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Randall Hughes

Affiliated Faculty,  Civil and Environmental Engineering
Associate Professor,  Marine and Environmental Sciences



  • 781.581.7370 x314

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Research Focus

Marine Community Ecology and Biodiversity


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

Research Overview

Marine Community Ecology and Biodiversity

Selected Research Projects

  • 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
  • Effects of Genetic Diversity, Epigenetic Change, and Root-Associated Fungal Colonization on Trait Variation in the Foundation Plant Spartina alterniflora
    • – Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation
  • 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

  • A.R. Hughes, T.C. Hanley, J.E. Byers, J.H. Grabowski, T. McCrudden, M.F. Piehler, D.L. Kimbro, Genetic Diversity and Phenotypic Variation within Hatchery-Produced Oyster Cohorts Predict Size and Success in the Field, Ecological Applications, 2019, e01940
  • A.R. Hughes, T.C. Hanley, A.F.P. Moore, C. Ramsay-Newton, R.A. Zerebecki, E.E. Sotka, Predicting the Sensitivity of Marine Populations to Rising Temperatures, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 17, 2019, 17-24
  • A.R. Hughes, J.H. Grabowski, H.M. Leslie, S. Scyphers, S.L. Williams, Inclusion of Biodiversity in Habitat Restoration Policy to Facilitate Ecosystem Recovery, Conservation Letters, 11(3), 2018, 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


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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