Faculty Profiles


Chris Petersen

Professor of Ichthyology and Marine Ecology

Chris PetersenWhere did you go to school?
1985 Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona.
Dissertation Title: Mating systems in tropical marine fishes: theory and case studies of simultaneous hermaphroditism and paternal care.

1976 B.A. Aquatic Biology and Zoology (with honors). University of California, Santa Barbara

What do you teach?
Currently: Marine Biology; Marine Policy; Biology 1; Biology of Fishes; Probability and Statistics; Evolution; Field Ecology and Data Analysis; Tropical Marine Ecology (hopefully soon); and many tutorials.

Why do you teach at COA?
I enjoy teaching small classes where I can interact with students in a classroom, and also mix in lecture and discussion formats.

How long have you been part of the COA community? What has changed?
20 years. The internet.

What is the most significant challenge the current generation of college students faces?
There are sooo many. Keeping a positive attitude in a world where empathy and thought are not outwardly cherished by many in their country.

Where are your roots?
Blue collar. East LA. Public School. Achieving family and siblings.

What can you say about life on an island in Maine?
Beautiful, isolating, wild.

In which media do you most enjoy working? Why?
Water (under)

Where do you like to do your work?
Palou or some similar tropical island.

Beyond teaching at COA, which projects or passions energize you?
Doing research with colleagues from other universities; getting out of the way so my children can grow up into awesome people.

Which books do you keep on your desk, in your pocket, on your nightstand?
Anne Lamott, Barbara Kingsolver.

If you have a vehicle, does it have bumper stickers? What do they say?
No, I don't like bumper stickers because they allow people to pre-judge you.

What can't you live without?
Family, chocolate.

What brings you joy?
Family, chocolate, and friends. Nature. Learning. Work.

What role should rebellion or revolution play in contemporary societies?
More in our society.

Which rule, theory, assumption most needs dismantling?
That we can't affect the world we live in.