Lisa J Delissio

Lisa J Delissio

Professional Details

Title: Professor
Office: MH-247
Phone: 978-542-6532

Spring Courses

Cat. # Term Course # Title
2604 01 BIO300 Botany
2605 L21 BIO300 Botany
4045 10 BIO407 Directed Study in Biology
4133 13 BIO408N Research in Biology

Professional Biography

Dr. Delissio received her B.S. in Biology from Tufts University where she was first introduced to tropical ecology.  She then worked as a laboratory technician at M.I.T. where the C. elegans DNA she sequenced contributed to Nobel Prize-winning work on programmed cell death. She went on to complete her Ph.D. in Biology at Boston University where she studied tropical forest ecology in Malaysian Borneo with Richard Primack, one of the world's leading Conservation Biologists.  Her current research interests include climate change, tropical forests, small island ecology, and science education. She is the author of a blog on the use of the arts to teach STEM disciplnes:

Professional Interests

Scientific research interests:

The impacts of climate change and development on the wild plants and tropical dry forest in Culebra, Puerto Rico. Current project: creation of an herbarium reference collection of the plants of Culebra, and an associated field guide.

* Global climate change

* Tropical forest ecology

* Tree demography


Pedagogical interests:


* Principal Investigator for National Science Foundation Math and Science Partnership START Grant: Atlantic Partnership for the Biological Sciences: a Partnership for Effective Lab- and Field-based Science:

* Teaching scientific writing to Biology majors


* Providing tropical field experiences for undergraduates


My research students and protege(e)s. Where are they now?

Kathryn Arey - M.S. in Environmental Education, University of New Hampshire

Steven Bentley - Science Teacher in Hanoi, Viet Nam. Master's in Teaching Biology, UMass Boston; previously Forest and Park Supervisor - MA Department of Conservation and Recreation 

Cheryl Bondi - Adjunct Faculty at SUNY Cortland. MS in Biology, Humboldt State University; Ph.D. from SUNY- ESF, worked on red-backed salamanders in VT/NH and examining the effects of soil calcium on their diet

Emily Bradford - Technical document maker and research assistant at US Biological, Marblehead 

Kristina Klausewitz - Medical narrative writer at Crowe Paradis Services Corporation in Peabody

Joseph Mistretta - Instructor with Science by Scientists ( Master's in Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia

Alisha Ramirez - Participating in an OpWall Field Experience

Jennifer Smith-Castro  - Fish and Wildlife Biologist - US Fish and Wildlife Service

Yukari Tabiki - Back in Japan, working toward a career in the conservation of marine species

Veronica Wade - Environmental Specialist at Triumvirate Environmental

Brittney Wager - entering the Molecular Plant Sciences Ph.D. program at WSU ( Will be working with Dr. Michael Knoblauch (

Cortney Wieber - Instructor with Science by Scientists ( Master's in Biology, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia.  Worked at Billabong Sanctuary with cassowaries, kangaroos, wombats, koalas and other native Australian wildlife 

(Are you not listed here but should be? Is your information out of date? Contact me and let me know how you 're doing!)




Courses (Course descriptions available at:

BIO 121 Diversity of Life
BIO 123 Plants and People

BIO 124 Human and Social Biology

BIO 131 Introduction to Organisms
BIO 300 Botany
BIO 301 Conservation Biology
BIO 407 Directed Study in Biology
BIO 408N Research in Biology

Co-chair of the Biology Department Undergraduate Research Abroad Committee
Currently Serving on the All College Committee


Selected Publications

____, Primack, R., Hall, P., and Lee, H.S. 2002. A decade of canopy tree seedling survival and growth in two Borneo rain forests: persistence and recovery from suppression. Journal of Tropical Ecology 18:645-658.

____and Primack, R. 2003. The impact of drought on the population dynamics of canopy tree seedlings in an aseasonal Malaysian rain forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 19: 489-500.

Drobot, S., Porinchu, D.F., Arzayus, K.M., Barber, V.A., ____, Smith, l.M., and Warren ,J. M. 2004. The ‘ideal’ climate change Ph.D.Program in Report from the October 2003 DISCCRS workshop: 15-20.

____ 2008. Analysis of rainfall data from the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico over a period spanning 1907-2007 in light of climate change predictions. A report for U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Boqueron, P.R. October.

Knowlton, C., ____ 2011 (Lead Author); Encyclopedia of Life (ContributingAuthor); Hogan, C. M. (Topic Editor) Cuvier’s Beaked Whales (Ziphius cavirostris): Ecology and Anthropogenic Impacts. Retrieved from <>

____ and Arthur, Calum. 2011 Study shows benefits ofconservation work for students. Biodiversity Science. July. Retrieved July 25,2011

Ramirez, A. (Lead Author),  ______  (Contributing Author) (2012), Hogan, C. M. (Topic Editor) The critically endangered dusky gopher frog, Lithobates sevosus. Retrieved from

Kasprzyk, T. (Lead Author), _____ (Contributing Author) (2012). Ecology of the Black Stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) in a century of industrialization: consequences of indirect human impact. Retrieved from

Student names are in italics.


Selected Presentations

____and Primack, R. 2000. The resilience of tree seedlings in a severe drought at Lambir Hills National Park. Center for Tropical Forest Science Biennial Meeting, Smithsonian Center for Tropical Forest Science and the National Institute of Education, Singapore.

____2003. The population dynamics of tropical rain forest seedlings as indicators of climate change. Dissertation Initiatives for the Advancement of Climate Change Research (DISCCRS). Guanica, Puerto Rico.

____and Klausewitz, K. 2007. Tree phenology in a Caribbean tropical dry forest. Fifth Annual Symposium in Plant Biology. University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

____2008. Confronting climate change in the U.S. Northeast. Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine of Tufts University, Grafton.

____ 2010. The use of studies of plant taxonomy and plant ecology to encourage environmental stewardship in school children. Escuela Ecologica, Culebra, Puerto Rico