Brent B. Hughes

Assistant Professor

Brent Hughes
Brent B. Hughes


Darwin 219

Office Hours

10:00 am-12:00 pm


Ph.D. University of California Santa Cruz (2014) 

Postdoctoral Experience:
David H. Smith Research Conservation Fellow - Duke University (2015-2017), University of Washington Friday Harbor Labs Postdoctoral Fellow (2018), UC Santa Santa Cruz (2015)

Research Interests:
Community Ecology, Marine Ecology, Conservation, Coastal Ecosystems, Food Webs

Research Program:
Research in my lab seeks to determine the processes that affect the stability of coastal ecosystems. My research centers around coastal habitats – seagrass, salt marsh, and kelp (aka foundation species) – which provide valuable ecosystem services, yet are threatened by human activities. Currently my research focuses on four themes: 1) the consequences of predator recovery on the functioning and stability of ecosystems, 2) the relative influence of climatic drivers and anthropogenic threats of coastal ecosystems, 3) the role of foundation species in structuring nearshore diversity and functioning and in turn the drivers maintaining foundation species stability, and 4) informing management and restoration on the processes that drive ecosystem resilience.

Course Offerings:
BIOL 333 - Ecology
BIOL 335 - Marine Ecology
BIOL 497 - Biological Statistics in R

Selected Publications & Presentations

Silliman, B.R., B.B. Hughes, L.C. Gaskins, Q. He, M.T. Tinker, A. Read, J. Nifong, R. Stepp. 2018. Are the ghosts of nature past haunting conservation today? Current Biology 28:R532-R537

Toft, J., S. Munsch, J. Cordell, K. Siitari, V. Hare, B. Holycross, L. DeBruyckere, C. Greene, B.B. Hughes. 2017. Impact of multiple Stressors on estuarine nursery function across the northeast Pacific coast. Global Change Biology 24:2008-2020.

Hughes, B.B., S.C. Lummis, S.C. Anderson, K.J. Kroeker. 2017. Unexpected resilience of a seagrass system exposed to global stressors. Global Change Biology 24:224-234.

Hughes, B.B., R. Beas-Luna, et al. 2017. Long-term studies contribute disproportionately to ecology and policy. BioScience 67:271-281.

Eby, R., R.S. Scoles, B.B. Hughes, K. Wasson. 2017. Serendipity in a salt marsh: detecting frequent sea otter haul outs in a marsh ecosystem. Ecology 98:2975-2977.

Hughes, B.B., K. Hammerstrom, N. Grant, U. Hoshijima, R. Eby, K. Wasson. 2016. Trophic cascades on the edge: fostering seagrass resilience via a novel pathway. Oecologia 182:231-241.

Wasson, K., B.B. Hughes, A. Chang, A. Deck, P. Dinnel, S. Dudas, M. Ferner, E. Grosholz, D. Kimbro, J. Ruesink, A. Trimble, D. Vander Schaaf, C. Zabin, D. Zacherl. 2016. Coastwide recruitment of Olympia oysters: spatial scales of synchrony and predictors of recruitment failure. Ecology 97:3503-3516.

Hughes, B.B., M. Levey, M. Fountain, A. Carlisle, F. Chavez, M. Gleason. 2015. Climate mediates threats to fish diversity and nursery function at the land-sea interface. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 112:8025-8030.

Hughes, B.B., R. Eby, E. Van Dyke, M.T. Tinker, C. Marks, K.S. Johnson, K. Wasson. 2013.Recovery of a top predator mediates negative eutrophic effects on seagrass. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110:1513-1518.

Hughes, B.B. 2010. Variable effects of a kelp foundation species on rocky intertidal diversity and species interactions in central California. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 393:90-99.