School of Biodiversity Conservation

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Unity College's unique location makes environmental experiential learning easy and is a great jumping off point for outdoor activities. We are in the middle of three climate zones, providing our students with a unique location for doing original research.
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Dr. Pieter deHart

Dr. Pieter deHart

Visiting Associate Professor of Ecology/ School of Biodiversity Conservation

Dr. Pieter deHart - Visiting Associate Professor of Ecology at Unity College
Phone: 207-509-7237
Email: pdehart@unity.edu
Office: Founders Hall South

Visiting Associate Professor of Ecology Dr. Pieter deHart is a Conservation Biologist addressing questions related to foraging ecology and population dynamics of organisms across multiple scales and habitats.  He completed his B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Rhode Island and his Master’s degree in Biology from Boston University, exploring the Population biology of multiple seal species in New England through the marine program in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He then continued his exploration of marine mammals through an examination of Bowhead whale migration and Steller sea lion feeding patterns using stable isotope analyses at the University of Alaska Fairbanks during his PhD.  Over the past decade he has taught Biology and been program director of Science and Math at Mount Ida College, and served as an Associate Professor of Biology and Director of Undergraduate Research at Virginia Military Institute. During this time, he has conducted research exploring the role that higher trophic level consumers are affected by environmentally driven changes in food availability. As a systems-focused ecologist, he examines a wide range of species and systems, and has collaboratively published work ranging from the impacts of invasive plant species on the forest insect ecology, to dietary determinations of Mongoose in the Caribbean, and continues to explore a multitude of questions in a long-term project examining ecosystem dynamics in fish communities of the Brazilian Amazon. Through all his research endeavors, he has worked and published with undergraduates. In his teaching, he leads student-centered and active-learning courses ranging from Introductory Biology to Evolution, Aquatic Ecology, and Conservation Biology. 

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Unity College's unique location makes environmental experiential learning easy and is a great jumping off point for outdoor activities. We are in the middle of three climate zones, providing our students with a unique location for doing original research.
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Dr. Heather Arnett

Dr. Heather Arnett

Visiting Assistant Professor of Ecology/ School of Biodiversity Conservation

Dr. Heather Arnett - Visiting Assistant Professor of Ecology at Unity College
Phone: 207-509-7249
Email: harnett@unity.edu
Office: Founders Hall South

Dr. Heather Arnett, Visiting Assistant Professor of Ecology, comes to us from the University of Maine where she served as an Instructor of Biology. Dr. Arnett holds a Ph.D. and M.S in Ecology and Environmental Ecology from the University of Maine, and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Dr. Arnett has 5 years of combined lecture and laboratory teaching experience at the college level specializing in Introductory Biology, Vertebrate Biology and Anatomy and Physiology. Additionally, Dr. Arnett has a number of peer reviewed publications, conference presentations and grants and awards. Dr. Arnett’s current research focuses on eco-evolutionary dynamics and phenotypic plasticity of invasive fish. Dr. Arnett will be teaching Biology: Diversity of Life, Entomology and Ecology of Freshwater Fish classes this fall.

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Unity College's unique location makes environmental experiential learning easy and is a great jumping off point for outdoor activities. We are in the middle of three climate zones, providing our students with a unique location for doing original research.
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Dr. Aimee Phillippi

Dr. Aimee Phillippi

Professor of Biology/ School of Biodiversity Conservation

Aimee Phillippi - Professor of Biology at Unity College
Phone: 207-509-7192
Email: aphillippi@unity.edu
Office: Thomashow Learning Laboratories

Faculty site: https://sites.google.com/a/unity.edu/phillippiuc/

Academic Background

PhD, Marine Biology, University of Maine
MS, Marine Biology, University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth)
BA, Marine Biology, Troy State University

Having grown up in the Appalachian mountains of Pennsylvania and Virginia, I became interested in how life functions in the ocean. While in college in Alabama, I knew I wanted to work with marine invertebrates and their unparalleled diversity. My MS work in Massachusetts with fouling communities allowed me to gain experience with a wide range of invertebrates and I became extremely interested in ascidians and their reproductive strategies. So I came to Maine to work on this at the Darling Marine Center for my PhD.

My research interests are broad because there is so much about biology that is fascinating. Although my degrees are all in marine biology, I really consider myself to be an evolutionary ecologist who happens to work mostly in marine systems. I am really interested in sex. The diverse strategies species use to pass on their genes is amazing. Species have evolved advanced ways of maximizing their product for the amount of energy invested. Our economic systems could benefit from studying what these species have already mastered. I am also interested in conservation biology and learning how humans can use resources responsibly, while maintaining ecosystem function.

