Department of Environmental Science and Policy

Joseph Staples Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Joe Staples

Office Location

105E Bailey Hall on the USM Gorham Campus

Faculty Office Hours Spring 2020

by Appointment



Academic Degrees

  • Ph. D, Biological Science, Illinois State University
  • M.S. Environmental Forest Biology & Chemical Ecology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse
  • B.S. Environmental Forest Biology SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse


Dr. Staples conducts research in the areas of environmental entomology, integrated pest management, forest ecology, and education.  He collaborates with researchers from across the University of Maine System and with individuals from local and national organizations including the Maine Medical Center Vector-Borne Disease laboratory, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation.  Dr. Staples is a graduate of the Scholar Educator Program at Illinois State University and has taught more than thirty courses in biology, environmental science, and general education.  A self-described “tinkerer,” Dr. Staples enjoys developing new methods and technologies to better monitor and measure the natural world.  Education and mentoring are common themes throughout Dr. Staples’ research.  He is a strong advocate of experiential education and a research-based approach to teaching.  


Courses Taught at USM

  • ESP 101 Fundamentals of Environmental Science
  • ESP 102 Fundamentals of Environmental Science Lab
  • ESP 110 Introduction to Nature Tourism
  • ESP 125 Environmental Ecology
  • ESP 125 Environmental Ecology Lab
  • ESP 131 Northern Forest Canoe Trail
  • ESP 150 Field Immersion
  • ESP 280 Research & Analytical Methods
  • ESP 401 Environmental Impact Assessment 
  • ESP 412 Field Ecosystems Ecology
  • ESP 413 Forest Ecology
  • ESP 475 Senior Seminar
  • EYE 102 Sustainability Culture and the Environment
  • BIO 335 Entomology
  • BIO 361 Parasitology Lect
  • BIO 361 Parsitology Lab
  • LCC 130 The Biology of Human Health
  • LCC 230 Environmental Science, Policy, & Sustainability
  • SCI 130 Natural Science Topics
  • SCI 105 Biological Principles I
  • SCI 106 Biological Principles I Laboratory

Areas of Expertise


Forest Ecology

Chemical Ecology

Environmental Physiology

Research Interests

My research explores topics in environmental entomology, arthropod vectors of disease, general forest ecology, and methods in teaching STEM fields.  


Areas of Scholarship



Chemical Ecology


Forest Ecology

Recent Publications


Staples, Joseph Knight. Title: System and Apparatus for Illuminating A Specimen. U.S. Patent No. 9,557,551.Publication date: Jan 31, 2017



Smith, M.K., Toth, E.S., Borges, K., Dastoor, F., Johnston, J., Jones, E.H., Nelson, P.R., Page, J., Pelletreau, K., Prentiss, N., Roe, J.L., Staples, J., Summers, M., Trenckmann, E., and Vinson, E. 2018. Using Place-Based Economically Relevant Organisms to Improve Student Understanding of the Roles of Carbon Dioxide, Sunlight, and Nutrients in Photosynthetic Organisms (2018). CourseSource           

Sanford, R. M., J. K. Staples and S. A. Snowman. (2017) The Draw-An-Ecosystem Task as an Assessment Tool in Environmental Science Education.  Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal 9:1. SENCER. Winter 2017.

Sanford, R. M., Staples, J. K. (2015) The Northern Forest Canoe Trail course. Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. Summer 2015.

Elias S.P., Lubelczyk C.B., Rand P.W., Staples J.K., St Amand T.W., Stubbs C.S., Lacombe E.H., Smith L.B., Smith R.P. Jr.  (2013) Effect of a botanical acaricide on Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) and nontarget arthropods. Journal of Medical Entomology 50(1):126-36.

Staples J. K., Bartelt R. J., Cosse. A. A., Whitman D. W.  (2009) Sex Pheromone of the Pine False Webworm Acantholyda erythrocephala (Hymenoptera: Pamphiliidae) Journal of Chemical Ecology. 35:1448-60.

Staples, Joseph K., (2008).  Natural Resource Inventory of Malaga Island, Phippsburg, Maine.  For: Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Topsham Maine

Staples J. K., B. S. Krall, R. J. Bartelt, and D. W. Whitman. (2002) Chemical Defense in the Plant Bug Lopidea robiniae (Uhler). Journal of Chemical Ecology.  28: 601-615


Conceptualizing and Implementing a Research Informed Teaching Platform for Civic Engagement. Rob Sanford & Joe Staples University of Southern Maine SENCER Center for Innovation‒Southwest Texas Woman’s University Regional Symposium (January 29, 2016) (Talk)

Surface morphology and asymmetric transmural diffusion of Diprion similis (Hymenoptera: Diprionidae) cocoons. Elizabeth Henderson and Joseph Staples, Univ. of Southern Maine, Gorham.  Synergy in Science: Partnering for Solutions 63rd Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Co-located with the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America) November 15-18, 2015

Survey of aquatic mite parasitism of mosquitoes in Maine. Margret Welch, Charles Lubelczyk,Susan Elias and Joseph Staples  Synergy in Science: Partnering for Solutions 63rd Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Co-located with the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America) November 15-18, 2015 (Poster)

Mosquito Parasitism by Aquatic Mites in Maine. Margret Welch and Joseph K Staples.  Eastern Branch of Entomological Society of America. Rehoboth Beach, DE March 14-17th 2015 (Poster)

Water vapor uptake across the cocoon wall of the Introduced Pine Sawfly Diprion similis (Hartig)  Elizabeth Henderson and Joseph Staples. Rehoboth Beach, DE March 14-17th 2015 (Poster)

Sentinel Forest: A case for deploying remote ground-based environmental sensor networks for monitoring ecological change within forested watersheds. 2015 Maine Sustainability & Water Conference, Augusta Maine.  (March 31, 2015) (Talk)

Undergraduate Research as a tool for civic engagement.  (October 18TH 2014)  Massachusetts. Authors: Joseph Staples, Robert Sanford, Travis Wagner, Karen Wilson, Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh, and Daniel Martinez. SENCER SCI-New England Fall 2014 Regional Meeting Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams, MA. (Talk)

Smart Forests in Real Time.  Remote Access to Forest Data for Universities, Colleges, High Schools, and Citizen Scientists.  U.S. Forest Service Workshop. Bringing the Forest to the Classroom & Office with Real Time Cyber Science. (March 14, 2014)  Presenter and panel member.  Joseph K. Staples.   Hubbard Brook, Woodstock, New Hampshire.  (Talk)

Environmental science/studies survival in changing times: Adapting an undergraduate program for success.  Interdisciplinary Environmental Association. Portland, Maine.  Sanford, R. M. and Joseph K Staples. (2012). (Workshop)

Awards and Recognition

2016-Current   Leadership Fellow with Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities.

2016  University of Southern Maine University Service Award.

Professional Activity

2016-current    Committee of Scientists, Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest.