northeastern university seal


The Three Seas program recruits high-caliber faculty who direct active research programs. Our average faculty member has over 10 years of teaching experience with our program. Five of our current faculty members are former Three Seas students who have completed a PhD and returned to teach in our program on a part-time basis in their area of expertise. Many current and former faculty members actively recruit Three Seas alumni as graduate students and research technicians, as they know our students have acquired a diverse skill set needed to succeed in these positions.


Dr. Tara Duffy
Faculty Head, Three Seas Program
Assistant Teaching Professor, Northeastern University

Dr. Duffy is a Lecturer in the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences at Northeastern University. Her research is focused on how animals respond to selection pressures, both natural and human-derived. She also has strong interests in all things aquaculture, having raised animals ranging from blue crabs to Atlantic sturgeon. An instructor of courses in marine sciences, zoology, evolution, and marine pollution, she has a passion for teaching students how to effectively communicate science. Dr. Duffy is the instructor of the ZooBots course at the Marine Science Center in Nahant, MA, and feels lucky to now lead Three Seas as Faculty Head.


Dr. Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley
Assistant Scientist, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

Dr. Goodbody-Gringley leads the Reef Ecology and Evolution Laboratory at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, combining large-scale in situ ecological surveys, small-scale laboratory experiments, and molecular ecology to answer questions related to the health, evolution, and resilience of reefs ranging from the shallow reef the mesophotic zone. Some of her current research projects include assessing biodiversity and ecosystem function on mesophotic reefs, ecological impacts of the invasive lionfish, and reproductive ecology of scleractinian corals across a depth gradient. In 2001/2002 she participated in the Three Seas Program and subsequently worked as a Research Technician for Dr. Kenneth Sebens at the University of Maryland studying temperate subtidal benthic communities in New England. Dr. Goodbody-Gringley teaches the Biology of Corals course in the Panama portion of the program.

BrianHelmuthDr. Brian Helmuth
Professor, Northeastern University

Dr. Helmuth is a Professor in the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences at Northeastern University, where he also holds a joint appointment in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.  His research and teaching focus on the impacts of climate change on coastal ecosystems, and he and his students use a combination of techniques ranging from mathematical modeling to field research.  Work in the Helmuth Lab also explores new ways to communicate scientific information to diverse stakeholders, including K-12 students, and his group is actively designing a series of educational games and virtual reality tours.  He has taught the Ocean and Coastal Processes course for Three Seas in Jamaica, Moorea, and now Panama.

DKimbroDr. David Kimbro
Assistant Professor, Northeastern University

Dr. Kimbro is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences at Northeastern University. His research interests include a broad range of issues in population dynamics, community ecology, invasion biology, ecosystem science, and coastal oceanography. In 2014, he joined the Three Seas faculty team to teach Experimental Design in Marine Ecology.

Dr. Mark Patterson living in the Aquarius Habitat.Dr. Mark Patterson
Professor, Northeastern University

Dr. Patterson is a Professor in the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences at Northeastern University. He also holds a joint appointment in Civil and Environmental Engineering and is the Associate Director of the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern. An expert in marine robotics and environmental fluid mechanics, current research in his lab addresses how to measure microplastics in the ocean, managing tide gates in wetlands, and applying network science to coral reefs. His favorite research experience is living underwater; so far he has spent 89 days living in underwater laboratories like Aquarius (see left). Dr. Patterson has taught in the program since its inception.


Dr. Sean Place
Assistant Professor, Sonoma State University

Dr. Place is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Sonoma State University. Research projects in the Place lab are grounded in the field of molecular and ecological physiology of marine organisms. Research questions specifically address the mechanistic underpinnings of the physiological response of marine organisms that inhabit near shore environments. His lab is currently focusing on the genomic response of marine invertebrates to environmental perturbations and seasonal changes in habitat temperature, oxygen levels, and environmental pH. Dr. Place is one of the co-instructors for the Physiological Marine Molecular Ecology (PMME) section of the program at Friday Harbor.

