When she was young, Pratt spent summers in Maine playing in a freshwater lake, which likely began her love of ecology and all things aquatic. During college, graduate school and postdoctoral work, her research focused in the field of biomechanics and physiological ecology in marine intertidal organisms, including red algae, bryozoans, nudibranchs and sea stars. Since joining the Smith College Department of Biological Sciences, Pratt has started exploring local ecological and environmental issues in her teaching and research. In particular, she is involved in research monitoring the health of the Mill River using freshwater macroinvertebrates to assess how Smith College’s sediment management of Paradise Pond might influence the river. Other projects include investigating invasive pests on hemlock trees and monitoring when leaves open in the spring in invasive and native shrubs. She currently teaches several laboratory sections of Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation and Animal Physiology. In both courses, she uses course-based research to help students learn through authentic research experiences.
Selected Publications & Reports
Pratt, M.C. (2019) Impact of sediment redistribution on freshwater mussels in the Mill River (2015-2018). [unpublished report to local and state regulators]
Pratt, M.C. (2019) Impact of sediment redistribution on macroinvertebrates in the Mill River (2015-2018). [unpublished report to local and state regulators]
Pratt, M.C. (2008) Living where the flow is right: how flow affects feeding in bryozoans. Integrative & Comparative Biology. 48:808-822.
Pratt, M.C. and Grason, E.W. (2007) Invasive species as a new food source: does a native nudibranch prefer eating an invasive bryozoan? Biological Invasions 9:645-655.
Fleet, C.M., Rosser, M.F., Zufall, R., Pratt, M.C., Feldman, T.S., Lemons, P.P. (2006). Analysis of hiring practices in biology departments of post-secondary educational institutions. BioScience 56(5): 430-436
Pratt, M.C. (2005). Consequences of coloniality: the influence of colony form and size on feeding success in the bryozoan Membranipora membranacea. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.303:153-165
Pratt, M.C. (2004). The effect of zooid spacing on bryozoan feeding success: is competition or facilitation more important? Biol. Bull. 27:17-27
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