John F. Shea , BS, PhD
John F. Shea , BS, PhD

John F. Shea , BS, PhD

Assistant Professor
College of Arts and Sciences

Academic Appointments


  • Biology


  • Assistant Professor


  • B.S. in Biology, John Carroll University, University Heights. OH. (1997)
  • Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. (2003)
  • M.A. in Social Philosophy, Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2008)
  • Masters of Divinity, Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, CA. (2014)

Publications and Presentations


  • Shea, J.F. 2010. Do male and female beetles (Tenebrio molitor) respond differently to rat feces containing eggs from the tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta? Natural Science. doi:10.4236/ns.2010.28107., 2, 8, 855-859, 2010
  • Shea, J.F. 2007. Lack of preference for infective faeces in Hymenolepis diminuta-infected beetles (Tenebrio molitor)., Journal of Helminthology, 81, 293-99, 2007
  • Shea, J.F. 2005. Sex differences in frass production and weight change in Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera) infected with cysticercoids of the tapeworm Hymenolepis diminuta (Cestoda). DOI:, Journal of Insect Science, 5, 31, 2005
  • Shea, J.F. 2005. The effect of Hymenolepis diminuta (Cestoda) cysticercoids on the weight change, frass production, and food intake of the intermediate host, Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera)., Parasitology Research, 98, 1, 1-4, 2005
  • Conroy, J.D., Edwards, W.J., Pontius, R.A., Kane, D.D., Zhang, H., Shea, J.F., Richey, J.N. and Culver, D.A. 2005. Soluble nitrogen and phosphorus excretion of exotic freshwater mussels (Dreissena spp.): potential impacts for nutrient remineralisation in western Lake Erie., Freshwater Biology, 50, 1146-62, 2005
  • Shea, J.F. 2005. A survey of the Coleoptera associated with carrion at sites with varying disturbances in Cuyahoga County, Ohio., Ohio Journal of Science, 105, 2, 17-20, 2004


  • Shea, J.F. “A Tribute To a Worm” The Jesuit Post: #Faith #God #Frontiers #Culture #Mystery #Love. ed. Patrick Gilger. Orbis Press,, Orbis Press, 2014
  • Shea, J.F., Kersten, G. J., Puccia, C. M., Stanton, A. T., Stiso, S. N., Helgeson, E. S., Back, E. J. The use of parasites as indicators of ecosystem health as compared to insects in freshwater lakes of the Inland Northwest., Ecological Indicators, 13, 184-188, 2012


  • Shea, J.F., Barry, M. Mating Behavior of the Horsehair Worm, Paragordius varius (Nematomorpha). American Society of Parasitologists. San Antonio, TX. , 2017
  • Shea, J.F., Barry, M. Mating Behavior of the Horsehair Worm, Paragordius varius (Nematomorpha). Southwestern Association of Parasitologists. Lake Texoma, OK.
              , 2017
  • Jones, T.*, Tinant, J., West, R., Gasper, R., Shea J.F. Snail preference for nitrogen enriched water. Accelerating Innovative Urban Ideas in Water. Omaha, NE. 4/22/16 (Tyler Jones won an award for this presentation), 2016
  • Hanser, A.*, Hagen, S.*, West, R., Gasper, R., Shea J.F. Parasites as an Ecological Barometer. Nebraska Academy of Science. Lincoln, NE. 4/22/16, 2016
  • Hanser, A.*, Hagen, S.*, West, R., Gasper, R., Shea J.F. Parasites as an Ecological Barometer. Southwestern Association of Parasitologists. Lake Texoma, OK. 4/15/16, 2016
  • Tompson, A.* West, R., Gasper, R., Shea, J.F. Chaetogaster intensity and snail (Physa) size. Creighton St. Albert’s Day/University Research Day. Omaha, NE. 4/12/16, 2016
  • Member of a panel on Laudato Si at St. Michael's in Lincoln, NE. Presented talk: "Praying with Laudato Si", 2016
  • * Shea, J.F. Survey of Parasites and Their Hosts in Pine Ridge, SD: Where we didn’t find Echinococcus. Harold W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology Seminar Series. Lincoln, NE. 11/12/15, 2015
  • Shea, J.F. "Why Did God Create Mosquitoes? Reconciling Evolutionary Evil From the Perspective of Parasites," God’s Action in the World Clavius Society Symposium, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN., 2015
  • Student poster presentation: Ermer, J.*, Blaser, K., West, R., Shea, J.F. Survey of Bobcat Intestinal Helminths on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. American Society of Parasitogists. Omaha, NE., 2015
  • Shea, J.F. Diversity and Ends: Finding Parallels in the Mutuality and Acceptance Models with Evolutionary Biology. Engaging Particularities. Boston College. Boston, MA., 2013
  • Shea, J.F. Assessing the use of larval trematodes as indicators of ecosystem health in lakes of the Inland Northwest. Northern California Parasitologists Conference. San Francisco State University. Tiburon, CA., 2012
  • Koberstein, S., Shea, J.F. Agricultural impact on selected organs of Lymnaea stagnalis wasatchensis. West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference. Pacific Lutheran University. Tacoma, WA. [winner of Best Student Oral Presentation], 2011
  • Snider, C., Shea, J.F. Field study of heavy metal contaminants in the hepatopancreas of Lymnaea stagnalis wasatchensis snails. SIRC. Whitworth University. Spokane, WA., 2011

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • My research interests lie in two areas of Parasitology. First, I am interested in parasite-altered behavior of hosts. Parasites that require multiple hosts often employ strategies to increase the probability of transmission to their next host, including altering host behavior. I conduct lab experiments to study such questions using infected invertebrates. I also ask how chemicals such as fertilizers and heavy metals alter the normal behavior and growth of invertebrates. Second, I am interested in using parasites as indicators of ecosystem health. Some parasites such as trematodes have complicated life cycles involving multiple hosts. Thus, the presence of the parasite in an ecosystem suggests the presence of its hosts. Since larval trematodes are easily and quickly collected from their snail intermediate hosts this research holds promise for a cheap and accurate way to assess ecosystems.

Current Research Projects

  • I currently study the horsehair worm (Nematomorpha) with an emphasis on its ecology and behavior. These worms manipulate their terrestrial insect hosts into entering water where they exit the insect, mate and lay eggs.