I primarily teach first-year biology and an upper level genetics course, and really enjoy the range of these courses. Teaching a broad first-year course allows you to explore new topics and strategies, trying to inspire students. Teaching a focused, intense, upper-division course means learning something in great depth and concentration. And of course, having a student in their first semester in college and again in their last brings a sense of satisfaction in seeing their development as a scientist and scholar.

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Marine Biology students are presently working with Emma Perry on important tardigrade research.
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Dr. Emma Perry

Dr. Emma Perry

Professor of Marine Biology/ School of Biodiversity Conservation

Dr. Emma Perry - Professor of Marine Biology at Unity College
Phone: 207-509-7212
Email: eperry@unity.edu
Office: Koons Hall

Faculty Site: https://sites.google.com/a/unity.edu/ecreaser/

Academic Background

B Sc, Zoology, University of Exeter, Great Britain
Ph D, Biology, University of South Florida

Perry completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at Exeter University, Britain, where she was born and raised. For her senior thesis, she studied habitat preference by the burrowing brittle star Acrocnida brachiata. After graduation, she moved to Tampa, Florida to do a Ph.D. on echinoderms with Dr. J. Lawrence and Dr. L. Robbins. She became interested in the process by which echinoderms, especially sand dollars, constructed their intricate three-dimensional skeletons. Since then, she has become more generally interested in the biology and systematics of lesser known marine invertebrates. At Unity College, Perry has been researching tardigrades with student participation.

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Students from professor Lori Perez's Introduction to Conservation Law spend the day on The Maine State Marine Patrol boat "The Guardian" with patrolman Matt Wyman, a Unity College graduate.
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Lori Perez

Lori Perez

Assistant Professor of Conservation Law Enforcement/ School of Biodiversity Conservation

Lori Perez - Assistant Professor of Conservation Law Enforcement at Unity College
Phone: 207-509-7211
Email: lperez@unity.edu
Office: Founders Hall South

Perez served as a Federal Wildlife Officer with US Fish and Wildlife Service in Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Maine.  As an officer, Perez was a member of the Special Operations Response Team which included advanced training, specialized details and responding to natural disasters. Perez was also an Investigator for the Waldo District Attorneys Office during which time she assisted with prosecution of state and local cases, as well as served on the Sexual Assault Response Team.

Education/Certifications

BS, Westfield State College
MS, Central Connecticut State University
Level I Federal Law Enforcement Commission
Level II Federal Law Enforcement Commission
Maine Law Enforcement Certification

Courses Taught at Unity

CL1013 & CL1013L Introduction to Conservation Law Enforcement
CL2113 Wildlife Law Enforcement
CL 2323 Community Relations and Ethics
CL2891 Use of Force
CL3224 & CL3224L Crime Scene Investigations Techniques
CL4503 & CL4503L Conservation Law Enforcement Capstone

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Dr. John "Jack" Hopkins

Dr. John "Jack" Hopkins

Assistant Professor of Wildlife Biology/ School of Biodiversity Conservation

Dr. John "Jack" Hopkins, Assistant Professor of Wildlife Biology at Unity College
Phone: 207-509-7139
Email: jhopkins@unity.edu
Office: Koons Hall

http://jackhopkinswildlife.com/

Academic Background

Dr. Hopkins is an Assistant Professor of Wildlife Biology in the School of Biodiversity Conservation at Unity College. He also maintains research positions in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at University of California Santa Cruz and the Forestry Department at University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. He earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies, concentrating in Wildlife Biology, at Denison University and a Ph.D. in Fish and Wildlife Biology at Montana State University. While in graduate school, Hopkins studied the ecology and foraging behavior of black bears in Yosemite National Park with his mentors Drs. Steven Kalinowski (Montana State), Paul Koch (UC Santa Cruz), and Chuck Schwartz (USGS). Prior to graduate school, Hopkins worked as a field biologist for the U.S. Forest Service in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the US Geological Survey in Glacier National Park, and National Park Service in both the US Virgin Islands, and more recently, Yosemite. Before joining Unity College, he held Postdoctoral Fellowships at University of Alberta, Peking University in China, University of California San Diego, and University of California Merced.

Research

Dr. Hopkins is broadly interested in wildlife ecology, conservation, and management. He is particularly interested in using stable isotopes to study food webs, ecological niches, and causes and consequences of individual diet variation and specialization. He has primarily conducted field-based studies that use a variety of sampling methods and quantitative approaches to investigate the effects of environmental impacts on species interactions, wildlife-habitat relationships, and the foraging behavior of free-ranging mammalian carnivores. Please visit his website to read more about his research.

Hopkins uses stable isotopes from plant and animal tissues to investigate the trophic structure of food webs, the realized niches of populations, and the diets of individuals. He is active in advancing the use of stable isotope analysis in wildlife studies. For instance, he co-developed a stable isotope mixture modeling framework (IsotopeR) used to estimate the diets of animals. He and many others have used such models to investigate the foraging behavior of a variety of species from Threatened grizzly bears to invasive rats.

