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John Cossel

Professor of Biology

Biography: Dr. Cossel is an Idaho native, growing up on a farm in Marsing, Idaho. Many family camping trips and thousands of hours in the Owyhee desert chasing reptiles and amphibians were formative times and put him on his career path. After graduating from Marsing High School as a 3rd generation “Marsing Husky,” he began his college studies at NNU, where he met his wife of 33 years, Ronda; they were both Biology majors. They have 3 adult children (all NNU alumni): Johnathon his wife Rachel and two grandsons James and Christopher; Jessie and her fiancé Grant; and Rebecca and her husband Jairo. Dr. Cossel has been an educator since 1991, teaching high school science for 5 years. During that time, he obtained his MS Science Education (with a marine emphasis) from Oregon State University. Upon completion of his master’s degree, he immediately began his studies in the Doctor of Arts program at Idaho State University. His dissertation was on the impacts of fire-altered desert vegetation on reptile communities. He has been at NNU full-time since 1999, and is a Professor of Biology, and the Chairman of the Biology Department. Dr. Cossel is the major adviser for a variety of majors and/or degree concentrations including: Biology BA, Biology Education, Pre-Veterinary Medicine concentration, and the Wildlife Biology and Ecology degrees. Dr. Cossel teaches a wide-range of topics, but focuses on anatomy & physiology and wildlife courses. He is a herpetologist (amphibian and reptile expert) and conducts
research in the Pacific Northwest and in the Neotropical Rainforests. His work has resulted in numerous publications, many of them with student co-authors. Recent work by Dr. Cossel and his students focuses on the bioacoustics of anurans (frogs and toads) and alpha-taxonomy (describing new species). He published a field guide with co-author Brian Kubicki titled “Field Guide to the Frogs and Toads of Costa Rica”. The field guide is in a digital format that allows users to benefit from full-resolution images, zoomable maps, and audio recordings of mating calls. Dr. Cossel enjoys photography and took most of the images in his field guide. His photography has also been published in numerous papers and books, and in a gallery exhibit highlighting the beauty and conservation concerns of amphibians. Dr. Cossel loves teaching, mentoring and researching at NNU and finds great satisfaction helping students on their transformative journeys.

Fun Fact: I enjoy photography.

Favorite Thing About Working at NNU: Opportunities to learn new things all the time, and helping student achieve their dreams

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