J. Evan Ward


Dr. J. Evan WardJ. Evan Ward
Professor and Department Head

Department of Marine Sciences
1080 Shennecossett Road
Groton, CT 06340
Office: CHEM-A312
Phone: 860-405-9073
Email: evan.ward@uconn.edu




Research Focus

I am an experimental biologist whose research interests are directed toward an understanding of the dynamic interactions between marine animals and their environment. In particular, my work focuses on the endogenous and exogenous factors that mediate the behavior and physiology of benthic, particle-feeding invertebrates. I take an integrative approach in my research program by studying processes ranging from the organism to ecosystem level. Much of my research focuses on commercially important species, or shellfish (e.g., clams, oysters, mussels, scallops). These animals exert great control over the particle supply and distribution in many coastal ecosystems, and can influence the biology and ecology of other organisms. Additionally, they provide vital ecosystem services, and are an important link between the oceans and human health. Because suspension feeders play such a key role in near-shore ecosystems, it is important to understand how they obtain and process food and non-food particles, what factors control feeding processes, and the effects of environmental perturbations on their overall health.

Research Projects

  • Ingestion, Depuration, and Subsequent Effects of Titania and Plastic Nanoparticles by Marine Bivalves – National Science Foundation, United States Department of Agriculture
  • Collaborative Research: Separating the Grain from the Chaff: a Functional and Comparative Approach to Elucidate Particle Selection Mechanisms in Suspension-Feeding Molluscs – National Science Foundation
  • Collaborative Research–Microscopic Islands: Modeling the Theory of Island Biogeography for Aquatic Pathogens Colonizing Marine Aggregates – National Science Foundation/ National Institutes of Health
  • Interdisciplinary Research & training Initiative on Coastal ecosystems & Human Health (I-RICH) – NOAA, Oceans and Human Health Research and Training Initiative



  • Shiye Y.Z., M. Danley, J.E. Ward, D. Lia & T.J. Mincer, 2016. An approach for extraction, characterization and quantitation of microplastic in natural marine snow using Raman microscopy. Anal. Meth. [in review]
  • Rosa, M., J.E. Ward, B.A. Holohan, S.E. Shumway & G.H. Wikfors, 2016. Physicochemical surface properties of microalgae and their combined effects on particle selection by suspension-feeding bivalve molluscs. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. [in press].
  • Kramer, A.M., J.E. Ward, F.C. Dobbs, M.L. Pierce & J.M. Drake, 2016. The contribution of marine aggregate-associated bacteria to the accumulation of pathogenic bacteria in oysters: an agent-based model. Ecol. Evol. [in press].
  • Pierce, M.L., J.E. Ward, B.A. Holohan, X. Zhao & R.E. Hicks, 2016. The influence of site and season on the gut and pallial fluid microbial communities of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin): community-level physiological profiling and genetic structure. Hydrobiologia, 765: 97-113.
  • Doyle, J.J., J.E. Ward & R. Mason, 2016. Exposure of bivalve shellfish to titania nanoparticles under an environmental-spill scenario: Encounter, ingestion, and egestion. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc., UK. 96: 137-149.
  • Rosa, M., J.E. Ward, M. Ouvard, B.A. Holohan, E. Pales Espinosa, S.E. Shumway & B. Allam, 2015. Examining the physiological plasticity of particle capture by the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis (L.): confounding factors and potential artifacts with studies utilizing natural seston. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 473: 207–217.
  • Doyle, J.J., J.E. Ward & R. Mason, 2015. An examination of the ingestion, bioaccumulation, and depuration of titanium dioxide nanoparticles by the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) and the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica). Mar. Environ. Res., 110: 45-52.
  • Ortiz, V., R.P. Mason & J.E. Ward, 2015.  An examination of the factors influencing mercury and methylmercury particulate distributions, methylation and demethylation rates in laboratory-generated marine snow. Mar. Chem. 177: 753–762.
  • Frank, D.M., L. Deaton, S.E. Shumway, B.A. Holohan & J.E. Ward, 2015. Modulation of pumping rate by two species of marine bivalve molluscs in response to neurotransmitters: comparison of in vitro and in vivo results. Comp. Biochem. Physiol., Part A. 185: 150–158.
  • Doyle, J.J., V. Palumbo, B.D. Huey & J.E. Ward, 2014. Behavior of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in three aqueous media samples: Agglomeration and implications for benthic deposition. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 225: 2106.
  • Shumway, S.E., J.E. Ward, E. Heupel, B.A. Holohan, J. Heupel, T. Heupel & D.K. Padilla, 2014. Observations of feeding in the common Atlantic slippersnail Crepidula fornicata L., with special reference to the “mucus net.”  J. Shellfish Res. 33: 1–13.
  • Pierce, M.L., J.E. Ward & F.C. Dobbs, 2014.  False positives in Biolog EcoPlatesTM and MT2 MicroPlatesTM caused by calcium.  J. Microbiolog. Meth. 97: 20–24.
  • Rosa, M., J.E. Ward, S.E. Shumway, G.H. Wikfors, E. Pales‑Espinosa & B. Allam, 2013.  Effects of particle surface properties on feeding selectivity in the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica and the blue mussel Mytilus edulis. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 446: 320-327.
  • Wall, C.C., C.J. Gobler, B.J. Peterson & J.E. Ward, 2013. Contrasting growth patterns of suspension‑feeding molluscs (Mercenaria mercenaria, Crassostrea virginica, Argopecten irradians, Crepidula fornicata) across a eutrophication gradient in the Peconic Estuary, NY, USA. Estuaries & Coasts, 36, 1274‑1291.
  • Allam, B., W.E. Carden, J.E. Ward, G. Ralph, S. Winnicki & E. Pales Espinosa, 2013. Early host‑pathogen interactions in marine bivalves: Evidence that the alveolate parasite Perkinsus marinus infects through the oyster mantle during rejection of pseudofeces. J. Invert. Path., 113: 26-34.