Mindi Summers

Instructor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Department of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Science, University of Calgary

Faculty Member

Host-Parasite Interactions

BSc (Hons) – Geological and Environmental Sciences

Stanford University, 2009

MSc – Marine Biology

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 2011

PhD – Oceanography

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 2014

Contact information


University of Caglary, Main Campus : BI041


Zoology 401 – An Introduction to Invertebrate Zoology

Biology 401 – Evolutionary Biology

Zoology 435 – Entomology

Zoology 567 – Animal Behaviour

Biology 520 – Field Course in Tropical Biology

BMSC – Marine Invertebrate Zoology

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Dr. Mindi Summers is an invertebrate zoologist and biology education researcher. She completed her Bachelors of Science with Honors at Stanford University, and MS and PhD at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her dissertation work focused on uncovering the relationships among marine symbionts, focusing on crinoid hosts and their many associates (e.g., myzostomid annelids, eulimid gastropods, scaleworms, squat lobsters, snapping shrimp, and clingfish) using molecular phylogenetic approaches. For her postdoctoral work, Dr. Summers studied student learning in biology and developed a suite of programmatic assessment tools and instructional interventions.

At the University of Calgary, Dr. Summers teaches courses in invertebrate zoology, evolution, animal behaviour, and research methods in zoology. She also co-teaches a six-week field course in marine invertebrate zoology at Bamfield Marine Science Centre. Dr. Summers' research currently focuses on best practices to incorporate authentic research experiences into undergraduate courses, facilitating creativity in science, and documenting and disseminating information on Calgary biodiversity.

Dr. Summers is also an HPI Faculty member.


Branchaw JL, Pape-Lindstrom PA, Tanner KD, Bissonnette SA, Cary TL, Couch BA, Crowe AJ, Knight JK, Semsar K, Smith JI, Smith MK, Summers MM, Wienhold CJ, Wright CD, & Brownell SE. 2020. Resources for teaching assessing the Vision and Change biology core concepts. CBE-Life Sciences. 19(2). https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.19-11-0243.

McKay DM, Summers M, Buret AG, Emmett T, & Gilleard JS. 2019. Rethinking graduate education in parasitology: a case study. Trends in Parasitology. 35(9): 665-668. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2019.05.001

Smith MK, Holmes NG, Walsh CW, & Summers MM. 2019. Using EcoEvo-MAPS to assess student thinking across the Four Dimensional Ecology Education (4DEE) framework. Ecosphere. 10(9). https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.2873.

Smith MK, Brownell SE, Crowe AJ, Holmes NG, Knight JK, Semsar K, Summers MM, Walsh CW, Wright CD, & Couch BA. 2019. Tools for change: Measuring student conceptual understanding across undergraduate biology programs using Bio-MAPS assessments. JMBE. 20(2). https://doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v20i2.1787.

Couch BA, Wright CD, Freeman S, Knight JK, Semsar K, Smith MK, Summers MM, Zheng Y, Crowe AJ, & Brownell SE. 2019. GenBio-MAPS: A programmatic assessment to measure students understanding of Vision and Change core concepts across general biology programs. CBE-Life Sciences. 18: 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.18-07-0117

Semsar K, Brownell S, Couch B, Crowe A, Freeman S, Smith M, Summers M, Wright C, & Knight J. 2019. Phys-MAPS: A programmatic physiology assessment for introductory and advanced undergraduates. Advances in Physiology Education. 43: 15-27. https://doi.org/10.1152/advan.00128.2018

Summers MM, Couch B, Knight J, Brownell S, Crowe A, Semsar K, Wright C, & Smith MK. 2018. EcoEvo-MAPS: a tool to assess student learning in ecology and evolution through the undergraduate major. CBE-Life Sciences Education. 17: 1-12. LSE Issue Highlighted Article. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.17-02-0037

Smith MK, Toth ES, Borges K, Dastoor F, Johnston J, Jones EH, Nelson PR, Page J, Pelletreau K, Prentiss N, Roe JL, Staples J, Summers M, Trenckmann E, & 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. CourseSource. https://www.coursesource.org/courses/using-place-based-economically-relevant-organisms-to-improve-student-understanding-of-the

Trenckmann E*, Smith MK, Pelletreau KN, & Summers MM. 2017. An active-learning lesson that targets student understanding of population growth in ecology. CourseSource. https://www.coursesource.org/courses/an-active-learning-lesson-that-targets-student-understanding-of-population-growth-in-ecology

Summers MM, Messing CG, & Rouse GW. 2017. The genera and species of Comatulidae (Comatulida: Crinoidea): taxonomic revisions and a molecular and morphological guide. Zootaxa. 4268: 151-190. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4268.2.1

Rouse GW, Lanterbecq D, Summers MM, & Eeckhaut I. 2016. Four new species of Mesomyzostoma (Myzostomida, Annelida). Journal of Natural History. 50: 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1080/00222933.2015.1056266

Summers MM, Pleijel F, & Rouse GW. 2015. Whale falls, multiple colonisations of the deep, and the phylogeny of Hesionidae (Annelida). Invertebrate Systematics. 29: 105-123. https://doi.org/10.1071/IS14055

Summers MM & Rouse GW. 2014. Phylogeny of Myzostomida (Annelida) and their relationships with echinoderm hosts. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 14: 170. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12862-014-0170-7

Summers MM, Messing CG, & Rouse GW. 2014. Phylogeny of Comatulidae (Echinodermata: Crinoidea: Comatulida). Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution. 80: 319-339. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2014.06.030

Summers MM, Al-Hakim I, & Rouse GW. 2014. Turbo-taxonomy: 21 new species of Myzostomida (Annelida). Zootaxa. 3873: 301-344. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3873.4.1

Summers MM, Katz S, Allen EE, & Rouse GW. 2013. Association of rhizobia with a marine polychaete. Environmental Microbiology Reports. 5: 492-498. https://doi.org/10.1111/1758-2229.12043

Payne JL, Summers M, Rego BL, Altiner D, Wei J, Yu M, & Lehrmann DJ. 2011. Early and Middle Triassic trends in diversity, evenness, and size of foraminifers on a carbonate platform in south China: implications for tempo and mode of biotic recovery from the end-Permian mass extinction. Paleobiology. 37: 409-425. https://doi.org/10.1666/08082.1