Professor of Zoology, Behavioral Ecology, Anatomy, and Physiology
Where did you go to school?
U.C. Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and the University of Rhode Island.
What do you teach?
Ecology Animal Behaviour Anatomy and Physiology; Biology Conservation Biology; Island Life; Literature and Ecology of the Sea; Human Ecology; Turn of the Century; and Mammalogy
Why do you teach at COA?
Because of some of the students. Because every so often the lightning strikes and you finds yourself in a unique teaching and learning situation where you are learning as much or more than the students; but you are both learning together. Because there are students who will roll those dice, take that gamble, work with a teacher who doesn't know what he is talking about -yet- but plans on changing that; and they want to be part of that. Because I don't like to be the smartest kid in the room. Because I never want to teach at a place where I already know 4/5 of the books on other professors' shelves before I walk into their office. Because I have grown to love these islands, this sea. Because I love being at a place where we can say "Why don't we..." and then we go do it. Because....
How long have you been part of the COA community? What has changed?
22.5 years. We've grown too big.
What new course would you like to design?
A History of Natural History
Which project thrills you most to assign and witness?
Here is an island. Here is a species. By the end of the summer, come up with a question that you will feel comfortable answering in a hall full of strangers.
What is the most significant challenge the current generation of college students faces?
Attention Deficit Disorder. The loss of history. The loss of any connection to a broader culture.
Tell us about your favorite tree on campus.
I love the birch on the lawn above the dock. We cut it down. It came back.
Where are your roots?
A lake in the mountains of New Zealand. A lake in the mountains of California. A house in a field in England. A lake in the desert of Nevada.
What can you say about life on an island in Maine?
It is nothing like anything I imagined doing.
In which media do you most enjoy to work? Why?
Words. Because, "In the beginning...."
Where do you like to do your work?
Beyond teaching at COA, which projects or passions energize you?
Reading. Bow watch. Dawn. On a schooner.
Which books do you keep on your desk, in your pocket, on your nightstand?
- Groovy environmental:
Beston, Henry The Outermost House
Steinbeck, John. Log from the Sea of Cortez
Eiseley, Loren. The Star Thrower
Leopold, Aldo. Sand County Almanac
White, Gilbert. Natural History of Selbourne
MacLean, Norman Young Men and Fire
Maclean, Norman A River Runs Through It
Lopez, Barry. Winter Count
Brower, Kenneth. The Starship & the Canoe
Bleibtreu, John. The Parable of the Beast
Dubos, Rene. The wooing of Earth
MacPhee, John Basin and Range
MacPhee, John Oranges
MacPhee, John. Control of Nature
MacPhee, John Encounters with the Archdruid
Mathiessen, Peter. The Snow Leopard
Steinbeck, John. Cannery Row
Pirsig, Robert. Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Wessells, Tom Reading the forested landscape
Dillard, Annie. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Dillard Annie Holy The Firm
Thoreau Henry Walking
- Less Groovy Science/Environment/Evolution:
Worster, Donald. Nature's Economy
Hrdy, Sarah. The Woman Who never Evolved
Darlington, Philip. Evolution for Naturalists
Mayr, Ernst. One Long Argument
Darwin, Charles. Voyage of the Beagle
Darwin, Charles. The Autobiography of Charles Darwin
Tinbergen, Nicholas. Curious Naturalists
Tinbergen, Nicholas The Herring Gull's World
Wallace, Alfred Russell. The Malay Archipelago
Wallace A. R. Darwinism
Schaller, George. Stones of Silence
Steinbeck, John. Log from the Sea of Cortez
Peters, Robert. A critique for ecology
Wilson, E.O. & W. Bossert. A primer of population biology
Krebs, John & N.B. Davies. Behavioural Ecology (any edition except the last)
Crosby, Alfred. Ecological Imperialism
Carr, Archie. The Windward Road
Carr, Archie. So excelente a fishe
Haldane, J.B.S. On Being the Right Size
Lorenz, Konrad King Solomon's Ring
