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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 151
Office hours: Monday and Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. -noon


  • 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


Drew Ferrier is a professor in the biology department. He also directs a semester-long program in coastal studies. Professor Ferrier's teaching and research interests center on the ecology of aquatic systems - both freshwater and marine. He and his students are currently investigating such diverse topics as the invasion ecology of freshwater crayfish, coral physiology, ultraviolet stress in cnidarians, and the feeding ecology of cownose rays in the Chesapeake Bay. Both he and his students regularly present their findings at regional and national scientific meeting and publish them in peer-reviewed journals such as Hydrobiologia, Journal of Applied Phycology, and Aquacultural Engineering. Professor Ferrier earned a doctoral degree from the University of Maryland in Marine Science, a masters degree from Miami University in Zoology and a B.A. from Washington and Jefferson College in biology.

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.