Michael Rutter, Ph.D.

Mike Rutter
Associate Director, School of Science
Co-Chair, Interdisciplinary Science and Business program
Associate Professor of Statistics, Mathematics
Office Phone
Office Location
3-B Prischak

Mailing Address:
ERIE PA 16563

    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

    Dr. Rutter's research interests include statistics, fisheries, R programming language, predictive models, ecology, quantitative fisheries models, and statistics in sports.


    The Influence of Lake Erie on Changes in Temperature and Frost Dates, International Journal of Climatology - February, 2020
    Collaborators: Kara Dobson, Primary Author; Michael Campbell, Co-Author; Lynne Beaty, Co-Author; Bryan Hed, Co-Author

    Trends in Liver and Skin Tumor Prevalence in Brown Bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) from the Anacostia River, Washington, DC, and Nearby Waters, Toxicologic Pathology. - February 24, 2019
    Collaborators: Alfred Pinkney, Co-Author; John Harshbarger, Co-Author; Peter Sakaris, Co-Author

    The Bacterial Community Found on the Surface Purple Martin (Progne subis) eggs, The Open Ornithology Journal - February, 2017
    Collaborators: Beth Potter, Author; Mary Sperry; Dan Hoang, Co-Author; Kaitlin Pander, Co-Author; Sean Weaver, Co-Author; Aimee Day, Co-Author; Kelly Hedderick, Co-Author; Robert Aeppli, Co-Author

    Histopathology of brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus), smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) in relation to polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the Hudson River., The Science of the Total Environment - January 1, 2017
    Collaborators: A Pinkney, Co-Author; M Myers, Co-Author

    A long-term study examining the antibacterial effectiveness of Agion silver zeolite technology on door handles within a college campus, Letters in Applied Microbiology - December, 2014
    Collaborators: Beth Potter, Author; M. Lob, Co-Author; R. Mercaldo, Co-Author; A. Hetzler, Co-Author; V. Kaistha, Co-Author; H. Khan, Co-Author; N. Kingston, Co-Author; M. Knoll, Co-Author; B. Maloy-Franklin, Co-Author; K. Melvin, Co-Author; P. Ruiz-Pelet, Co-Author; N. Ozsoy, Co-Author; E. Schmitt, Co-Author; L. Wheeler, Co-Author; M. Potter, Co-Author; G. Yahn, Co-Author; Diane Parente, Co-Author

    A Comparison of the Bacterial Microflora Found on the Surface of American Kestrel and House Wren Eggs, Open Ornithology Journal - 2014
    Collaborators: Beth Potter, Author; Emily Hyde, Author; Holly Pier, Author; Margaret Voss, Author

    Temporal and spatial patterns in tumour prevalence in brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus Lesueur) in the tidal Potomac River watershed, Journal of Fish Diseases - October, 2014
    Collaborators: Alfred Pinkney, Author; John Harshbarger, Co-Author

    Predicting E. Coli Levels for Beaches at Presque Isle State Park - May 17, 2014

    Ranking Women’s College Hockey Teams: Ties and Home Ice, Chance Magazine - 2011

    Tumor Prevalence and Biomarkers of Genotoxicity in Brown Bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) in Chesapeake Bay Tributaries, Science of the Total Environment - 2011
    Collaborators: A. Pinkney; J. Harshbarger; N. Darouna-Renier; K. Jenko; L. Balk; B. Liewenborg; H. Skarphéòinsdóttir

    A Statistical Approach for Establishing Tumor Incidence Delisting Criteria in Areas of Concern: A Case Study, Journal of Great Lakes Research - 2010

    Tumors in Brown Bullheads (Ameiurus nebulosus) in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: Analysis of Survey Data - 1992 through 2006, Journal of Aquatic Animal Health - 2009
    Collaborators: A. Pinkney; J. Harshbarger

    The Adaptive Value of Thermally Inefficient Male Incubation in the American Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster), The Auk - 2008
    Collaborators: M. Voss; N. Zimmerman; K. Moll

    Determining Species Identity and Size of Fragmented Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and Quagga Mussels (Dreissena bugensis) From Presque Isle Bay, Lake Erie, Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science - 2007
    Collaborators: Gregory Andraso; C. Cherry; A. Neal

    REU in Mathematical Biology at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, Proceedings of the Conference on Promoting Undergraduate Research in Mathematics - 2007
    Collaborators: J. Previte; S. Stevens

    An Improved Method to Estimate Sea Lamprey Wounding Rate on Hosts with Application to Lake Trout in Lake Huron, Journal of Great Lakes Research 29 - January, 2004
    Collaborator: J. Bence

    Recommendations for Assessing Sea Lamprey Damages: Toward Optimizing the Control Program in the Great Lakes, Journal of Great Lakes Research 29 - January, 2004
    Collaborators: T. Stewart; J. Bence; R. Bergstedt; M. Ebener; F. Lupi

    Sea Lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) Parasite-Host Interactions in the Great Lakes, Journal of Great Lakes Research 29 - January, 2004
    Collaborators: J. Bence; R. Bergstedt; G. Christie; P. Cochran; M. Ebener; J. Koonce; W. Swink

    Mate Location, Population Growth and Species Extension, Biological Conservation - 1998
    Collaborators: H. Wells; E. Strauss; P. Wells


    Ph D, Fisheries, Michigan State University

    MS, Statistics, Michigan State University

    MS, Applied Mathematics, University of Tulsa

    BS, Applied Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford