Graduate Research Fellow (2011-2014)
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of California, Santa Cruz
Brent is exploring the drivers of ecological communities at the land/sea interface. This work focuses on the relationship between the seagrass Zostera marina and ephemeral algae, and the natural and anthropogenic factors that influence their interaction. The motivation for this work has been the observation that certain populations of Zostera in California are able to persist despite intense eutrophication. This goes against the current paradigm that eutrophication (i.e. increased macroalgal and phytoplankton blooms), generally leads to a shift in dominance of primary producer communities from seagrass to ephemeral algae. In addition to studying seagrass, Brent is exploring the consequences of nutrient enrichment and eutrophication on the nursery function of estuaries.
University of California, Santa Cruz researcher Brent Hughes (seen here beneath net) and two student research volunteers use a beach seine net to capture and survey populations of perch and flatfish at lower Elkhorn Slough. Photo © Kiliii Yuyan, The Nature Conservancy Magazine