Eiseley, Loren. Darwin's Century
Eiseley Loren The Night Country
Eiseley, Loren. All the Strange Hours
Wilson, E.O. Sociobiology
Levins, R. & R. Lewontin. The Dialectical Biologist
Caughley, Graeme Conservation Biology in theory and practice
Tufte, Edward The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
Kingsland, Sharon Modeling Nature
Chitty, Dennis Do Lemmings Commit Suicide? Beautiful Hypotheses & Ugly facts
Hamilton, W.D. Narrow Roads of gene Land all volumes, but esp the first 2
Browne, Janet, Charles Darwin: Voyaging
Browne Janet Charles Darwin: The power of Place
Pielou, E.C. After The Ice Age
Golley, Frank A history of the Ecosystem Concept: More than The Sum of its Parts
Haldane, J.B.S. Possible Worlds
Garrett, Laurie, Betrayal of Trust
Hooper, Edward The River
- 'History' or is it fiction? :
Clark, Kenneth. Civilization
Prescott, William. History of the conquest of Mexico
Galeano, Eduardo. A memory of Fire
Galeano, Eduardo. We say No
Massey, Robert. Dreadnought
Kipling, Rudyard Puck of Pook's Hill
Kipling, Rudyard, Rewards & Fairies
Maclean Fitzroy Eastern Approaches
Bell, Gertrude Amurath to Amurath
Churchill, Winston History of the English Speaking Peoples
Cronin, William Changes in the Land
Brown Dee Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Least Heat Moon, William. Prairy Erth
Lawrence, T.E. Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Agee, James, Walker Evans. Let us now praise famous men
Ascherson, Neal Black Sea
Runciman, Steven History of the crusades
Thompson, Hunter. Hell's Angels.
Thompson, Hunter. Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972
Renault, Mary Fire From Heaven
Renault, Mary The Persian Boy
Renault, Mary The Bull from the Sea, The King must Die
Sutcliffe, Rosemary. The Flowers of Adonis
Fromkin, David A Peace to end all Peace: The fall of the Ottoman Empire & the Creation of the Modern Middle East
Fall, Bernard. Hell in a very small place: the siege of Dien Bien Phu
Horn Alistair A savage war of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962
Sheehan, Neil A bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam
Dalrymple, William, From the Sacred Mountain
Aslam, Nadeen The wasted Vigil
Rushdie, Salman The enchantress of Florence
- Odd Life & All That:
Drabble, Margaret. The Realms of Gold
Drabble, Margaret. The Gates of Ivory
Byatt, A.S. Angels and Insects
Pynchon, Thomas. V.
Nabokov, Vladimir. Ada
Didion, Joan. The White Album
Didion, Joan. Slouching towards Bethlehem
DeBeauvoir, Simone. Notes of a Dutiful Daughter
Fowles, John. Daniel Martin
Durrell, Lawrence. The Alexandria Quartet
Sayers, Dorothy. Gaudy Night
Atwood, Margaret. Catseye
deLampedusa, Giuseppe. The Leopard
Heyerdal, Thor Aku Aku
Masters, John Coromandel, Far Far the Mountain Peak
Lewis, C.S. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, etc.
Lewis, C.S. Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength
Warren, Robert Penn. All the King's Men
Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity
Norman, Howard The Bird Artist
Williams, Terry T. Leap
- Just plain odd or distinctly weird:
Pynchon, Thomas Gravity's Rainbow
Pynchon, Thomas. The Crying of Lot 49
Pynchon Thomas. Vineland
DeBeauvoir, Simone. The Mandarins
Fowles, John. The Magus
Fowles, John The Ebony Tower
Stoppard, Tom. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead
Garner, Alan Strandloper
Mathiessen, Peter Far Tortuga
Garner, Alan, The Owl Service
Murakami, Haruki The windup bird chronicles
Garner, Alan Red Shift
McCarthy, Cormac. Blood meridian
What can't you live without?
I don't know. I don't want to find out.
What brings you joy?
When things work.
Describe your ideal academic moment.
The cliffs on Isle au Haut.
What role should rebellion or revolution play in contemporary societies?
As little as possible. The Who said it best back in The Day when it was The Day: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." What we need is a half revolution.
Which rule, theory, assumption most needs dismantling?
The idea that everything is relative.
What does 'green' mean to you?
A colour. An increasingly over-used label.
What's the craziest, loveliest idea you've had/heard as of late?