Although Hopkins uses a wide variety of traditional methods to study wildlife, including live-capture and radio-telemetry, he typically relies on noninvasive sampling methods to conduct his studies because they do not require handling the target animals and often yield relatively large samples that can be used for genetic and isotopic analyses. Hopkins often samples free-ranging mammal populations by collecting their hair. He uses microsatellite genotypes derived from hair follicles to estimate the occupancy or abundance of populations and to identify individuals and their relatives. He also uses stable isotopes from tissues catalogued in museums to gain a deeper temporal perspective about the diets of animals and the environment in which they lived.

Hopkins’ research is often collaborative, multidisciplinary, and innovative. For over 15 years, he has worked with a variety of partners from all over the world, including students and faculty, federal and state/provincial agencies, NGOs, and other interest groups. Much of his research has been funded by resource management agencies and conducted on public lands that are influenced by people or are undergoing other forms of environmental change. As a result, informing wildlife conservation, management, and policy is often a main goal of his research.

Teaching & Mentorship

Dr. Hopkins often frames lectures around questions, uses guided inquiry and Socratic questioning in small classrooms, and provides hands-on learning exercises in the lab and field. He teaches a variety of classes related to wildlife ecology, conservation, and management. At Unity, Hopkins has taught Wildlife Techniques, North American Wildlife (lab), and a seminar in Carnivore Research & Management. He will also be offering off-campus field courses and incorporates his research into undergraduate learning.

Hopkins is also active in mentoring graduate students at other institutions and undergraduate students aiming for field-based internships and abroad programs, graduate school, and careers in wildlife research and management. His motivation as a mentor is to see his students succeed in reaching their academic, professional, and personal goals. He will do all he can to help students find their way and stay on track.

Selected Publications

Hopkins, J.B. III, & C.M. Kurle. Measuring the realized niches of animals using stable isotopes: from rats to bears. 2015. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 7:210–221.

Hopkins, J.B. III, P.L. Koch, J.M. Ferguson, & S.T. Kalinowski. The changing anthropogenic diets of American black bears over the past century in Yosemite National Park. 2014. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12:107–114.

Hopkins, J.B. III. 2013. Use of genetics to investigate socially learned foraging behavior in free- ranging American black bears. Journal of Mammalogy 94:1214–1222.

Hopkins, J.B. III, P.L. Koch, C.C. Schwartz, J.M. Ferguson, S.S. Greenleaf, & S.T. Kalinowski. 2012. Stable isotopes to detect food-conditioned bears and evaluate human-bear management. Journal of Wildlife Management 76:703–713.

Hopkins, J.B. III, & J.M. Ferguson. Estimating the diets of animals using stable isotopes and a comprehensive Bayesian mixing model. 2012. PLoS ONE 7: e28478.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028478

Go to Google scholar or his website for a full list of publications and related media.

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Todd Hand

Todd Hand

Assistant Professor of Conservation Law Enforcement/ School of Biodiversity Conservation

Phone: 207-509-7183
Email: thand@unity.edu
Office: Founders Hall South

Mr. Todd Hand is a veteran of 34 years of law enforcement, serving with state, county, and city, both in Pennsylvania and Florida.  He has spent 24 years in supervisory positions, 15 of which have been in criminal investigations. In 2016, he retired as a Captain from the State of Florida, with 28 years of law enforcement service. Mr. Hand is married and has two daughters.  He resides in Sarasota, Florida and in Camden, Maine.

His experience is evenly split between conventional and resource law enforcement.  Positions held consist of field training officer, crimes against person’s detective, senior investigator of the police review board, uniform patrol sergeant, special agent for environmental investigations, patrol supervisor of state police, supervisor of environmental investigations and supervisor of covert investigations and death investigations. He is a member of the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society.

Todd Hand has instructed at the Florida State Police Academy for several years, teaching defensive tactics, firearms instruction, violent crime, property crime, human trafficking, and various related subjects. He has also instructed senior level undergraduate courses at Saint Leo University regarding Cold Case Homicide investigations.

Education/Certifications

BS, Criminology, The Pennsylvania State University
MS, Criminology-Forensic Psychology, Saint Leo University
Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Senior Leadership Program

Courses Taught at Unity

AS4403 Public Service and Supervision
CL1013 & CL1013L Introduction to Conservation Law Enforcement
CL 2323 Community Relations and Ethics
CL4503 & CL4503L Conservation Law Enforcement Capstone
SY2013 Criminology

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Unity College's unique location makes environmental experiential learning easy and is a great jumping off point for outdoor activities. We are in the middle of three climate zones, providing our students with a unique location for doing original research.
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