J. Evan Ward

Professor and Department Head

Department of Marine Sciences

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


Ward, J.E., S. Zhao, B.A. Holohan, K.M. Mladinich, T.W. Griffin, J. Wozniak & S.E. Shumway, 2019. Selective ingestion and egestion of plastic particles by the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) and eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica): Implications for using bivalves as bioindicators of microplastic pollution. Env. Sci. & Tech. 53: 8776-8784.

Ward, J.E., M. Rosa & S.E. Shumway, 2019. Capture, ingestion and egestion of microplastics by suspension-feeding bivalves: a 40-year history. Anthropocene Coasts 2: 39-49.

Buckman, K.L., E.A Seelen, R.P. Mason, P. Balcom, V.F. Taylor, J.E. Ward and C.Y. Chen, 2019. Sediment organic carbon and temperature effects on methylmercury concentration: a mesocosm experiment. Sci. Total Environ. 666: 1316–1326.

Zhao, S., J.E. Ward, M. Danley & T.J. Mincer, 2018. Field-based evidence for microplastic in marine aggregates and mussels: Implications for trophic transfer. Env. Sci. & Tech. 52: 11038–11048.

Pierce, M.L. & J.E. Ward, 2018. Microbial ecology of the Bivalvia, with an emphasis on the family Ostreidae. J. Shellfish Res. 37: 793-806.

Rosa, M., J.E. Ward & S.E. Shumway, 2018. Selective capture and ingestion of particles by suspension-feeding bivalve molluscs: A review. J. Shellfish Res. 37: 727-746.

Jasperse, L., M.J. Levin, K. Tsantiris, R. Smolowitz, C. Perkins, J.E. Ward & S. De Guise, 2018. Comparative toxicity of Corexit® 9500, oil, and a Corexit®/oil mixture on the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin). Aq. Toxicol. 203: 10-18.

Doyle, J.J., J.E. Ward & G.H. Wikfors, 2018. Acute exposure to TiO2 nanoparticles produces minimal apparent effects on oyster, Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin), hemocytes. Mar. Pollution Bull. 127: 512-523.

Rosa, M., J.E. Ward, A. Frink & S.E. Shumway, 2017. Effects of particle-surface properties on particle capture by two species of suspension-feeding bivalve molluscs. Am. Malacol. Bull. 35:181-188.

Haynes, V.N., J.E. Ward, B.J. Russell, A.G. Agrios, 2017. Review: Photocatalytic effects of titanium dioxide nanoparticles on aquatic organisms – current knowledge and suggestions for future research. Aquatic Toxicol. 185: 138-148.

J. Evan Ward
Contact Information
Mailing Address1080 Shennecossett Road, Groton, CT 06340
CampusAvery Point