Mary Jane Perry ~ Pioneering Collaborator

Dr. Mary Jane Perry is a researcher at the University of Maine's Darling Marine Center. Her interests focus on phytoplankton primary production and physiology, with an emphasis on the use of advanced biological optics, ocean observing technologies, and remote sensing.

As a Principal Investigator for the North Atlantic Bloom (NAB) Experiment, Mary Jane worked with a team of interdisciplinary scientists to investigate the mechanisms of the spring bloom phenomenon in the North Atlantic. Through a series of cruises and the use of new platforms such as drifters, gliders and floats, the NAB team was able to discern a new element of complexity in processes initiating the bloom. These findings, recently published in Science, included the discovery that the spring bloom can be more dependent on the stratification of near-surface water by eddies than by springtime warming alone. Were it not for the cooperation of the scientific team and the coordination of multiple platforms and sensors, such a discovery would not have been possible.

With a desire to share the findings of such a unique research effort on her mind, Mary Jane collaborated with COSEE-Ocean Systems (COSEE-OS) to create a five-part, concept map-based webinar series to enlighten educators about the complexities of ocean seasons. The North Atlantic Bloom webinar series featured seven scientists from the NAB Experiment, and illustrated many major concepts in oceanography - including the challenge of studying systems at multiple scales. Together, the webinar series and related activities allowed the scientists to share their stories with a far broader audience than would have been possible without collaboration.

Mary Jane also teaches several courses at the University of Maine, and works with students in the School of Marine Sciences as they develop the vital skills needed to become oceanographers. In working with COSEE-OS, Mary Jane utilizes the pedagogical technique of concept mapping with some of her courses to get a sense of her students' understanding of new material.

Photographs and images for Mary Jane's pages courtesy of Mary Jane Perry, Eric Rehm, Dane Wojcicki, and COSEE-Ocean Systems.