Dr. David Potter
Professor of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences/ Center for Biodiversity
PhD Zoology, University of Montana, Missoula MT
MA Zoology, University of Montana, Missoula MT
BS Biology, Union College, Schenectady NY
David Potter's career includes graduate study of the zooplankton community in Flathead Lake in western Montana, description of primary productivity in alkaline prairie lakes east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and teaching at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and Unity College. His research interests include examination of introductions of exotic species especially the Mysis that significantly altered zooplankton and fish communities in Flathead Lake and the reintroduction of alewives to eutrophic Unity Pond in Central Maine.
David teaches in the biodiversity and the natural resource management and protection centers at Unity College. His primary responsibilities are in introductory biology, fisheries, and aquatic biology. The Unity College curriculum provides a balance of theory, conceptual study, and practical application. To support delivery of courses Dave introduces a complement of local, regional, and national citizen science projects. Projects for introductory students include BirdSleuth through e-Bird at Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and local projects with vernal pool amphibians and tallies of spring bird migration phenology. Advanced science students pursue water quality monitoring in a eutrophic lake fed by perennial streams in a drainage characterized by logging and dairy farms, collection of voucher specimens for the Maine Damselfly and Dragonfly Survey (MDDS), and field sampling for state resource management agencies. The local lake association and a regional land trust serve as community partners for student service learning projects related to nuisance algal blooms, nutrient dynamics, fish introductions, and public outreach.
Dave facilitates the student initiated White Sucker Project through ichthyology and fisheries techniques classes. The white sucker, Catostomus commersoni, often thought to compete for food with game fish, is commercially fished in Maine for use as bait by lobster fishers. Commercial exploitation of spawning suckers satisfies concerns that suckers compete with sportfish, but ignores the value of larval and juvenile suckers as food resources for the same sportfish. Unity College students participate in a project to determine sucker population size, age and growth, migration distance, age at spawning, and fecundity. The project supports study of sucker diseases and parasites, food habits, physiology, and behavior. Fish are tagged with individually numbered tags or by fin clip at spawning and nursery sites or in the lake where most fish mature. Preliminary results indicate suckers spawn repeatedly but on alternate years from age 9-20.