LMU Faculty

Kristen Covino, Ph.D., Faculty Affiliate

LMU Biology 

Dr. Kristen Covino is an avian biologist who integrates multiple fields to explain the complex interactions between an individual’s environment and their physiology. Dr. Covino’s research encompasses many scales of inquiry, ranging from avian physiology to continental-scale migratory movements, and seeks to understand the movement biology and whole life cycle biology of migratory birds. Her interest in birds started as an undergraduate when she took ornithology and conducted research while earning her B.Sc. in Biology (2004) from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, where she also grew up. After a year of field work and research, Dr. Covino began her Master’s research at the University of Maine-Orono where she studied migratory decisions of songbirds on stopover. In 2011, Dr. Covino began as a doctoral student in the Migratory Bird Research Group at the University of Southern Mississippi under the direction of Dr. Frank Moore. Her dissertation work investigated breeding development in several inter-continental migrants en route to their breeding grounds and demonstrated that the phenology of physiological breeding development in these species is sex-specific for which she received her Ph.D. in 2016. Dr. Covino conducts research in collaboration with the Appledore Island Migration Station in Maine and with the Shoals Marine Laboratory where she teaches a summer Field Ornithology course. Some of Dr. Covino’s currently research projects include studying the hormone-behavior relationship in breeding Great Black-backed Gulls, using feather hydrogen isotope ratios to model population-level migratory movements in songbirds, and a series of hormone-related questions in various songbird species as part of a collaboration with the Islands High School Scientific Research Program.

Dr. Covino is also interested in addressing issues related to making ornithology and undergraduate research more accessible to women and the LGBT community, as well as promoting undergraduate participation in research. Dr. Covino is the co-chair of the student and young professional committee of the Wilson Ornithological Society and a member of the Early Professional Committee of the American Ornithology Society.

John H. Dorsey, Ph.D., Senior Faculty Fellow

LMU Civil Engineering & Environmental Science

John Dorsey

John Dorsey received his B.S. in Marine Biology (1972) and M.S. in Biology (1975) from California State University, Long Beach, then traveled to Australia where he received his doctorate from the University of Melbourne in Zoology (1982). Presently he is a Professor at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, in the Department of Civil Engineering & Environmental Science where he teaches courses in environmental, atmospheric and marine sciences. Prior to LMU, he worked as a marine biologist for the City of Los Angeles (1983-2002), focusing on marine monitoring in Santa Monica Bay and storm water management. John sits on numerous local and state technical committees dealing with water quality issues and policy, and is past-president of the Southern California Academy of Science where he remains an active member of their Board of Directors and Research Training Program for high school students. His research interests focus on the dynamics of fecal indicator bacteria in coastal waters and wetlands. John's passion for good water quality is natural — he is an avid surfer, so most days he can be found at dawn surfing at El Porto near his home and LMU's campus.

Demian Willette, Ph.D.

LMU Biology 

Demian Willette

Dr. Demian A. Willette is an Instructor in Biology at Loyola Marymount University, an Assistant Project Scientist at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and a current US Fulbright Scholar. He received his Bachelors degree in biology from Iowa State University, Masters degree in biology from California State University Los Angeles, and Ph.D. in Public Health from UCLA. He was a NSF post-doc for 3 years in Southeast Asia, including with the Philippines Bureau of Fisheries, conducting fisheries research. He has published over two dozen peer-reviewed scientific articles in the fields of applied ecology, marine biology, molecular genetics, and biological invasions, and his work has been featured in Time Magazine, Science, the New York Times, among others. He leads an active research group of promising undergraduate and graduate students, and has ongoing collaborations with partners in Israel, Germany, Ecuador, the Caribbean, the Philippines, and across the U.S.

Non-LMU Affiliates

Maria Curley, Education Specialist

Maria Curley

Maria Curley is an education specialist who provides consulting services to support CURes’ education grants. This involves the creation of science curriculum and resources for students at varying grade levels. Maria earned a BA degree in Sociology from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) in 1988. She also earned a Master's degree in Education in 2009 from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. She holds a professional teaching licensure in all subjects for grades 1-6 and a professional teaching licensure in General Science for grades 5-8. Maria also holds a Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement for teaching English Language Learners (ELLs). Maria has taught in all the elementary grades, and seven years in middle school science, reading, and ELA, utilizing SEI instructional strategies with ELLs in her classes.

Isaac Brown


Isaac Brown

Isaac Brown is a nationally recognized ecologist and planner specializing in urban ecosystem services and management. Isaac has integrated these concepts into professional urban design and green infrastructure projects worldwide including the San Francisco Sewer System Improvement Program, the Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority's Sustainability Management Tools, and the Arizona State Land Department's Superstition Vistas growth area, which is envisioned to include up to 1M new residents over the coming century. Isaac is currently coordinating the development of an urban biodiversity strategy for the City of Los Angeles. Isaac holds Master's and Bachelor's Degrees from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, and is a doctoral candidate Environmental Science and Engineering at the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability. His research includes developing urban ecosystem health indicators for Los Angeles that integrate biodiversity, ecosystem services, pollution management, and natural hazards. This is the first attempt to create a comprehensive urban ecosystem framework for L.A.'s built environment, and represents a promising new direction for sustainability of cities worldwide.