Midway Atoll Coral Reef Research


People >> Researchers >> Kristin McCully

Kristin McCully

Coordinator of UCSC Broader Impacts Office

Ph.D., U.C. Santa Cruz Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (2006-2013)

E-mail:

B.S. Marine Biology with Specialization in Computing
University of California, Los Angeles, 2006

Curriculum Vitae (link)
Kristin

Research Interests:

Integrating Math into Undergraduate Biology Education:

Both the biology research and education communities suggest that most undergraduate biology curricula do not provide students adequate training in the quantitative skills they need to obtain a deep understanding of biological phenomena and to contribute effectively to future scientific inquiry. Strategies for integrating math into the undergraduate biology curriculum include integrating math into introductory and upper-division biology courses, focusing on biology examples in math courses, and including quantitative skills in undergraduate research.

After reviewing in detail strategies for and barriers to integrating math into undergraduate biology curricula, Kristin investigated the perception of upper-division ecology and marine biology majors of the importance of math in biology, ecology, and conservation biology and whether a short module using evidence-based teaching strategies could increase students' appreciation of the roles of math in biology, increase their interest in taking quantitative courses, and contribute to their learning of a key but challenging mathematical model. Kristin developed and analyzed a computer inquiry module that uses research literature to introduce structured population models and their conservation applications to upper-division ecology courses. She showed that students increased their appreciation of the importance of math in biology, ecology, and conservation; their willingness to take a quantitative ecology course; and their understanding of the applications of structured population models to wildlife management. Many students commented that this module showed them why their biology major programs required math courses and made them feel much more able to interpret math in papers and use math in their own independent research. Materials for this module are available here

Bivalves of Midway Atoll:

Black-lipped pearl oysters, Pinctada margaritifera, were heavily harvested in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the late 1920s. According to NOAA surveys since the 1990s, this population has not recovered naturally in over 80 years. In order to determine this population's status in more detail and study potential strategies for restoration, Kristin surveyed Midway Atoll's shallow benthic habitats for abundance and distribution of large bivalves and measured recruitment, growth, and survival of pearl oysters. Although Kristin and her Midway collaborators found only 13 adult P. margaritifera at Midway in over six years of coral reef research, they studied over 1500 recruits. Because pearl oysters are also extremely difficult to identify morphologically, particularly as juveniles, Kristin also sequenced the nuclear ribosomal marker ITS1 and conducted phylogenetic analysis to determine that the recruits were actually P. maculata, a much smaller species not known to occur in the Hawaiian Islands.

Future Directions:

Kristin is particularly interested in developing innovative teaching strategies and assessments for introductory biology and ecology courses, including developing an ecology concept inventory and further integrating math into biology courses.

Teaching Philosophy:

Kristin uses evidence-based learner-centered teaching strategies, such as active learning and inquiry, to facilitate her students' learning of key concepts and science process skills, such as creating and interpreting graphing, finding and evaluating quality of information, and communicating. She worked with Education professor Dr. Doris Ash to develop a series of reviews for our university's science faculty of innovative teaching strategies for large-enrollment science classes, such as active learning, "clickers," collaborative learning, and just-in-time teaching (available here).

She greatly enjoys mentoring students on independent scientific research projects and making use of technology to facilitate teaching and learning.

Publications:

  • McCully, K.M. (in prep) Protecting populations: From mathematical models to conservation action. Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology.
  • McCully, K.M. and D. Potts. (in prep) Varying geographic and habitat distribution of large bivalves at Midway Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin.
  • McCully, K.M. and D. Ash. (submitted) Modelling populations: using case studies to integrate mathematics into undergraduate ecology courses. CBE Life Sciences Education.
  • McCully, K.M. 2013. Uncharted waters: Bivalves of Midway Atoll and integrating mathematics into biology education [dissertation]. University of California, Santa Cruz. (link to PDF)
  • McCully, K.M., C. Zurbrick, and D. Ash. 2013. Reviews of innovative teaching strategies for large-enrollment science courses. (published online here)
  • Vroom, P., J. Asher, C.L. Braun, E. Coccagna, O.J. Vetter, W.A. Cover, K.M. McCully, D.C. Potts, A.M. Vanderlip, and C. Vanderlip.  2009.  Macroalgal (Boodlea composita) bloom at Kure and Midway Atolls, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Botanica Marina 52(4):361-363. (Link to journal)

Presentations:

  • McCully, K.M. 2013. Uncharted waters: Bivalves of Midway Atoll and integrating mathematics into biology education. Dissertation seminar, University of California, Santa Cruz. (Link to video)
  • McCully, K.M. and D. Ash. 2013. Protecting populations: Emphasizing the importance of mathematical modeling in undergraduate ecology. Presentation at Society for Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER), St. Paul, MN. (Poster)
  • McCully, K.M. and D. Ash. 2013. Protecting populations: Emphasizing the importance of mathematical modeling in undergraduate ecology. Presentation at Life Discovery Conference, St. Paul, MN. (Presentation)
  • McCully, K.M. 2013. Inspiring connections to the environment: Kelp forest-based ecology and the human dive response. Share fair roundtable at Life Discovery Conference, St. Paul, MN.
  • McCully, K.M. 2012.  Pearl Oysters (Pinctada) of Midway Atoll (NW Hawaiian Archipelago).  Presentation at Hawaii Conservation Conference, Honolulu, HI. (Abstract, Presentation)
  • Potts, D.C., K.M. McCully*, W.A. Cover, A.B. Warner. 2012. A Multidisciplinary Approach to Restoration and Sustainability of Midway Atoll's Shallow Reef Habitats. Presentation at Hawaii Conservation Conference, Honolulu, HI. (Abstract, Presentation)
  • McCully, K.M., D.C. Potts 2012. Pearl Oysters (Pinctada) of Midway Atoll (NW Hawaiian Archipelago).  Oral presentation, 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, Cairns, Australia. (Abstract, Presentation)
  • McCully, K.M. 2011. Population dynamics and restoration of the black-lipped pearl oyster, Pinctada margaritifera, in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Presentation at UCSC Departmental Symposium.
  • McCully, K.M. Population and community dynamics of the black-lipped pearl oyster, Pinctada margaritifera, at Midway Atoll.  Presentation at Species Interaction Workshop, Stanford, CA.  December 2009.
  • McCully, K.M. and Potts D.C. Status and Dynamics of the Black-lipped Pearl Oyster, Pinctada margaritifera at Midway Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Presentation at Western Society of Naturalists conference, Monterey, CA. November 2009. (Abstract, Presentation)
  • McCully, K.M. and K.M. Schoenrock.  2009.  Midway Atoll Coral Reef Research Project: Projects and Coral and Urchin Identification.  Presentation to Papahānaumokuākea 'Ahahui Alaka'i (PAA) educators' workshop at Midway Atoll. 15 June 2009.  (Presentation)
  • McCully, K.M. and D.C. Potts. 2008. Distribution and recruitment of the black-lipped pearl oyster, Pinctada margaritifera, at Midway Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Poster presentation in Ecological Restoration mini-symposium, 11th International Coral Reef Symposium. (AbstractPoster)
  • Potts, D.C., W. Cover, K. McCully, and J. O'Leary. 2008 An integrative interdisciplinary research program on environmental change at Midway Atoll (NW Hawaiian Islands). Poster presentation in "Modeling Concepts and Processes on Coral Reefs" mini-symposium, 11th International Coral Reef Symposium. (Abstract)



Contact MidwayCoralReef@gmail.com with questions/problems related to this page

 Logos for UCSC, Mitsubishi Corporation's Global Coral Reef Conservation Project, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service