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J. Evan Ward, Ph.D. (evan.ward@uconn.edu)

I am an experimental biologist whose research interests are directed toward an understanding of the dynamic relations between marine animals and their environment. My students and I study processes ranging from the organism to ecosystem level, and are particularly interested in the behavior and physiology of commercially important, suspension-feeding species (e.g., clams, mussels, oysters, scallops). Currently, I have two projects related to Oceans and Human Health:

1. Linking Marine Pathogens to Molluscan Shellfish: The Ecological Role of Marine Aggregates. In this study we are focusing on marine aggregates as a link between pathogens (e.g., Dermo, QPX, bacteria) and bivalves (oysters, clams). We are testing the hypothesis that marine aggregates enhance the transmission of shellfish diseases by serving as reservoirs and vectors for the pathogens.

2. Emerging Pollutants: Transfer of Nanomaterials Through the Food Chain. In this project we are examining the uptake and accumulation of nanomaterials by suspension-feeders. We have already demonstrated that aggregates facilitate the uptake of bacteria and bacterial-size particles (0.5-1.0 um) by suspension-feeders, and are now testing the hypothesis that aggregates also provide a route by which nanoparticle pollutants can be ingested and thus enter the food chain.

For more information about my research visit www.marinesciences.uconn.edu/faculty/ward.html