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Drew Ferrier


Drew Ferrier

Professor of Biology and Director of Coastal Studies Program

Tel: 301-696-3660
Office: Hodson Science & Technology Center, Room 308E
Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday 10:30 a.m. -12 p.m.



  • Ph.D., University of Maryland
  • M.A., Miami University
  • B.A., Washington and Jefferson College

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 337 Invertebrate Zoology
  • BIOL 305 Aquatic Ecology
  • BIOL 348 Tropical Marine Ecology
  • INST 311 Chesapeake Bay
  • ENSP 210 Coastal Community Ecology
  • ENV 503 Pollution Biology


As a Professor in the Biology Department and Director of the Hood Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies, I have over 20 years of experience teaching biology and ecology in classrooms, laboratories, and a variety of field locations along the Eastern Seaboard from the Chesapeake Bay to South Florida and the Caribbean.

After graduating from Washington and Jefferson College, I obtained a Master’s degree at Miami University, and began my career as a faculty member of a small college in western Maryland.  This was followed by years of teaching and leading field excursions to field stations in the Caribbean. I formalized my practical introduction to marine science by completing a PhD degree at the University of Maryland in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Science.

Through research with students, I have investigated such diverse topics as the invasion ecology of freshwater crayfish, coral physiology, ultraviolet stress in cnidarians, and the ecology of cownose rays in the Chesapeake Bay. We regularly present our findings at regional and national scientific meeting and publish them in peer-reviewed journals such as Hydrobiologia, Journal of Applied Phycology, and Aquacultural Engineering.

I continue to combine my interests in marine science, research, and teaching by introducing people of all ages to ocean environments as a co-founder of the Society for Ocean Science, an educational and research non-profit with activities and projects from the Chesapeake Bay and mid-Atlantic throughout the Caribbean.

Research and Teaching Interests

My interests encompass many aspects of aquatic ecology and aquatic invertebrate biology. I have conducted surveys of stream benthic communities and studied the feeding dynamics of stream insects – particularly net-spinning caddisflies. I have also spent several years monitoring acid rain and its effects on a lake ecosystem. Most recently my work in freshwater ecology has been directed toward the invasion ecology of crayfish into the streams and rivers of central Maryland.

In marine systems I chiefly study the ecology of algal-invertebrate symbioses – namely corals and anemones. I am currently interested in the storage and metabolism of amino acids as a way of assessing the nature of the symbiotic relationship. This work has led to studies involving the enzymes of nitrogen incorporation in both the host and symbiont. Recently, I also have begun examining aspects of ultraviolet stress in these animals and their ability to repair DNA damaged by exposure to UV radiation.


  • Hudson, C.L. and M.D. Ferrier. 2009. Assessing ultraviolet radiation-induced DNA damage and repair in field-collected Aiptasia pallida using the comet assay. Proceedings of the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium , Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 7-11 July 2008 Session 5:133-137.
  • Waybright, T.J., D.E. Terlizzi, and M.D. Ferrier. 2008. Chemical characterization of the aqueous algistatic fraction of barley straw (Hordeum vulgare) inhibiting Microcystis aeruginosa. J. Appl. Phycol. (published online)
  • Sharrer M. J., Y. Tal, M.D. Ferrier, J. A. Hankins, and S. T. Summerfelt. 2007. Membrane biological reactor treatment of a saline backwash flow from a recirculating aquaculture system.
  • Ferrier, M.D., B.R. Butler, D.E. Terlizzi, and R.V. Lacouture. 2005. The effects of barley straw (Hordeum vulgare) on the growth of freshwater algae. Bioresource Technology 96: 1788-1795.