Ann Cleveland picture

Ann Cleveland

Department: Ocean Studies

· Professor

Phone: 207-326-2395
Office: 204 Dirigo House
Office Hours: MWF 1030-1130, or by appt, or Zoom
[email me for a Zoom link and I will send it to you so we can "meet". You are also welcome to come to my office; if the door is open, come on in.]


Dr. Ann Cleveland has been a marine biologist since she was 18 months old and her parents held her in the ocean for the first time.

Ann has both professional and academic experience in ecology, management, and conservation. Prior to beginning her teaching career, she worked for several years as an environmental consultant in Rhode Island on wetland mitigation and restoration, and with the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies group monitoring the environmental effects of the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. She also worked as a research diver for The Living Seas at EPCOT Center and as a fisheries observer for the National Marine Fisheries Service. Ann has experience in both tropical (Indo-Pacific, Gulf of California, Panama, Bahamas, Tobago) and temperate/polar (Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea) marine ecosystems as well as freshwater (the Colorado River) and estuarine (Narragansett Bay) environments.

Ann's research focuses primarily on the ecology and evolution of coral reef fishes, and she is also involved in science education.

B.A., Zoology, University of New Hampshire
M.S., Zoology/Ecology, University of Rhode Island
Ph.D., Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University

Block Schedule:

It’s all about the fish!  My love of fishes – their ecology, their behavior, their evolutionary history – has led me all around the world.  They also led me to my current position as a marine biology professor with all of the perks that come with interacting with students as they find their own passions.  This short slide show will give you some idea of my interests and experiences.

Collecting snails for a mark-recapture survey in ecology

Research is better and more fun when you bring student assistants

Sea turtle in Indonesia

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Wet lab set up at Silliman University

Feeding a stable isotope-marked diet to trace nutrient flow from fish to anemone

Feeding field anemonefish a stable isotope-marked diet

Collecting data on fish behavior

Ecology lab on R/V Friendship to sample benthic biodiversity

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On a kopje in Tanzania


My research interests in fish ecology, physiology, and behavior always seem to lead to investigations in pairs.  My master’s thesis research compared reproductive behavior in two species of sticklebacks in Rhode Island estuaries, my doctoral research investigated the feeding ecology and physiology of damselfishes in Panama, and my current research focuses on the tripartite symbiosis of anemonefishes, anemones, and symbiotic algae on reefs in the Philippines.


Cleveland A 1994


Cleveland A Montgomery WL 2003


Cleveland A Verde EA Lee RW 2011

I am also currently enrolled in a Masters of Science Teaching degree program at the University of Maine.  I have been a teacher for more than 20 years, and one thing I have learned, is that teachers can always improve their effectiveness in the classroom.  As a scientist, I believe in evidence-based improvements to teaching, and thus decided to pursue my MST.  My thesis topic examines the ways in which quantitative literacy is presented in introductory biology textbooks, because it is difficult to understand biology if you don’t have a grasp of mathematical skills.  Stay tuned here as my thesis progresses….

Because my research interests are many, the courses I have the pleasure of teaching are many.  And because I believe students learn better when they are responsible for their own learning, you can be certain that my classroom environment is active (and hopefully fun!)

  • General Biology for Ocean Studies majors
  • Design and Applied Statistics in the Sciences for Ocean Studies majors
  • General Ecology for Marine Biology majors
  • Marine Organism Physiology for Marine Biology majors
  • Ichthyology – an elective course for Ocean Studies majors
  • Animal Behavior – an elective course for Ocean Studies majors
  • Tropical Marine Science – a field-based elective course for Ocean Studies majors
  • Introduction to Ocean Science for Deck, Engine, and Business Students

Additionally, I serve as a research mentor to Ocean Studies students completing their senior research projects.  Explore our Senior Research Archive to see some examples of the great research our students have done.  You will find my name as an advisor on many of the student projects, and it has been my great pleasure to learn from my students as they investigate new problems.

Lastly, to get another “flavor” of the Ocean Studies family of faculty, staff, students, and alumni, I invite you to visit our Corning School of Ocean Studies Facebook page.