• Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 1985
  • B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara, 1976

Scholarly and Creative Interests

Chris Petersen has been a faculty member at COA since 1990, where he teaches a range of classes in marine biology, evolution, field ecology, molecular biology and policy.

He also is actively engaged in research with students and with researchers at other universities. He has worked with undergraduates on Mount Desert Island, at multiple locations in the Caribbean, and the Pacific Northwest, and is currently collaborating with researchers with several groups in Maine including the Penobscot East, the University of Maine, and Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. Over the summer of 2015 Chris supported six undergraduates with summer research fellowships in a wide range of projects at the Jackson Laboratory, Mount Desert Island Biology Laboratory, Acadia National Park, and local non-profits.  

Current student research projects include work on the ecology of local estuarine and anadromous fishes, work on water quality in clamflats and local streams, historical ecology in Frenchman’s Bay, and collaborative policy development with local communities, while continuing his broader work on the reproductive biology of fishes. 

Community Engagement and Advocacy

Chris works with a number of local groups working on marine environments and sustainability in downeast Maine.  He is the Vice-President of Frenchman Bay Partners, the steering committee of the Downeast Fisheries Partnership and the Down East Research and Education Network, is a member of the Bar Harbor Marine Resource Committee and serves on the board of the Somes-Meynell Sanctuary.  


Chris has published over 50 papers in a variety of professional journals and books, including recent papers with COA students as coauthors. A list of his publications with links to his papers can be found at his website