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Featured Faculty: Tom Smith, Conservation Biology

Posted by lindsaybarden | Apr 18, 2017

Dr. Thomas Smith, Associate Professor of Biology at Ave Maria University in Florida is the newest member of the Au Sable faculty. Dr. Smith will be teaching ASI’s Summer Session I course, Conservation Biology, in 2017.

“Growing up, I remember being outside in the woods for hours on end from morning to night. So, Conservation Biology comes naturally as a steward of God’s creation,” said Tom when asked what inspires his work.

Dr. Smith’s pursuit of conservation biology began at Plymouth State College in New Hampshire where he completed his undergrad in Environmental Biology, from there he went on to gain two Masters degrees from Western Kentucky University in Biology and in Recreation. Tom then earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Biology from the University of Louisville before beginning his teaching career. Prior to his current position as Associate Professor of Biology at Ave Maria University, Dr. Smith taught at a number of other schools including College of the Southwest in New Mexico, Waynesburg College in Pennsylvania and South Arkansas University in Arkansas.

Conservation biology is an area of study close to Tom’s heart and central to his faith as a Christian. “Creation is God's and we are responsible and accountable as stewards. We need to wisely manage and utilize Creation. God has placed in the human heart the desire to know the truth – “creation”. To know the truth about Creation; especially nature, is to explore and discover through studying. We need to learn from the past and present to see how we can manage creation for the future. Studying creation can give us an insight on God and illuminate some of God's wonders,” he shared.

Apart from his work teaching at Ave Maria University, Dr. Smith works on a global algal taxonomy project, a topic on which he has published numerous manuscripts. Tom has a specific interest in the use of seaweed as an agricultural crop in the United States and Caribbean island countries. In particular, seaweed culturing can be used by economically impoverished communities to generate extra income with little effort.

In Ave Maria, Florida, Dr. Tom Smith lives with his wife and their 5 sons who range in age from 2 to 20. As a family, they enjoy exploring the National Parks.