News & Resources

Faculty Profile: Dan Ippolito, Aquatic Biology

Posted by Paul Wiemerslage | Nov 19, 2015

Not every Au Sable course can claim to be taught by a fourth-degree black belt in karate, or an instructor who can cut a dashing figure in a wet suit, but “Aqua Man Dan” Ippolito provides this and much more to Au Sable’s Aquatic Biology course, offered annually at Au Sable’s Great Lakes Campus each year in Summer Session I (June and July). Starting his college studies by earning a BS in Biology from Yale University, Dan went on to gain a PhD in Zoology from the University of Texas where his doctoral research focused on competition between an aquatic invasive species (blue tilapia) and native bass in a power plant reservoir in the eastern part of the state.  After teaching marine biology at the University of New England in southern Maine for four years, Dan joined the faculty of Anderson University in Indiana, where he has now taught for 26 years.

Since joining the faculty at AU, Dan has developed increasing expertise not only through further studies in aquatic biology, but also in the philosophy of science. He has conducted long-term monitoring of the White River in Anderson using benthic macroinvertebrates as indicator organisms, sharing his data with municipal authorities in the city of Anderson to inform the city’s overall strategy of storm water management. In his other area of expertise, Dan teaches an upper division seminar at Anderson on the integration of faith and science, and is currently investigating the question of how to reconcile divine action and special providence with the insights of modern scientific research.

In Aquatic Biology, Dan provides students with the fruits of decades of teaching and research experience, directly investigating aquatic plants and animals in the field, along with their adaptations to the aquatic environment and the ecological systems in which they function. Dan also employs his expertise to show students current best practices for protecting aquatic environments and the biblical principles of creation care that should guide them. As one student summarized the course experience, “I appreciated that the field experiences we had were studied further and played well into lecture material. I enjoyed the adventurous nature of our trips and was very glad we were able to go to a fish hatchery. Dan instantly showed an interest in us and getting us interested in the subject matter, and was always eager to discuss "big questions" with us, during coffee breaks or on car rides or whenever we had off time.” Regarding his own experiences in teaching this course, Dan states, “I love coming to Au Sable because of the setting and the people. I learn something new every time I go, and it gives me a chance to share my passion for the Creation and for our stewardship responsibilities.” Join Dan in Aquatic Biology at Au Sable for a life-changing course you will never forget.