Geoffrey C. Trussell

Geoffrey Trussell

Professor & Chair
Department of Marine & Environmental Science
Director, Marine Science Center
Curriculum Vitae


Research Interests

My 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, I think 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 our 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, we also spend 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.

My 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).


Publications (*corresponding author; graduate student author; §postdoctoral author – reprints provided upon request (

Trussell, G. C., C.M. Matassa, P. Ewanchuk. 2017. Moving beyond linear food chains: Trait-mediated indirect interactions in a rocky intertidal food web. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 284. 10.1098/rspb.2016.2590.

Schmitz, O., G. C. Trussell. 2016. Multiple stressors, state-dependence and predation risk — foraging trade-offs: toward a modern concept of trait-mediated indirect effects in communities and ecosystems. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences. 12. 10.1016/j.cobeha.2016.08.003.

Donelan, S. C., G.C. Trussell. 2015. Parental effects enhance risk tolerance and performance in offspring. Ecology. 96. 150313125000009. 10.1890/14-1773.1.

Benedetti-Cecchi, L., G.C. Trussell. 2014. Rocky intertidal communities. Pages 203-225 in M.D. Bertness, J.F. Bruno, B.R. Silliman, J.J. Stachowicz (eds.), Marine Community Ecology and Conservation. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA.

Miller, L., C.M. Matassa, G.C. Trussell. 2014. Climate change enhances the negative effects of predation risk on an intermediate consumer. Global change biology. 20. 10.1111/gcb.12639.

Matzelle, A.J., G. Sara, V. Montalto, M. Zippay, G.C. Trussell, B. Helmuth. 2014. A framework for integrating multiple stressors through metabolic theory: opening a ‘black box’ in climate change research. American Malacological Bulletin (in press).

Miller, L.P. §, C.M. Matassa, G.C. Trussell*. 2014. Climate change enhances the negative effects of predation risk on an intermediate consumer. Global Change Biology (in press).

Bryson, E.S., G.C. Trussell*, P.J. Ewanchuk§. 2014. Broad-scale geographic variation in the assembly of rocky intertidal communities in the Gulf of Maine. Ecological Monographs (in press).

Chu, N.D., S.T. Kaluziak, G.C. Trussell, S.V. Vollmer. 2014. Phylogenomic analyses reveal latitudinal population structure and polymorphism in heat stress genes in the North Atlantic snail Nucella lapillus. Molecular Ecology 23:1863-1873. doi:10.1111/mec.12681.

Silliman, B.R., M.W. McCoy, G.C. Trussell, C.M. Crain, P.J. Ewanchuk, M.D. Bertness. 2013. Non-linear interactions between consumers and flow determine the probability of plant community dominance on Maine rocky shores. PLoS ONE 8: e67625. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067625

Long, J.D. §, L. Porturas, E. Jones, C. Kwan, G.C. Trussell. 2013. Seaweed traits linked to wave-exposure determine predator avoidance. Marine Ecology Progress Series 483: 143-151.

Orrock, J.L., E.L. Preisser, J.H. Grabowski, G.C. Trussell. 2013. The cost of safety: refuges increase the impact of predation risk in aquatic systems. Ecology 94:573-579.

Luttbeg, B., G.C. Trussell. 2013. How the informational environment shapes the magnitudes of indirect effects and responses to environmental changes. American Naturalist 181:182-194.

Peacor, S.D., B.L. Peckarsky, G.C. Trussell, J.R. Vonesh. 2013. Costs of predator-induced phenotypic plasticity: A graphical model for predicting the contribution of nonconsumptive and consumptive effects of predators on prey. Oecologia 171:1-10.

Trussell, G.C., O.J. Schmitz. 2012. Species functional traits, trophic control, and the ecosystem consequences of adaptive foraging in the middle of food chains. Pages 718-755 in T. Ohgushi, O.J. Schmitz, R. Holt (eds.), Ecology and Evolution of Trait-mediated Indirect Interactions: Linking Evolution, Communities and Ecosystems. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Matassa, C.M., G.C. Trussell. 2011. Landscape of fear influences the relative importance of consumptive and nonconsumptive predator effects. Ecology 92: 2258-2266.

