Drew Ferrier

Drew Ferrier
  • Undergraduate Faculty
  • Graduate Faculty

Professor of Biology

Co-Chair, Department of Biology

Director, Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies

Director, Sustainability Studies

Hodson Science and Technology Center, Room 308E


Hello and welcome to my faculty web page. My name is Drew Ferrier. I’ve been at Hood for over 25 years! I wear several hats at Hood: I am a Professor of Biology and the Director of the Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies. I also run the Coastal Semester program which explores the Chesapeake Bay watershed during fall semesters. Most recently I began directing a new undergraduate program at Hood College in Sustainability Studies which focuses on the integration of the water-food-energy nexus. This new program emphasizes sustainable watershed practices, food system dynamics, and biofuels development from plant by-products.

Before coming to Frederick, I taught at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Garrett College, and the Hofstra University Marine Laboratory in Jamaica.  My degrees are in Biology, Zoology and Marine and Environmental Science. 

My wife, Sally, and I live about 20 minutes north of Frederick with a great view of the Catoctin Mountains.  We have two curious and playful cats: Kate and Cooper.  We enjoy the outdoors, frequent walks and hikes, and traveling when we get the chance. 

My teaching style emphasizes learning by doing.  I want to help students acquire new information and then put it to work for themselves and our community.  We all bring different perspectives to our classrooms and I welcome your thoughts and ideas. I’m always on the lookout for students that have curiosity, a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, and a willingness to become immersed in some aspect of science.  I’d be happy to meet you and talk about your plans for a professional future in environmental science or sustainability.


Research areas: marine and freshwater ecology, conservation and sustainability of watersheds, harmful algal blooms and their control, stream monitoring and assessment invertebrate adaptations, algal-invertebrate symbioses.

Teaching: marine and freshwater ecology, organismal physiology, tropical ecology, pollution biology, environmental science, watershed sustainability, Chesapeake Bay science.


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

Research - Past and Present 

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

Currently, the students and staff of the Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies are involved in science research and monitoring in several areas.

Cyanobacteria in Lakes and Riverscyanobacteria_0.jpg

We are investigating the origin, development, and control of harmful algal blooms in the freshwater systems throughout the region.   These organisms are primarily cyanobacteria (see the photomicrograph to the right)  which can, under the proper conditions, produce a variety of toxins. Nutrient enrichment and warm summer temperatures have made these blooms more frequent and severe – often leading to fishkills or the public safety hazards. 

In the photo below, one of the Center’s field crew is sampling Constitution Gardens Lake on the National Mall in DC for the presence of harmful algae.  We are conducting this monitoring program for the National Park Service.


The Benefits of Agricultural Best-Management Practices 

Nutrient enrichment of surface waters can often be traced to agricultural activities in the watershed.  There is currently much work being done on farms to reduce the runoff of nutrients and sediments.  The questions that we are trying to answer are: Are these new best-management practices working as we hope that they would?  If not, why not? To address these questions, we are currently leading a U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service-funded monitoring effort to assess waterways and agricultural best management practices in the Catoctin Creek Watershed within Frederick County.

veggies.jpgReducing Runoff through Urban Gardening 

Much of the rainfall in urban areas is immediately transported to local streams where it has a number of deleterious effects. Can we put that water to a better use? We think that it is possible. This has led us to address practices that mitigate urban runoff such as constructed wetlands and vegetable rain gardens. As part of the activities of the Frederick Food Security Network (a program within the Center), we have developed and are monitoring the operation of nearly a dozen “vegetable rain gardens” that channel rooftop runoff into a subsurface irrigation system to grow food for low income families.

It's getting Hot Out There! 

The Frederick area is changing.  On average temperatures on land and in the water are getting warmer.  Both droughts and severe precipitations events are increasing in frequency.  These changes have both natural and societal impacts that we are trying to document in our communities.  Warming and flooding streams are making it more difficult for cold-water species like brook trout to complete their life cycle. Higher temperatures in downtown Frederick put additional burdens on society – particularly in low income neighborhoods.  What can we do about these issues at a local scale to lessen their effects?

Would you like to become involved in these types of environmental research?  Please get in touch with me.  We are always happy to provide new students with hands-on experiences that complement their academic studies while at Hood.

Grants and Contracts 

Project STEM: Schoolyard Thermal Evaluation and Mitigation – NOAA B-Wet Program, $214,000 CoPI Claire Hudson

Mitigating Cyanobacteria Blooms in Constitution Gardens. National Park Service Chesapeake Watershed CESU –P16AC01639, $21,265

Monitoring Water Quality in Response to the Implementation of Conservation Practices in the Catoctin Creek Watershed, Frederick County - National Resource Conservation Service / USDA USDA-NRCS-MD-CTA-19-GEN0010337 - $78,985.00 – CoPI Susan Simonson

Interdisciplinary STEM Education and Mentoring for Transitioning to STEM Success (INTRANSIT) – NSF S-STEM Grant, - $650,000.00 – CoPI with several other Faculty (K. Bennett, PI)

Monitoring Lake Linganore and Lake Anita Louise with regard to Harmful Algal Blooms – Contract from the Lake Linganore Homeowners Association, CoPIs Kevin Sellner, Claire Hudson – $4000

Promoting Rotational Grazing in the Upper Potomac Watershed, MD, Chesapeake Bay Foundation - $3100.00 

Chesapeake Bay Trust, Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Grant Proposal - $65,000 - CoPIs Connie Ray, Claire Hudson

Stream Temperature Monitoring – Contract with the Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources, - $2984.00 – CoPIs Susan Simonson, Claire Hudson

Urban Heat Island Temperature Monitoring, Contract with the City of Frederick, Sustainability Office - $9000.00 – CoPIs Susan Simonson, Claire Hudson

Monocacy River Retrospective Data Analysis – The Ladner Foundation - $10,000.00 - CoPI Kevin Sellner

Recent Publications 

Ladeira Ázar, R.I.S, S.E. Bordignon-Junior, C. Laufer, C. Specht, D. Ferrier, and D. Kim, 2020. Effect of lignin content on cellulolytic saccharification of liquid hot water pretreated sugarcane bagasse. Molecules 25: 623.

Simonson, S., K. Stansfield, and D. Ferrier. 2020. City of Frederick Air Temperature Study. January 2019. CCWS Contribution #20-02, Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies, Hood College, Frederick, MD. 29pp.

Ferrier, D., G. Dimitoglou, K. Bisom & S. Simonson. 2020. Public Safety Training Facility BMP#123 Bathymetry & Sediment Estimate. CCWS Contribution #20-07, Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies, Hood College, Frederick, MD. 10pp

Sellner, K. and D. Ferrier. 2020.A Review of the Nanobubble Pilot Project in the Constitution Gardens Lake. 2020. CCWS Contribution #20-09, Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies, Hood College, Frederick, MD. 10 pp.

Sellner, K.G. and D. Ferrier. 2019. Lake Linganore Water Quality and Watershed Report 2019. CCWS Contribution #19-01, Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies, Hood College, Frederick, MD. 22pp.

Simonson, S. and D. Ferrier. 2019. City of Frederick Stream Temperature Study. December 2019. CCWS Contribution #19-02, Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies, Hood College, Frederick, MD. 14pp.