Faculty Profile

Tim Nelson

Tim Nelson

Professor of Biology; Director of Blakely Island Field Station

Email: tnelson@spu.edu
Phone: 206-281-3640
Office: Eaton 204


Education: BS, Seattle Pacific University, 1987; PhD, University of Washington, 1995. At SPU since 1991.

Tim Nelson came to SPU as a student in 1984, then returned as a faculty member while completing his PhD at the University of Washington, first during winter quarter 1991, then continuously since 1992. While a UW student, he had the opportunity to study mathematical ecology at the United Nations’ Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, and did research at Friday Harbor Laboratories.

At SPU Dr. Nelson has taught a variety of botany, ecology, and marine biology courses, including study tours to Belize and Hawaii. His research involves collaborating with his students on studies of the composition, causes, and consequences of macroalgal blooms in Washington state, funded by competitive grants from the Murdock Charitable Trust, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Washington Department of Ecology, and SPU. A sabbatical in 2000 allowed him to spend four months in Edinburgh working with faculty and students based at the Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh, and the University of Dundee.

In 2003, Dr. Nelson took on the directorship of Blakely Island Field Station.  From 2007 to 2013 he was chair of the Department of Biology, and in 2012–13 he filled in as an interim associate dean of Arts and Sciences.    

Selected Publications

  • Nelson, T.A.; and B.C. Gregg (2013). “Determination of EC–50 for normal oyster larval development in extracts from bloom-forming green seaweeds.” The Nautilus 127(4):156–59.
  • Nelson, T.A.; Haberlin, K.; Nelson, A.V.; Ribarich, H.; Hotchkiss, R.; Van Alstyne, K.L.; Buckingham, L.; Simunds, D.J.; and Fredrickson, K. 2008. “Ecological and physiological controls of species composition in green macroalgal blooms.” Ecology 89:1287–98.
  • Van Alstyne, K.L.; Koellermeier, L., and Nelson, T.A. (2007). “Spatial variation in dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) production in Ulva lactuca (Chlorophyta) from the Northeast Pacific.” Marine Biology 150:1127–35.
  • Nelson, T.A.,  D. Lee, and B.C. Smith (2003). “Toxic extracts from ulvoid macroalgae:  Are ‘green tides’ harmful algal blooms?” Journal of Phycology 39(5):874–79.
  • Nelson, T.A.; and A. Lee (2001). “A manipulative experiment demonstrates that ulvoid algal blooms reduce eelgrass shoot density.” Aquatic Botany 71:149–54.

Please view Dr. Nelson’s CV (PDF) for additional publications.


Personal Links

View Dr. Nelson's personal website.

Biology | Why I Teach

Why I Teach at SPU

Tim Nelson, Professor of Biology; Director of Blakely Island Field Station

“I’m motivated by providing students with the opportunity for a holistic undergraduate education, and medium-sized universities like SPU foster critical faculty-student interactions that broaden the students’ (and faculty’s) minds. What sets SPU apart from myriad other colleges, however, are the people and the location. It is the wonderful people I get to work with every day that tipped the balance for me. Being in a beautiful West Coast location didn’t hurt either!”

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