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Mark Johnson, Ph.D.


Mark Johnson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

johnsonm_profilepage.jpgDr. Mark Johnson is on a mission.  His aim is to help students resurrect their child-like curiosity.  "I want to vaccinate students against educational bulimia.  Rather than regurgitate information back to me, I want students to truly understand concepts and be excited by them."

Much of Dr. Johnson's perspective is based within the concept of "whole systems study." Dr. Johnson contends, "Everything is related to everything else. Microbiology, the environment, health care, people-it's all part of the same system."  Dr. Johnson proves this point through research, experimentation, and classroom teaching.   Among his latest research projects is a joint venture with his students. Dr. Johnson continues, "We examined the Connecticut River in Spring 2004 and found a bacterium that was resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin.  This is a bit scary since this is an antibiotic that is held in reserve by medical doctors to treat bacterial infections that are resistant to other drugs." The repercussions of bacteria having acquired resistance to vancomycin, being capable of surviving in the wild, according to Dr. Johnson, "could be devastating to the health care industry and to people in general."   As a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Dr. Johnson advocates for legislation that would prohibit agricultural suppliers from selling antibiotics to farmers for use as "growth promoters," since this is one of the ways that drug resistant bacteria are created; a case of ecological irresponsibility generating major medical problems.

Dr. Johnson was also selected by the National Science Foundation to be part of an Antarctic study and research program. Chosen out of hundreds of people, Dr. Johnson was in Antarctica for six weeks studying the ecology of organisms that live in the coldest continent on earth.  He describes the experience as "extremely transformative."

Academic Degrees

Ph.D., Biology. University of Alabama
B.A., Whole Systems Studies. Fairhaven College, Western Washington University 

contact information

Phone: 860.231.5520
E-mail: mdjohnson@usj.edu 
Web Page: mdjohnson 
Department Web Page: Biology 

recent research/publications/presentations 

Stanley, Emily H., Johnson, Mark D., Ward, Amelia K., "Evaluating the Influence of Macrophytes on Algal and Bacterial Production in Multiple Habitats of a Freshwater Wetland," Limnology and Oceanography, 48(3): 1101-1111 JOURNAL ARTICLE, 2003.

Johnson, M.D., "Life at the Edge: Musings on Biology and Border Theory," Maine Scholar: A Journal of Ideas and Public Affairs , 15:51-58 JOURNAL ARTICLE, 2003.

Johnson, M.D., "Apple Dreams," Maine Scholar: A Journal of Ideas and Public Affairs , 14:199  POEM, 2001.

Johnson, M.D., and Ward, A.K., "Influence of Phagotrophic Protist Bacterivory in Determining the fate of Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) in a Wetland Microbial Food Web," Microbial Ecology, 33:149-162 JOURNAL ARTICLE, 1997.

Johnson, M.D., Olson, A.M., and Weston, R., "Environmental Learning Community Laboratory Manual," University of New England , MANUAL, 1996.

Ward, A. K. and Johnson, M. D., "Heterotrophic Microorganisms," in Stream Ecology - Field and Laboratory Exercises, F. R. Hauer and G. A. Lamberti, eds. BOOK CHAPTER, 1996.

Johnson, M.D., "Ecosystem Dynamics of Protists and Bacteria in a Lotic Wetland Ecosystem," Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama, DISSERTATION, 1995.

Johnson, M.D., "Analysis of Groundwater Extraction System (ANAD) Samples," USGS project on Army Superfund site in Anniston, Alabama, PROJECT REPORT, 1994.

Johnson, M.D. and Ward, A. K., "A Comparison of INT-formazan Methods for Determining Bacterial Activity in Stream Ecosystems," Journal of the North American Benthological Society, 12(2):168-173 JOURNAL ARTICLE, 1993.

Abstracts & Presentations

Fitzgerald, J. and Johnson, M.D., "Ciliate Losses from Lugol's Iodine Preservation," 12th East Coast Conference on Protozoology, Virginia Commonwealth University.  Richmond, Virginia, June 2005.

Johnson, M.D., "Life in the Ice," Colloquia Speaker Series, University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, Connecticut, November 2002.

