Joy Ward is the Dean's Professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is the Associate Dean of Science Research at the University of Kansas.  She joined the faculty in 2003 and has made major advances in understanding plant responses to a rapidly changing global environment. By incorporating the fossil record, she has provided novel insights into how plants have responded to long-term environmental changes since the last glacial period. She has had long-term funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, United States Department of Agriculture, and Department of Energy. She has received a number of awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the University of Kansas Scholarly Achievement Award, the Thelma and Edward Wohlgemuth Faculty Scholar Award, the K. Barbara Schowen Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, and she was named a KU Woman of Distinction. She also served as Chair for the Frontiers of Science Symposium in Japan and Saudi Arabia that is sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences and she has served as a U.S. State Department science delegate to Uzbekistan. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Kansas University Center for Research and is on the advisory board of the iPASS initiative through the Department of Energy. Currently, she is a candidate in the national Food Systems Leadership Institute and was a KU Senior Administrative Fellow at the University of Kansas.  

Lab Website:

Research Areas:
Environmental Plant Biology, Evolution, Physiology


(*Students and post-docs trained in my lab are underlined)

Carter JM, ME Orive, LM Gerhart, JH Stern, RM Marchin, J Nagel, JK Ward. 2017.

Warmest extreme year in U.S. history alters thermal requirements for tree phenology. Oecologia 183: 1197-1210

Becklin KM, MS Walker, D Way, JK Ward. 2016. CO2 studies remain key for understanding a future world. New Phytologist 214: 34-40

Becklin KM, JT Anderson, L Gerhart, S Wadgymar, CA Wessinger, JK Ward. 2016.

Examining plant physiological responses to climate change through an evolutionary lens. Plant Physiology 172: 635-649

Becklin KM, G Mullinix, Ward JK. 2016. Host plant physiology and mycorrhizal functioning shift across a glacial through future [CO2] gradient. Plant Physiology 172: 789-801

Walker LR, DW Hoyt, SM Walker II, JK Ward, CD Nicora, K Bongol. 2016. Unambiguous metabolite identification in high-throughput metabolomics by hybrid 1D 1 H NMR/ESI MS 1 approach. Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry DOI: 10.1002/mrc.4503

Voelker S, R Brooks, F Meinzer, R Anderson, M Bader, G Battipaglia, K Becklin, D Beerling, D Bert, J Betancourt, T Dawson, J-C Domec, R Guyette, C Koerner, S Leavitt, S Linder, J Marshall, M Mildner, I Panyushkina, H Plumpton, K Pregitzer, M Saurer, A Smith, R Siegwolf, M Stambaugh, A Talhelm, J Tardif, P Van de Water, JK Ward, L Wingate. 2015. A dynamic leaf gas-exchange strategy is conserved in woody plants under changing CO2: evidence from carbon isotope discrimination in paleo and CO2 enrichment studies. Global Change Biology, doi:10.1111/gcb.13102

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

McLean BS, JK Ward, MJ Polito, SD Emslie. 2014. Responses of alpine herbaceous plant assemblages to low glacial [CO2] revealed by fossil marmot (Marmota) teeth.

Oecologia 175: 1117-1127

Fuller BT, Fahrni SM, Harris JM, Farrell A, Coltrain JB, Gerhart LM, Ward JK, Taylor RE, Southon JR. 2014. 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 22: 85-98

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 JK, D Samanta Roy, I Chatterjee, CR Bone, CJ Springer, JK Kelly. 2012. Identification of a major QTL that alters flowering time at elevated [CO2] in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plos ONE 7: e49028

Basheer-Salimia R, M Awad, JK Ward. 2012. Assessments of biodiversity based on molecular markers and morphological traits among West-Bank, Palestine fig genotypes (Ficus carica L.). American Journal of Plant Sciences 3: 1241-1251

Gerhart LM, JM Harris, JB Nippert, DR Sandquist, JK Ward. 2012. Glacial trees from the La Brea tar pits show physiological constraints of low CO2. New Phytologist 194: 63- 69

Gerhart, LM, JK Ward. 2010. Plant Responses to low [CO2] of the past. Tansley Review.

New Phytologist 188: 674-695

Lewis JD, JK Ward, DT Tissue. 2010. Phosphorus supply drives nonlinear responses of cottonwood (Populus deltoides) to glacial through future [CO2]. New Phytologist 187: 438-448

Nippert JB, MB Hooten, DR Sandquist, JK Ward. 2010. A Bayesian model for predicting El NiƱo events using tree-ring widths and cellulose d18O. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 115: G01011

Nippert JB, JJ Butler Jr, GJ Kluitenberg, DO Whittemore, D Arnold, SE Spal, JK Ward. 2010. Patterns of Tamarix water use during a record drought. Oecologia 162: 283- 292

Gonzalez-Meler MA, E Blanc-Betes, CE Flower, JK Ward, N Gomez-Casanovas. 2009. Plastic and adaptive responses of plant respiration to changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Physiologia Plantarum 137: 473-484

Ward JK, DA Myers, RB 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

Springer CJ, RA Orozco, JK Kelly, JK Ward. 2008. Elevated CO2 influences the expression of floral-initiation genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. New Phytologist 178: 243-255

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 JK, JM Harris, TE Cerling, A Wiedenhoeft, MJ Lott, M-D Dearing, JB Coltrain, JR 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 (mentioned in the New York Times)

Ward JK. 2005. Evolution and growth of plants in a low CO2 world. In: A History of Atmospheric CO2 and Its Effects on Plants, Animals, and Ecosystems, eds: Ehleringer J, T Cerling and D Dearing. Springer-Verlag, pp. 232-257

Ward JK, J Kelly. 2004. Scaling up evolutionary responses to elevated CO2: Lessons from Arabidopsis. Ecology Letters 7: 427-440

Dawson TE, JK Ward, JR Ehleringer. 2004. Temporal Scaling of physiological responses from gas exchange to tree rings: a gender-specific study with boxelder. Functional Ecology 18: 212-222

Coltrain JB, JM Harris, TE Cerling, JR Ehleringer, M-D Dearing, JK Ward, J Allen. 2004.

Rancho La Brea stable isotope biogeochemistry and its implications for the paleoecology of late Pleistocene, coastal southern California. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 205: 199-219

Ward JK, TE Dawson, JR Ehleringer. 2002. Responses of Acer negundo genders to inter- annual differences in water availability determined from carbon isotope ratios of tree ring cellulose. Tree Physiology 22: 339-346

Ward JK, J Antonovics, RB Thomas, BR Strain. 2000. Is atmospheric CO2 a selective agent on model C3 annuals? Oecologia 123: 330-341

DeLucia EH, RB Thomas, JK Ward. 1999. Critical assessment of the response of forest ecosystems to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide. Tree Physiology 19

Ward JK, BR Strain. 1999. Elevated CO2 Studies: Past, present and future. Tree Physiology 19: 211-220

Ward JK, DT Tissue, RB Thomas, BR Strain. 1999. Comparative responses of model C3 and C4 plants to drought in low and elevated CO2. Global Change Biology 5: 857-867

Ward JK, BR Strain. 1997. Effects of low and elevated CO2 partial pressure on the growth and reproduction of Arabidopsis thaliana from different elevations. Plant, Cell and Environment 20: 254-260

Dippery JK (maiden name), DT Tissue, RB Thomas, BR Strain. 1995. Effects of low and elevated CO2 on C3 and C4 annuals. I. Growth and biomass allocation. Oecologia 101: 13-20

Current Affiliations
Experience & Education