Trussell, G.C., C.M. Matassa, B. Luttbeg. 2011. The effects of variable predation risk on foraging and growth: less risk is not necessarily better. Ecology 92: 1799-1806.

Doellman, M.D., G.C. Trussell, J.W. Grahame, S.V. Vollmer. 2011. Phylogeographic analysis reveals a deep lineage split within North Atlantic Littorina saxatilis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278: 3175-3183. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.0346).

Schmitz, O.J., D. Hawlena, G.C. Trussell. 2010. Predator control of ecosystem nutrient dynamics. Ecology Letters 13:1199-1209.

Kishida, O., G.C. Trussell, A. Mougi, K. Nishimura.  2010.  Evolutionary ecology of inducible morphological plasticity in predator-prey interaction: toward the practical links with population ecology.  Population Ecology 52: 37-46.

Edgell, T.C.1, B.R. Lynch, G.C. Trussell1, A.R. Palmer.  2009.  Experimental evidence for the rapid evolution of behavioral canalization in natural populations. American Naturalist 174: 434-440 (1denotes equal contribution).  Featured as a Recommended [3.0] in Faculty of 1000.

Kishida, O., G.C. Trussell*, K. Nishimura, T. Ohgushi.  2009.  Inducible defenses in prey intensify predator cannibalism.  Ecology 90: 3150-3158. (*denotes corresponding author).

Altieri, A.H., G.C. Trussell*, P.J. Ewanchuk, G. Bernatchez, M.E.S. Bracken. 2009.  Consumer effects on diversity indirectly influence marine ecosystem functioning.  PLoS ONE 4(4): e5291. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005291. (*denotes corresponding author).

Long, J.D., G.C. Trussell, T. Elliman. 2009. Linking invasions and island biogeography: isolation and area effects on exotic and native plant diversity.  Ecology 90: 863-868 (Cover article).

Kishida, O., G.C. Trussell, K. Nishimura.  2009.  Top down effects on antagonistic inducible defense and offense.  Ecology 90: 1217-1226.

Schmidt, P.S., E.A. Serrao, G.A. Pearson, C. Riginos, P.D. Rawson, T.J. Hilbish, S.H. Brawley, G.C. Trussell, E. Carrington, D.S. Wethey, J.W. Grahame, F. Bonhomme, D.M. Rand.  2008.  Ecological genetics in the North Atlantic intertidal: environmental gradients and adaptation at specific loci.  Ecology 89: s91-s107.

Trussell, G.C., P.J. Ewanchuk, C.M. Matassa.  2008.  Resource identity modifies the influence of predation risk on ecosystem function.  Ecology 89: 2798-2807.

Peckarsky, B.L., P.A. Abrams, D. Bolnick, L.M Dill, J.H. Grabowski, B. Luttbeg, J.L. Orrock, S.D. Peacor, E.L. Preisser, O.J. Schmitz, G.C. Trussell.  2008.  Rewriting the textbooks: Considering non-consumptive effects in classic studies of predator-prey interactions.  Ecology 89: 2416-2425 (after first author order is alphabetical).

Schmitz, O.J., J.H. Grabowski, B.L. Peckarsky, E.L. Preisser, G.C. Trussell, J.R. Vonesh.  2008.  From individuals to ecosystem function: toward an integration of evolutionary and ecosystem ecology.  Ecology 89: 2436-2455 (after first author order is alphabetical).

Phifer-Rixey, M., M. Heckman, G.C. Trussell, P.S. Schmidt. 2008. Maintenance of clinal variation for shell color phenotype in the flat periwinkle Littorina obtusata. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 21: 966-978.

Kishida, O., G.C. Trussell, K. Nishimura.  2007.  Geographic variation in a predator-induced defense and its genetic basis.  Ecology 88: 1948-1954.  (Featured in ESA Bulletin).

