Mike Mooring

Dr. Mooring has a passion for ecology and research in Costa Rica.

Dr. Mike Mooring always follows his passion for ecology and conservation biology—whether it leads him to the prairie of Nebraska to study bison or to Costa Rica’s cloud forest to study mammalian predators.

This summer, Mooring led a group of four biology students to Costa Rica for a summer research project. Based at a field station run by Southern Nazarene University (SNU), they recorded animal life in the cloud forest of the Savegre Valley, a community of about 250 residents. 

They successfully photo-trapped an elusive puma as well as ocelot, coyote, tapir, paca, and raccoon, but Mooring and two student researchers, seniors Caleb Bryce and Jared Yee, agreed that the highlight of the experience was recording a melanistic jaguar (that’s a black jaguar for non-biology majors)—a predator thought to be extinct in the region after eluding human eyes for more than 40 years.

Besides loving researching away from the PLNU campus, Mooring loves coming back: “I enjoy every class I teach,” he said. One of his favorites, though, Environment and People, allows him to explore relevant topics for today’s society.

Mooring also oversees the environmental science major and serves as co-chair of PLNU’s Sustainability Task Force, which is a part of PLNU’s efforts to stay green and build a sustainable future.