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Sam Mason

Sam Mason

Instructor of Data Science

Areas of expertise:


With a background in ecology and biostatistics, Professor Mason is most interested in using bespoke probabilistic models to inform animal conservation. His current research focuses on the Monarch butterfly, combining large spatial datasets with greenhouse experiments to understand how habitat loss and pesticide use are driving population declines. Professor Mason is an R enthusiast and loves introducing students to the fundamentals of programming, data science and statistics using this and other open source software.

Research interests:

I’m broadly interested in the ecology and conservation of butterflies. I also love teaching students about R, a programming language particularly well-suited for statistics, data wrangling, and visualization.

Student research:

  • Monitoring inter-generational pesticide effects on the development and behavior of Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) (Amanda Moraes ’23)
  • Investigating the effects of nectar supplementation on butterfly community composition along agricultural field margins (Jennifer Noonan ’21)

Courses taught:

  • Programming for Biologists
  • Introduction to Data Science
  • Organic Chemistry