Ryan Ferrer photo

Ryan Ferrer

Associate Professor

Contact Information

Phone 206-281-2513
Email ferrer1@spu.edu
Office Eaton 106

Teaching Interests

General Biology, Environmental Physiology, Chemical Ecology, Tropical Biology, Bioscience

Research Interests

Keywords: Behavioral ecology, chemical defense and communication

Research in my lab examines the roles that chemical defense and chemical communication (smell and taste) play in shaping animal behavior and ecological interactions. Students have pursued research questions in freshwater streams and ponds, the rocky shores of Puget Sound, and understory habitat of local forests and have included a wide array of organisms including algae, fungi, arthropods, mollusks, echinoderms and vertebrates. See examples of student projects.


Ferrer, R. P., and R. K Zimmer. 2013. Molecules of keystone significance: Crucial agents in ecology and resource management. BioScience 63:428-438. Abstract

Ferrer, R. P., and R. K Zimmer. 2012. Community ecology and the evolution of molecules of keystone significance. Biological Bulletin 223: 167-177. Full text

Ferrer, R. P., and R.K. Zimmer. 2009. Chemical neuroecology and community dynamics. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1170: 450-455. Abstract

Zimmer, R. K., and R. P. Ferrer. 2007. Neuroecology, chemical defense and the keystone species concept. Biological Bulletin 213: 208-225. Full text

Ferrer, R. P., and R. K. Zimmer. 2007. The scent of danger: Arginine as an olfactory cue of reduced predation risk. Journal of Experimental Biology 210: 1768-1775. Full text

Ferrer, R. P., and R. K. Zimmer. 2007. Chemosensory reception, behavioral expression, and ecological interactions at multiple trophic levels. Journal of Experimental Biology 210: 1776-1785. Full text

Han, B. A., L. B. Kats, R. C. Pommerening, R. P. Ferrer, M. Murry-Ewers, and A. R. Blaustein. 2007. Behavioral avoidance of ultraviolet-B radiation by two species of Neotropical poisondart frogs. Biotropica 39: 433-435. Abstract

Zimmer, R. K., D. W. Schar, R. P. Ferrer, P. J. Krug, L. B. Kats, and W. C. Michel. 2006. The scent of danger: Tetrodotoxin as an olfactory cue of predation risk. Ecological Monographs 76: 585-600. Full text

Kats, L. B., and R. P. Ferrer. 2003. Alien predators and amphibian declines: Review of two decades of science and the transition to conservation. Diversity & Distributions 9: 99-110. Abstract


B.S. Biology, Pepperdine University
Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA
At SPU since 2007