Carrie Kissman

Assistant Professor of Biology

B.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ph.D., Michigan State University 

Programs: Biology

As an instructor and mentor, I aim to foster critical thinking, curiosity, and the excitement of learning and experiencing biology and ecology in the classroom, lab and field. In the classroom, I use discussion of ecological and global concerns to help students make direct connections between human activities, biodiversity and environmental change. As part of the lab experience, I engage students in field research to solidify the concepts we learn in the classroom, excite them about the environment, and help them reconnect with nature. Together, the classroom and lab experiences demonstrate the constantly evolving nature of science and provide opportunities for students to collect and analyze ecological data. I teach field and research based courses in Ecology (BIOL 228) and Limnology (BIOL 338), and introductory level General Biology II (BIOL 121) and Biodiversity (BIOL 180). Central themes in my courses include understanding the complex interactions that take place in biological communities, developing an enhanced appreciation for the diversity of life on Earth, and the effect of humans on biological diversity and the environment.    

I provide SNC students with opportunities to participate in hands-on research experiences in the field and lab where they will experience how exciting it is to contribute intellectually to the scientific community, and get “hooked” on studying biology and ecology. My research program is focused on understanding how disturbance (e.g., eutrophication, land use change, invasive species and climate change) affects aquatic ecosystems. Disturbances that occur at one trophic level are likely to affect other levels either directly or indirectly, leading to altered food web dynamics, community composition and function. My focal study organisms include algae, crustacean zooplankton, invasive zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). My research students and I are currently using top-down and bottom-up techniques to reduce algal blooms in Dream Lake and studying the effects of dredging on water quality and species diversity in the lower Fox River.    

Courses
BIOL 121 General Biology II
BIOL 180 Biodiversity
BIOL 228 Ecology
BIOL 338 Limnology