Marjorie Wonham

Marjorie is an experienced Tutor in the Life Sciences with over 30 research and science communication publications, and is currently the Interim President of Quest University Canada. She has taught university-level biology courses with strong field components since 2002; she has also taught and co-taught interdisciplinary courses in research methods, science communication, sustainability, and sexuality. In addition, she has co-taught intensive field courses at Friday Harbor Laboratory (WA), Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BC), and Wrigley Marine Science Center (CA) for over 15 years.

Her interdisciplinary research interests include biological invasions, marine zoology, and pedagogy. She combines empirical and mathematical approaches to investigate the success and impacts of invasive species, including diseases. Her current collaborative projects include designing a field course in Patagonia, exploring the marine biological content of Pablo Neruda’s Maremoto (Seaquake) collection, and developing new approaches to teaching the scientific method.

Building on her early interests in biology (including a bug collection in her parents’ freezer), Marjorie completed an undergraduate degree in natural sciences at Cambridge University, where she studied both duck weed and cuttlefish. She worked then as a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, collecting and analyzing organisms in the ballast water samples of commercial ships. From there, she led the first trans-Atlantic, ship-board study testing the effectiveness of ballast water exchange in reducing the risk of biological invasions. She next obtained a PhD in zoology at the University of Washington, where she conducted field experiments on Tatoosh Island off the Olympic Peninsula. Next, she held Honorary Killam and NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Postdoctoral Fellowships at the University of Alberta and the University of Windsor, developing theoretical models of species and disease invasion. She subsequently served on a panel of the US National Research Council of the National Academies of Science to determine how to reduce ballast-mediated invasion risk.

Marjorie has served in a variety of pivotal leadership roles at Quest as a Founding Member of multiple faculty committees including the Diversity & Equity Committee, Honorary Degree Committee, Field Trip Committee, and Ombudsperon Development Committee. In addition, she has served on the Faculty Grievance Committee, Faculty Performance Review Committee, and a three-year term as the first Vice Chair of the Academic Council.

Marjorie’s teaching incorporates student-driven research projects to investigate biology and ecology, to develop scientific literacy and numeracy, and to refine analytical skills. She has been a visiting teacher and researcher at the Centro Nacional Patagónico (Argentina), Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BC), Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas (Chile), Friday Harbor Laboratories (WA), and the Three Seas Program at Wrigley Marine Science Center (CA).