Oceanographer Enriches Bowdoin's Coastal Connections

Story posted August 24, 2009

Collin Roesler
Collin Roesler

A leading expert on optical oceanography, Collin Roesler, has joined the Bowdoin faculty as associate professor of earth and oceanographic science, with tenure, beginning July 1, 2009.

Roesler is the first oceanographer to join the faculty, and further connects Bowdoin's multidisciplinary research and curricula on coastal estuaries, watersheds and the marine environment.

Her fifteen years of teaching and research have included positions at University of Washington; University of Connecticut; Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences; and University of Maine, Darling Marine Center. She was a visiting professor at Bowdoin during the 2003-04 academic year, teaching courses in Environmental Marine Geology, Historical Oceanography, Gulf of Maine Coastal Oceanography, and Arctic and Antarctic Environments.

Roesler earned a B.S. in Geology and Aquatic Biology from Brown University, a M.S. in Physical Oceanography from Oregon State University, and a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Washington.

Her research collaborations span the globe, including an ongoing study with Bowdoin Associate Professor of Geology Ed Laine on harmful algal blooms in the Gulf of Maine. She has published over 60 papers on a wide variety of topics, including several bio-optical studies considered to be key papers in the field.

"Collin is a tremendous collaborator who brings our students wonderful opportunities for new field studies," notes Laine. "She also is an inspiring teacher who is known for encouraging new students—particularly women—to enter the sciences."

Roesler's research has been funded by a host of national organizations, including the National Science Foundation, NASA, NOAA, EPA, Naval Research Laboratory and others.

Among Roesler's recent research concerns is a study with colleagues from Bigelow Laboratory of atypical phytoplankton in the Arabian Sea—a bloom of photosynthetic algae that is increasing in frequency, intensity and distribution. In spring 2010, she will conduct research in India using satellite data on ocean color to help pinpoint its frequency and range and to investigate possible climatic connections. She plans to include Bowdoin students in that research.

"Because we study the whole ocean ecosystem, oceanography is a deeply interdisciplinary field," notes Roesler, who will teach Introduction to Oceanography and Poles Apart: Comparing Arctic and Antarctic Environments during the fall 2009 semester. "I'm very excited about the number of Bowdoin faculty across departments whose research and interests are in the marine environment. There is also an impressive group of earth systems scientists at the College, so I see a lot of potential for overlap in our lab experiences, research and teaching."

"Oceanographers are inherently multidisciplinary in their training and research, however, Collin brings to the College a rare level of expertise in oceanography, physics and geology alike," notes Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd. "She already has a well established research program in Maine and will be an asset to the College's programs in Environmental Studies and Arctic Studies, as well as a natural bridge to research cohorts such as Bigelow Laboratory, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute."

Roesler's addition to the faculty was made possible, in part, through The Bowdoin Campaign, which allowed the College to add eight new faculty members in a variety of disciplines.

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