.

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