Joy Ward

Dean's Professor of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Ph.D., Duke University, 1997
Primary office:
Haworth Hall


Dr. Ward is interested in understanding how global change factors influence the physiology, population structure, and evolution of plants.

Research Interests

My research program aims to incorporate the effects of physiological and evolutionary responses of plants to environmental change, particularly changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration. I strive to explain these responses at the molecular, physiological, and evolutionary levels, since an understanding of primary mechanisms are critical for accurately predicting plant responses to future global change scenarios. Furthermore, by incorporating plant responses to past global changes that are recorded in the fossil record, my research provides unique perspectives into how plants may respond to long-term changes in the availability of fundamental plant resources. Such findings will be highly relevant to predicting the trajectory of plants in response to anthropogenic changes in [CO2] and climate, and for determining how to best sustain and conserve our current ecosystems.

Selected Publications

  • McLean BS, JK Ward, MJ Polito, SD Emslie. In press. Responses of alpine herbaceous plant assemblages to low glacial [CO2] revealed by fossil marmot
    (Marmota) teeth. Oecologia
  • Fuller BT, SM Fahrni, JM Harris, A Farrell, JB Coltrain, LM Gerhart, JK Ward, RE Taylor, JR Southon. In press. Ultrafiltration for asphalt removal from bone collagen for radiocarbon dating and isotopic analysis of Pleistocene fauna at the tar pits of Rancho La Brea. Quaternary Geochronology
  • Voelker, S.L., R. Brooks, F.C. Meinzer, R. Andeson, M. K-F Bader, G. Battipaglia, K.M. Becklin, D. Beerling, D. Bert, J.L. Beltancourt, T.E. Dawson, J. -C Domec, R.P. Guyette, C. Koerner, S.W. Leavitt, S. Linder, J.D. Marshall, M. Mildner, I. Panyushkina, H.J. Plumpton, K.S. Pregitzer, M. Saurer, A.R Smith, R.T.W. Siegwolf, M.C. Stambaugh, A.F. Talhelm, J.C. Tardif, P.K. Van de Water, J.K. Ward, and L. Wingate. 2015. A dynamic leaf gas-exchange strategy is conserved in woody plats under changing [C02] enrichment studies.  Global Change Biology 22(2): 889-902.
  • Becklin KM, JS Medeiros, K Sale, *JK Ward. 2014. Evolutionary history underlies plant physiological responses to global change since the Last Glacial
    Maximum. Ecology Letters: 17: 691-699
  • Basheer-salimia R, *JK Ward. 2014. Climate change and its effects on olive tree physiology in Palestine. Review Of Research: 3: 1-7
  • Medeiros JS, JK Ward. 2013. Increasing atmospheric [CO2] from glacial to future concentrations affects drought tolerance via impacts on leaves, xylem and their integrated function. New Phytologist: 199: 738-748.
  • Ward, J. K., D. S. Roy, I. Chatterjee, C. R. Bone, C. J. Springer, and J. K. Kelly. 2012. "Identification of a major QTL that alters flowering time at elevated [CO2] in Arabidopsis thaliana" PLoS ONE. 7. e49028.
  • Gerhart, L. M., J. M. Harris, J. B. Nippert, D. R. Sandquist, and J. K. Ward. 2012. "Glacial trees from the La Brea tar pits show physiological constraints of low CO2" New Phytologist. 194. 63-69.
  • Gerhart, L. M. and J. K. Ward. 2010. "Plant Responses to low [CO2] of the past. Tansley Review" New Phytologist. 188. 674-695.
  • Nippert, J. B., J. J. Butler, G. J. Kluitenberg, D. O. Whittemore, D. Arnold, S. E. Spal, and J. K. Ward. 2010. "Patterns of Tamarix water use during a record drought" Oecologia. 162. 283-292.
  • Nippert, J. B., M. B. Hooten, D. R. Sandquist, and J. K. Ward. 2010. "A Bayesian model for predicting El Niño events using tree-ring widths and cellulose δ18O" Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. 115. G01011.
  • Gonzalez-Meler, M. A., E. Blanc-Betes, C. E. Flower, J. K. Ward, and N. Gomez-Casanovas. 2009. "Plastic and adaptive responses of plant respiration to changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration" Physiologia Plantarum. 137. 473-484.
  • Ward, J. K., D. A. Myers, and R. B. Thomas. 2008. "Physiological and growth responses of C3 and C4 plants to reduced temperature when grown at low CO2 of the last ice age" Journal of Integrative Plant Biology. 50. 1388-1395.
  • Marchin RM, EL Sage, JK Ward. 2008. Population-level variation of Fraxinus americana L. (white ash) is influenced by precipitation differences across the native range. Tree Physiology 28: 151-159
  • Springer CJ, JK Ward. 2007. Flowering time and elevated CO2. Tansley Review. New Phytologist 176: 243-255 
  • Ward, J. K.. 2005. "Evolution and growth of plants in a low CO2 world" A History of Atmospheric CO2 and Its Effects on Plants, Animals, and Ecosystems. edited by Ehleringer, J. R., T. E. Cerling, and D. Dearing. 232-257.
  • Ward, J. K., J. M. Harris, T. E. Cerling, A. Wiedenhoeft, M. J. Lott, M. Dearing, J. B. Coltrain, and J. R. Ehleringer. 2005. "Carbon starvation in glacial trees recovered from the La Brea tar pits" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 102. 690-694.
  • Ward, J. K. and J. K. Kelly. 2004. "Scaling up evolutionary responses to elevated CO2: lessons from Arabidopsis" Ecology Letters. 7. 427-440.



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