Teaching interests and philosophy:
My joint appointment in Biology and Environmental Studies offers me the opportunity to teach classes in my two core interest areas: ecology and environmental science. I teach courses in introductory biology, introductory ecology, freshwater ecology, environmental science, conservation biology, and water resources management.
My goal as a teacher is to provide accurate information in a way that resonates across learning styles and excites students. The qualities that I embrace to be an effective teacher include openness to diversity, strong credibility, good communication and listening skills, and unbounded curiosity. I value the combination of teaching in a formal classroom setting and interacting with students in less-structured environments. Combining formal and informal learning environments allows delivery of scientific concepts and theories that can be observed in situ through lab work, field trips and hands-on exercises. Additionally, learning extends beyond coursework for students involved in on-going research projects in my lab. Students working with me in the field and laboratory gain valuable “hands-on” experience in scientific research.
Another of my goals is to encourage students to become stewards of the environment. I feel that having a connection with nature, and an understanding of its complexities, is a prerequisite for becoming an environmental steward. By providing “eye-opening” hands-on learning experiences, I hope to enhance students’ appreciation for the natural world and to encourage their sense of responsibility for taking care of it.
Freshwater ecosystems are among the most threatened on Earth. My research addresses a pressing need to understand how these ecosystems function in natural and human-altered landscapes. Much of my work specifically focuses on understanding both natural and anthropogenic factors that influence freshwater species’ distributions and community structure. My research addresses questions that span a range of spatial scales and freshwater ecosystem types in order to develop tools for freshwater resource management and conservation. I use geospatial analytical tools like GIS for exploring biogeographic patterns in freshwater species’ distributions and answering questions related to freshwater species movement. I examine ways that humans interrupt biogeographic barriers to species movement, for example stocking non-native gamefish in wilderness areas, and how this affects native freshwater communities. I am particularly interested in understanding the unique macroinvertebrate communities that inhabit naturally fish-free ponds and lakes.
- Ph.D. University of Maine – 2008
- M.S. University of Maine – 2002
- B.A. Colgate University – 1997
Petrin, Z., E.G. Schilling, C.S. Loftin, F. Johansson. 2010. Predators shape distribution and promote diversification of morphological defenses in Leucorrhinia, Odonata. Evolutionary Ecology. 24:1003-1016.
Schilling, E.G., C.S. Loftin, and A.D. Huryn. 2009. Effects of introduced fish on macroinvertebrate communities in historically fishless headwater and kettle lakes. Biological Conservation. 142:3030-3038.
Schilling, E.G., C.S. Loftin, and A.D. Huryn. 2008. Effects of fish introductions on the geographic distribution and native invertebrate fauna of naturally fishless lakes in Maine. A technical summary submitted to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, September 23, 2008. 23pp.
Schilling, E.G., C.S. Loftin, and A.D. Huryn. 2008. Macroinvertebrates as indicators of fish absence in naturally fishless lakes. Freshwater Biology. 54: 181-202.
Schilling, E.G., K.E. DeGoosh, C.S. Loftin, A.D. Huryn, and K.E. Webster. 2008. Predicting the locations of naturally fishless lakes. Freshwater Biology. 53:1021-1035.
Schilling E.G., D.B. Halliwell, A.M. Gullo, and J.K. Markowsky. 2006. First records of Umbra limi (central mudminnow) in Maine. Northeastern Naturalist. 13:287-290.
Fuller, R.F., C. Ribble, A. Kelly, and E. Gaenzle. 1998. Impact of stream grazers on periphyton communities: A laboratory and field manipulation. Journal of Freshwater Ecology. 13:105-114.