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Research Focus

Evolutionary and community ecology; coastal sustainability


Prof. Trussell’s research program currently focuses on a number of important issues in evolutionary, community and ecosystem ecology. These interests are being explored in a number of systems including rocky intertidal shores, old fields, and freshwater amphibian communities. In a nutshell, Prof. Trussell thinks interesting questions are far more important than interesting systems but, of course, if one can have both then things are that much better! Much of his current work emphasizes the evolutionary and ecological significance of predation risk, with an emphasis on the evolution of phenotypic plasticity and inducible defenses, the ecological significance of nonconsumptive predator effects, and the influence of trait-mediated indirect interactions on community dynamic and ecosystem function. However, he also spends a good amount of time on other topics including the factors influencing invasive and exotic plant diversity in terrestrial systems, the influence of species diversity on ecosystem function, and the impact of climate change on natural food webs.

Prof. Trussell’s research is highly collaborative and involves some outstanding colleagues including Oswald Schmitz (Yale University), Barney Luttbeg (Oklahoma State University), Matthew Bracken (Northeastern University), Steve Vollmer (Northeastern University), Lee Smee (Texas A&M), Jeremy Long (San Diego State University) and Osamu Kishida (Hokkaido University).

Research Overview

Evolutionary and community ecology; coastal sustainability

Selected Research Projects

  • Collaborative Research: Intertidal Community Assembly and Dynamics: Integrating Broad-scale Regional Variation in Environmental Forcing and Benthic-pelagic Coupling
    • – Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation
  • Collaborative Research: Using an Energetics Framework to Forecast the Interactive Effects of Abiotic and Biotic Stressors on Intertidal Mussels
    • – Co-Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation
  • Research Coordination Network: Evolution in Changing Seas
    • – Co-Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation

Selected Publications

  • S.C. Donelan, G.C. Trussell, The Effects of Embryonic Experience with Predation Risk Vary Across a Wave Exposure Gradient, Ecosphere, 10(4), 2019, e02676
  • C.M. Matassa, P.J. Ewanchuk, G.C. Trussell, Cascading Effects of a Top Predator on Intraspecific Competition at Intermediate and Basal Trophic Levels, Functional Ecology, 2018, 1-12
  • S.C. Donelan, G.C. Trussell, Parental and Embryonic Experiences with Predation Risk Affect the Behavior and Performance of their Offspring, Proceedings of Roy. Soc. B., 2018
  • S.C. Donelan, G.C. Trussell, Synergistic Effects of Parental and Embryonic Exposure to Predation Risk on Offspring Size at Emergence, Ecology, 99, 2018, 68-78
  • M.E.S. Bracken, J.G. Douglass, V. Perini, G.C. Trussell, Environmental Context and Scale Mediate the Effects of Biodiversity on Marine Primary Producers, Ecology, 98, 2017, 1434-1443
  • G.C. Trussell, C.M. Matassa, P.J. Ewanchuk, Moving Beyond Linear Food Chains: Trait-Mediated Indirect Interactions in a Rocky Intertidal Food Web, Proceedings of the Royal Society, 2017