Johnson, M.D., "A Comparison of Microbial Ecosystem Dynamics in an Alder Thicket Wetland and a Mixed Hardwood / Conifer Forest Stream," Society of Wetland Scientists Conference, College of the Holy Cross, Worchester, Massachusetts, October 2001.

Johnson M.D., "Antarctica Untouched," Earth-Week Presentation, University of New England, Biddeford, Maine, 2001.

Johnson M.D. and Morgan, P., "Nature as Teacher," Faculty Development Seminar, University of New England, 2000.

Johnson M.D., "Visual Presentation of Quantitative Information," Faculty Development Seminar, University of New England, 2000.

Johnson, M.D., "Life in the Mud," University Seminar Series, University of New England, 2000.

Johnson, M.D. and Walker, G., "Antarctic Microbial Habitats," 8th East Coast Conference on Protista, Hofstra University, 1999.

Johnson, M.D., "Microbial Split Personality: Studies of A Mixotrophic Ciliate," 24th Annual Maine Biological and Medical Sciences Symposium, University of New England, 1998.

Johnson, M.D. and Ward, A.K., "Microbial Dynamics in the Sediments of a Shallow Wetland Pond with Comparisons to the Planktonic System," North American Benthological Society meeting, Charlotteville, Prince Edward Island, 1998.

Johnson, M.D. and Ward, A.K., "Autecology and Synecology of a Mixotrophic Ciliate.,"7th East Coast Conference on Protista, Univeristy of Rhode Island, 1997.

Nelson, J. and Johnson, M.D., "Evaluation of the Utility and Accuracy of the Quantitative Protargol Stain in Analysis of Salt Marsh Pan Ciliate Communities," 7th East Coast Conference on Protista, University of Rhode Island, 1997.

Stanley, E.H., Johnson, M.D., Ward, A.K. and Evces, S.M., "Algal and Bacterial Production in an Alabama Wetland," North American Benthological Society meeting, Bozeman, Montana, 1996.

Johnson, M.D., and Ward, A.K., "Effects of Light on the Behavior of the Mixotroph, Ophrydium Versatile (O.F.M.), (Ciliophora: Peritrichida) Society of Protozoologists meeting, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 1995.

Johnson, M.D., and Ward, A.K., "Fate of Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) Within a Wetland Microbial Food Web," North American Benthological Society meeting, Keystone, Colorado, 1995.

Johnson, M.D. and Ward, A. K., "Seasonal Protist Dynamics in a Longitudinal Transect of a Lotic Wetland," North American Benthological Society meeting, Orlando, Florida, 1994.

Johnson, M.D. and Ward, A. K., "Mixotrophic Ciliates in a Wetland Ecosystem," North American Benthological Society meeting, Calgary, Canada, 1993.

Johnson, M.D. and Ward, A. K., "Bacterial/Protist Interactions in a Lotic Wetland Ecosystem," American Society of Limnology and Oceanography meeting, Edmonton, Canada, 1993.

Johnson, M.D. and Ward, A. K., "The Effect of Habitat on Relative Activity of Bacteria in Stream Ecosystems," North American Benthological Society meeting, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1991.

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

NSF grant (# 0116398), A Networked Scanning Probe Microscope for Research Training, $210,900 est. 2001-2003.

University of New England Research Committee Grant to provide stipend for student participation in study of cold adaptation in protests, ($2,000), 2001-2002.

NSF grant (9952305), Improving Biology Education for Non-science Majors: Environmental Change and Carbon Dynamics as the Focus of Inquiry-based Laboratories, $54,708, 2000-2003.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Antarctic Program Fellowship, 1998-1999.

York River Project Grant, an experimental service learning class, 1996-1997.

Naval Research Grant and Bernard Davis Scholarship, Woods Hole, Marine Biological Laboratory, Massachusetts, 1991.

Five Graduate Council and Graduate Council Research Fellowships, UA., 1990-1995.

Joab Thomas Scholarship, UA, 1994.

Three William Inge & Ilouise Hill Scholarships, UA, 1991-1992-1993.

Harvey Gelder Scholarship for "outstanding performance in math or science," Fairhaven College, WWU, 1989.