Michael Rutter, Ph.D.

Associate Director, School of Science
Associate Professor of Statistics, Mathematics
Office Phone: 814-898-6272
Office Location: 3-B Prischak
Mailing Address:
ERIE, PA 16563

Bottom Fields


Dr. Rutter's research and teaching interests are similar: applying statistics to data in order to answer real world questions. Much of Dr. Rutter's work focuses on Presque Isle Bay, located in Erie, PA. He has worked extensively on comparing tumor incidence rate on brown bullheads in Presque Isle Bay to fish collected in other parts of the Great Lakes. In addition, Dr. Rutter is currently working on a predictive, weather based model to help Presque Isle State Park managers identify when high levels of E. coli are possible, therefore helping advise the public about where they can swim safely. Dr. Rutter uses the lessons learned on these projects and others (ranking college hockey teams, for example) as the basis of his approach for teaching statistics at Behrend. Dr. Rutter is also an advocate of open source software, including the R project for statistical computing.

Teaching Specialties

  • Statistics
  • Population Modeling and Simulation


Research Interests

  • Statistics
  • Fish Poplulation Dynamics and Mathematical Biology

Funded Projects and Grants

  • Fish Tumors or Other Deformities. Rutter, M.A. (principal investigator), and G.N. Walker (co-principal investigator). Pennsylvania Department Of Environmental Protection, $80,000. 2009-2011.
  • Building Coastal Resources in Pennsylvania (Brown Bullhead Database). Rutter, M.A. (principal investigator) and S. Rafferty (co-principal investigator). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, $64,000. 2007-2009.
  • REU Program in Mathematical Biology: Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. Previte, J.P. (principal investigator), and M.A. Rutter (co-principal investigator). National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program, $160,056. 2006-2009.
  • REU Program in Mathematical Biology: Penn State Erie, The Behrend College -Supplement Travel Grant. Previte, J.P. (principal investigator) and M.A. Rutter (co-principal investigator). National Science Foundation REU Program. $4,500. 2006.
  • A Statistical Analysis of Brown Bullhead Tumor Rates in Presque Isle Bay. Rutter, M.A. (principal investigator). Pennsylvania Sea Grant and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. $4,000. 
  • 2005-2006.
  • Integrating Wounding Data into a Lake Trout Population Model. Rutter, M.A. (principal investigator). Penn State Behrend Research Incentive Grant Program for Early Career Faculty Award, $2,000. 2005-2006.
  • Integration of Sea Lamprey Functional Response and Lake Trout Stock Assessment Models. Bence, J.R. (principal investigator) and M.A. Rutter, (graduate assistant). Great Lakes Fishery Commission, August 1997-July 1999.
Research Interests
My research interests include: - R - Bayesian statistics - Fisheries and ecology - Statistics in sports - Chocolate milk and R