Dad Feb 2015 (2)William Precht
Director of Marine & Coastal Programs, Dial Cordy and Associates

Bill is the Director of Marine & Coastal Programs at Dial Cordy and Associates. He is considered an expert in the fields of environmental resource management,marine and estuarine research, coastal and ocean policy, mitigation planning, public outreach, marine and freshwater habitat restoration, and environmental regulation. He has been involved in scientific support for oil spill and ship grounding response, as well as Natural Resource Damage Assessments (NRDA), restoration scaling, planning, and implementation. A fixture since Three Seas (formerly East-West) began, Bill teaches Coral Reef Ecology in the Panama portion of the program.


Dr. Justin Ries
Associate Professor, Northeastern University

Dr. Ries is an Associate Professor in the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences at Northeastern University. The focus of his research is oceanic change, which he investigates over broad temporal scales. Dr. Ries teams up with Dr. Mark Patterson to teach the Oceanography course for Three Seas students in the Nahant portion of the program.



Dr. Jameal Samhouri
Research Fisheries Biologist, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Dr. Samhouri is a marine and conservation biologist based at the Conservation Biology division of NOAA Fisheries Service in Seattle, Washington. Through field experiments, quantitative analysis, and the development of mathematical models, his research focuses on how people’s activities influence marine ecosystems, and how changes in marine ecosystems affect people. Jameal’s specific research areas of interest include ecosystem-based reference points, vulnerability of fish and fishermen to climate change, effects of coastal activities on seagrass community dynamics, and theory for ecosystem restoration and recovery. Most of his work now centers on the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem, including Puget Sound, but he also continues to work in several places throughout the Caribbean studying coral reefs. Dr. Samhouri joined Three Seas in 2013 to co-teach the Biology & Ecology of Fishes course.

KelseySchultzKelsey Schultz
Lab Technician, Grabowski Lab, Northeastern University

Kelsey recently graduated with an MS in Marine Biology from Three Seas and has been involved with the program ever since. Kelsey served as the Diving Research Methods teaching assistant for 3 consecutive semesters before transitioning to co-instructor alongside Jessica Burke.



Dr. Lauren Toth
Research Oceanographer, U.S. Geological Survey

Dr. Toth is a Research Oceanographer at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Coastal and Marine Science Center in St. Petersburg, FL. Toth’s research uses coral-reef geology and paleoecology to better understand how reefs respond to climatic and oceanographic perturbations over a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Her current research is focused on developing reconstructions of past ecosystems and environments using coral-reef cores from Pacific Panama and the Florida Keys. Dr. Toth joined the Three Seas faculty in 2015 to teach the Coral Reef Ecology course in Pacific Panama.


W. Breck Tyler, MS
Associate Marine Specialist, University of California at Santa Cruz

Breck is an ecologist with the Institute of Marine Sciences (UC Santa Cruz) and the Friday Harbor Labs (University of Washington) with 40 years of experience studying the behavioral ecology and conservation of seabirds and marine mammals in the Pacific. His research includes long-term environmental monitoring of coastal and pelagic habitats and populations.  He oversees a program to prevent and assess injury to marine birds and mammals during oil spills. Breck has taught Marine Birds and Mammals for the Three Seas program since 1994.

Dr. Mackenzie Zippay
Assistant Professor, Sonoma State University

Dr. Zippay is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Sonoma State University. Her research interests are in the comparative and molecular physiology of marine invertebrates that inhabit dynamic environments. Current research focuses on using intertidal mussels as a model organism to integrate molecular based analyses of cellular stress with oceanographic and climatic variables to quantitatively predict patterns of growth, reproduction and survival across multiple spatial scales. Dr. Zippay is one of the co-instructors for the Physiological Marine Molecular ecology (PMME) section of the program at Friday Harbor. Ecological questions raised in the course drive a mechanistic approach by understanding how marine organisms are able to cope or tolerate a changing environment.