Jan A. Pechenik

Jan A. Pechenik

Robinson Hall, Room 362
200 College Avenue Medford, MA


  • BA, Zoology, Duke University
  • PhD, Biological Oceanography, University of Rhode Island


Marine Biology and Invertebrate Development

Research Interests

Graduate Research Area: Ecology, Behavior and Evolution

Marine invertebrates show a remarkable range of reproductive and developmental patterns. I am especially interested in understanding the costs and benefits associated with these different patterns. Our research is driven by the questions we ask, rather than by the features of any particular group of animals. One of my lifetime goals is to publish one paper on every major animal group. I still need to do studies on sponges, cnidarians, and nematodes: I'm open to collaboration!  Over the years, I have worked with gastropods, bivalves, chitons, polychaetes, crustaceans, parasitic flatworms, colonial ascidians, and bryozoans. The research presently going on in my lab considers the following major issues:

  1. To what extent do sublethal stresses (e.g., food limitation, exposure to pollutants, delayed metamorphosis, ocean acidification) experienced by larvae affect the fitness of individuals after they metamorphose?
  2. What role does nitric oxide play in controlling metamorphosis of the marine gastropod Crepidula fornicata.
  3. How are slipper limpets (Crepidula fornicata) adapted for life in the intertidal zone? What are the physiological differences between intertidal and subtidal individuals of this species.
  4. How is metamorphosis controlled in the marine pollution-indicating polychaete Capitella teleta?
  5. Why is Crepidula plana less successful than C. fornicata as an invader?

Teaching/Courses Taught

Bio 164: Marine Biology
Bio 179: Marine Biology Seminar
Bio 51: Experiments in Ecology