Randall Hughes

Affiliated Faculty,  Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor,  Marine and Environmental Sciences
Associate Dean for Equity,  College of Science


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Research Focus

Marine biodiversity and conservation; genetic management for climate adaptation


Prof. Hughes is interested in understanding the causes and consequences of biodiversity within and across species.  She focuses on marine and estuarine systems because of the strong experimental tradition in these systems and the important ecosystem services they provide to humans.  The incredible productivity of marine ecosystems and our increasing impact and reliance on them makes marine ecology an ideal field for addressing questions of concern to basic and applied science.


  • PhD, Ecology (Marine Ecology), University of California-Davis, 2006
  • BA, Biology / Public Policy Analysis, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1997

Honors & Awards

  • Earth Leadership Fellow, Future Earth

Research Overview

Marine biodiversity and conservation; genetic management for climate adaptation

Hughes Lab, Marine Biodiversity and Conservation

Our lab is interested in the interactions among the numbers and identity of species, the genetic individuals that make up those species, the ecosystem services that they provide, and the people that benefit from and manage those services. We use a combination of lab and field experiments, molecular techniques, social science, and data synthesis to understand the causes and consequences of changes in marine biodiversity and how best to apply that information to marine habitat conservation and restoration.

Hughes Lab

Selected Research Projects

  • Northeastern University Nominated by the Northeast Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation GROWING the Northeastern LSAMP BD STARS Fellowship Pathway
    • – co-Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation
  • CAREER: Linking Genetic Diversity, Population Density, and Disease Prevalence in Marine Foundation Species: Integrating Research, Education, and Stakeholder Knowledge to Enhance Resilience of Seagrass and Oyster Ecosystems
    • – Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation Biological Oceanography
  • Ecological and Social Drivers of Mangrove Expansion and Restoration in the Future Gulf of Mexico
    • – Principal Investigator, National Academy of Sciences Healthy Ecosystems
  • Collaborative Research: Trait Differentiation and Local Adaptation to Depth within Meadows of the Foundation Seagrass Zostera Marina
    • – Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation Biological Oceanography

Selected Publications

  • Hughes, A.R., P. Edwards, J.H. Grabowski, S. Scyphers, S.L. Williams. 2020. Differential incorporation of Scientific Advances Affects Coastal Habitat Restoration Practice. Conservation Science and Practice 2:e305
  • Hughes, A.R., T.C. Hanley, J.E. Byers, J.H. Grabowski, T. McCrudden, M.F. Piehler, D.L. Kimbro. 2019. Genetic Diversity and Phenotypic Variation within Hatchery-Produced Oyster Cohorts Predict Size and Success in the Field. Ecological Applications 29:e01940.
  • Hughes, A.R., T.C. Hanley, A.F.P. Moore, C. Ramsay-Newton, R.A. Zerebecki, and E.E. Sotka. 2019. Predicting the Sensitivity of Marine Populations to Rising Temperatures. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 17:17-24
  • Hughes, A.R., J.H. Grabowski, H.M. Leslie, S. Scyphers, and S.L. Williams. 2018. Inclusion of Biodiversity in Habitat Restoration Policy to Facilitate Ecosystem Recovery. Conservation Letters 11:e12419
  • A.R. Hughes, J. Cebrian, K. Heck, J. Goff, T.C. Hanley, W.Scheffel, R.A. Zerebecki, Effects of Oil Exposure, Plant Species Composition, and Plant Genotypic Diversity on Salt Marsh and Mangrove Assemblages, Ecosphere, 9, 2018, e02207


Nov 02, 2022

2022 Stanford University Annual Assessment of Author Citations

The following COE professors are among the top scientists worldwide selected by Stanford University representing the top 2 percent of the most-cited scientists with single-year impact in various disciplines. The selection is based on the top 100,000 by c-score (with and without self-citations) or a percentile rank of 2% or above. The list below includes […]

Sara Wadia-Fascetti, Jackie Isaacs, Rangal Hughes, Richard Harris


Aug 30, 2022

Expanding the Bridge to Doctorate STARS Program

Vice Provost of the PhD Network & CEE Professor Sara Wadia-Fascetti, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs & MIE Professor Jacqueline Isaacs, CEE Affiliated Faculty Randall Hughes, and Associate Dean, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Richard Harris were awarded a $1M NSF grant to expand the Northeastern LSAMP BD STARS Fellowship Pathway.


Apr 09, 2019

FY20 TIER 1 Award Recipients

25 COE faculty and affiliates were recipients of FY20 TIER 1 Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grants for 18 different projects representing up to $900K dollars of investment in research.

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