Scott W. Shumway

Bojan Jennings Professor of Biology


Phone: 508-286-3945


Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University
B.S., Biology and Environmental Studies, Tufts University


Main Interests

I am an ecologist with broad interests in coastal plant communities (salt marshes, sand dunes, and mangroves), vernal pool amphibians and invertebrates, coral reef communities, tropical rainforest plants, and conservation biology.

Other Interests

Board of Directors (2007-present) of the Westborough Community Land Trust.

Former member of the Town of Westborough Open Space Preservation Committee (2002-2007) and Conservation Commission (1998-2004).

Nature photography, gardening, and birdwatching.


Teaching Interests

I teach Plant Biology, Freshwater and Marine Botany, Marine Biology, Vernal Pool Conservation Biology, Tropical Field Biology, and Environmental Science.

Professor McCafferty and I offer Tropical Field Biology, a two-week course taught in Belize and Costa Rica.  (See course description on the Course Catalog).

I am also an academic advisor for the Environmental Science major and Environmental Studies minor.

I am interested in the campus trees for their aesthetic beauty and as a teaching tool in my botany classes. My students and I are placing display labels on many of the campus trees. Working as Wheaton Research Partners, Dan Foxman (class of 2002) and I created The Virtual Tree Walk, a tour of notable trees of the Wheaton College campus. Each spring I lead the Holcombe Austin Tree Walk as part of alumni/graduation weekend. I also lead tree walks for classes and community groups.

Student Projects

“The Efficacy of Biological Control Methods in the Wheaton College Greenhouses.” Senior honors thesis by Audrey Sager (2009).

“An Analysis of State-listed Rare Species in the Wheaton College Herbarium.” Senior honors thesis by Alexandra Sabella (2008).

“Development of Ecological Management Plans for Conservation Lands in Westborough, Massachusetts with Emphasis on Invasive Species Control.” Senior honors thesis by Ashley Young (2007).

“Do shell repair scars protect snails against future attacks by shell crushing predators?’ Independent research project by Alex Adams (2005).

“Got Crabs? The impact of the introduced crab species Hemigrapsus sanguineus at Mount Hope Bay in Rhode Island.” Senior honors thesis by Hilary Rogers (2004).

“Determining causes of differential growth of Solidago sempervirens over a marsh-dune gradient.” Senior honors thesis by Lelia Mitchell (1998).

“Plant flood tolerances in interdunal swales.” Senior honors thesis by Catherine Banks (1997).

Vernal Pool Certification in Norton and Westborough, MA. Independent projects involving over 20 students.

Research Interests

I spent 10 years writing my first, and maybe only, book.Naturalist’s Guide to the Atlantic Seashore: Beach Ecology from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras was published as a Falcon Guide by Globe-Pequot Press in 2008. It is a guide to the ecology of coastal ecosystems, including rocky shores, sandy beaches, estuaries, salt marshes, tidal flats, and the open ocean. Naturalist’s Guide to the Atlantic Seashore is written for a general audience, but can be used as a textbook for marine biology classes. The book is fully illustrated with 300 color photographs, about half of which were taken by me. The book is best enjoyed on a warm summer day while sitting beneath the shade of a beach umbrella with your toes in warm sand and the sound of waves crashing in the background.

I recently completed Rainforest Plants, a website designed to teach undergraduates about tropical plant families.

My research focuses on the population and community ecology of plants growing in interdunal swale communities on Cape Cod. Swale communities are located in damp depressions between coastal sand dunes and support dense growth of wetland plant species. My initial research on Sandy Neck, a barrier beach in Barnstable, MA, distinguished several different types of swale communities based on their plant species compositions. Subsequent research has been aimed at elucidating the roles of plant tolerance to waterlogged soils and soil seed banks in determining the distribution patterns of species within and between swales.

I am one of the founders of the Wheaton College Vernal Pool Research Team which studies the biology of vernal pool amphibians and invertebrates. I sponsor student research projects on vernal pools and have supervised the certification of over 40 vernal pools.





Mars Center for Science and Technology 2135