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Department of


Mary Sue Lowery, PhD

Professor, Biology

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.


PhD, University of California at San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Marine Biology

BS, (with highest distinction) Mississippi State University, Zoology

Recipient, National Science Foundation pre-doctoral fellowship, National Research Council Post-doctoral Fellowship.

Scholarly and Creative Work

Lowery's research focuses on muscle metabolism and growth in response to environmental conditions of flow velocity and food availability. Her current work examines the effect of endurance swimming at elevated velocity on muscle aerobic metabolism, growth, and stress related endocrine factors in several juvenile marine fish species. She has published several manuscripts and has received grant funding from the National Science Foundation, NASA-ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship, and the California Sea Grant College Program.

Teaching Interests

An active participant in the USD interdisciplinary honors program, Lowery has engaged in developing numerous team-taught courses with colleagues in other departments. She strives to engage students in the process of science through encouraging student design and implementation of projects within traditional courses as well as promoting student collaboration in her research lab. Independent projects and intensive writing in biological oceanography provide some of her favorite areas for developing students' critical reasoning and science writing skills. Lowery is an enthusiastic promoter of science in local K-12 school districts, linking young women to opportunities in science and encouraging all USD students to volunteer as mentors and workshop presenters for BE WiSE (Better Education for Women in Science and Engineering) and EYH San Diego (Expanding Your Horizons) events. As a member of Project Kaleidoscope's Faculty for the 21st Century, Lowery works on the national level for science education reform. Lowery was the recipient of the Davies Award for Excellence in Teaching (2006) and the Outstanding Preceptor Award (2007).