Penny is responsible for planning, designing and implementing education strategies and programs that ensure BIOS delivers the best possible quality and scope of educational experiences for students. Serving as a senior member of the BIOS management team, Penny collaborates with colleagues throughout BIOS to ensure that the Education Department makes a significant contribution to the Institute’s success. Penny works with international colleges and universities to design and deliver sustainable, state-of-the-art educational programs which offer students unique learning opportunities.

Penny has a Ph.D. in marine ecology from the University of Plymouth, UK and both a M.Sc. and a B.Sc. in marine biology from the University of Victoria, Canada. Penny’s strong background in research includes a Canada Research Chair, numerous peer-reviewed publications, and a successful grant funding record. Combined with experience in university education programs and teaching, Penny has the background to maintain and expand BIOS’s high-calibre university-level education opportunities.

Penny’s diverse research background and interests include:

  • Coastal ecology: marine ecosystem processes, particularly nutrient dynamics
  • Benthic ecology: marine sediment biogeochemistry (particularly sulfides) and faunal communities
  • Marine biodiversity and conservation
  • Ecology, physiology, functional morphology, and molecular phylogenetics and evolution of marine mollusk/bacteria symbioses
  • Ecology, physiology, population genetics and evolution of marine angiosperms

Penny’s initial interactions with BIOS began in 1987 when she started her doctoral dissertation research at BIOS, on chemoautotrophic bacterial-bivalve symbioses found in shallow water seagrass beds in Bermuda. As a Ph.D. student based at BIOS, Penny lectured and led field trips for visiting groups and acted as teaching assistant and lecturer for summer university courses.

After completing her Ph.D., Penny carried out a post-doctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama, prior to becoming a staff scientist. While at STRI, Penny returned to BIOS frequently between 1991 and 2003 to teach summer courses and fall semester programs. In 2013, she returned to BIOS to lead the University Programs. Penny’s scientific expertise combined with an enthusiastic commitment to science education helps BIOS reach its goal of providing contemporary and competitive educational experiences for undergraduate and graduate students.