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Home / Faculty Spotlights / CFCC biology instructor brings two decades of experience and discovery to the classroom

CFCC biology instructor brings two decades of experience and discovery to the classroom

Daniel NorrisLooking to satisfy a science credit? Consider taking biology with CFCC biology instructor Daniel Norris.

Norris has been teaching biology at CFCC for over 24 years. He brings not only his training to the classroom, but also a wealth of experience as an explorer and discoverer.

Passion for Exploration and Discovery

After earning his bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Norris wanted to expand his horizons beyond southeastern North Carolina. Norris studied for his master’s degree at the University of Guam, where he discovered a previously unknown Genus of a parasitic snail.

During a sea urchin expedition in Guam’s Apra Harbor, Norris noticed something twirling around on top of one of the urchins he collected. Unable to identify the tiny creature, he sent the sample to a scientist in Sweden for evaluation.

Hypermastus Mareticola

Hypermastus Mareticola

The results indicated this minuscule lifeform was a new discovery in the marine sciences community. Norris discovered a parasitic snail which has been scientifically named hypermastus mareticola. The snail uses its radula, a tongue-like structure, as an auger to drill into the outer layer of the urchin.

Beyond the Textbook

In class, Norris will gladly discuss his time in Guam, his discovery, and the tropical ecology of his travels. He also enjoys getting to know his students and relating biology to ecology or their hometown.

“Mr. Norris is a great teacher. He is great at helping students understand the material and not feel lost,” shared CFCC student Mikaela Keldsen. “He makes class entertaining while still learning. He includes real-life examples in his lectures and stops to ensure we are understanding.”

There’s more than textbook learning in Norris’ class. Students get fun hands-on exercises in the science labs. For instance, Norris makes a game out of his echinoderm lecture as a challenge for students to find specific body parts on a sea star. When not dissecting sea creatures, Norris takes his class on field trips.

“Because biology is everywhere, I can bring part of the students’ lives into the classroom,” shares Norris. “If I can learn more about who I am teaching, I can make the topic more personal and entertaining to the students.”

Teaching Local History

Norris also has a passion for regional and local history. He enjoys documenting the regional histories he and other authors have collected into lovely hardcover books.

As the owner of SlapDash Publishing, Norris writes and publishes books that range from suspense novels to photographically illustrated books to recipe books. Many titles in Norris’ collection focus on Carolina Beach, one of his former stomping grounds, including the famous “Britt’s Donuts,” a photo essay about the donut shop’s history.

However, he has yet to write a biology textbook. So, for now, Norris will supplement the course textbook with his extraordinary experiences.

If you are completing your Associate of Science degree or looking for an exciting science course to fulfill your university transfer credits, consider Biology 110 or 111 with Daniel Norris.

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