Long, J.D.§, G.C. Trussell. 2007. Geographic variation in seaweed induced responses to herbivory. Marine Ecology Progress Series 333: 75-80.

Trussell, G.C., P.J. Ewanchuk§. 2007. Predator avoidance. Pages 439-442 in M.W. Denny, S.D. Gaines (eds.), Encyclopedia of Tidepools and Rocky Shores, University of California Press.

Trussell, G.C., M.P. Lesser, M.R. Patterson, S.J. Genovese. 2006. Depth-specific differences in the growth of the sponge Callyspongia vaginalis: the role of bottom-up effects. Marine Ecology Progress Series 323: 149-158.

Trussell, G.C., P.J. Ewanchuk, C.M. Mattassa.  2006a.  The fear of being eaten reduces energy transfer in a simple food chain.  Ecology 87: 2979-2984.

Trussell, G.C., P.J. Ewanchuk, C.M. Mattassa.  2006b.  Habitat effects on the relative importance of trait and density mediated indirect interactions.  Ecology Letters 9: 1245-1252. (Cover article).

Trussell, G.C., P.J. Ewanchuk, M.D. Bertness, B.R. Silliman.  2004.  Trophic cascades in rocky shore tide pools: distinguishing lethal and nonlethal effects.  Oecologia 139: 427-432.

Bertness, M.D., G.C. Trussell, P.J. Ewanchuk, B.R. Silliman, C. Mullan. 2004. Consumer controlled alternate community states on Gulf of Maine rocky shores.  Ecology 85: 1321-1331.

Bertness, M.D., G.C. Trussell, P.J. Ewanchuk§, B.R. Silliman. 2004. Reply to Petraitis and Dudgeon. Ecology 85: 1165-1167.

Trussell, G.C., P.J. Ewanchuk, M.D. Bertness.  2003.  Trait-mediated interactions in rocky intertidal food chains: predator risk cues alter prey feeding rates.  Ecology 84: 629-640.

Bertness, M.D., G.C. Trussell, P.E. Ewanchuk, B.R. Silliman.  2002.  Do alternate stable states exist in the Gulf of Maine rocky intertidal zone?  Ecology 83: 3434-3448.

Trussell, G.C. 2002. Evidence of countergradient variation in the growth of an intertidal snail in response to water velocity. Marine Ecology Progress Series 243: 123-131.

Trussell, G.C., M.O. Nicklin.  2002.  Cue sensitivity, inducible defense, and trade-offs in a marine snail.  Ecology 83: 1635-1647.

Trussell, G.C., P.J. Ewanchuk, M.D. Bertness.  2002.  Field evidence of trait-mediated indirect effects in a rocky intertidal food web.  Ecology Letters 5: 241-245.

Trussell, G.C., R.J. Etter. 2001. Integrating the genetic and environmental forces that shape the evolution of geographic variation in a marine snail. Genetica 112: 321-337.

Trussell, G.C.  2000.  Phenotypic clines, plasticity, and morphological trade-offs in an intertidal snail.  Evolution 54: 151-166.

Trussell, G.C.  2000.  Predator-induced morphological trade-offs in latitudinally-separated populations of Littorina obtusataEvolutionary Ecology Research 2: 803-822.

Trussell, G.C., L.D. Smith.  2000.  Induced defenses in response to an invading crab predator: An explanation of historical and geographic phenotypic change.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 97: 2123-2127.

Trussell, G.C.  1997.  Phenotypic plasticity in the foot size of an intertidal snail.  Ecology 78: 1033-1048.

Trussell, G.C. 1997b. Phenotypic selection in an intertidal snail: The effects of a catastrophic storm. Marine Ecology Progress Series 151: 73-79.

Trussell, G.C.  1996.  Phenotypic plasticity in an intertidal snail: The role of a common crab predator.  Evolution 50: 448-454.

Wheelwright, N.T., G.C. Trussell, J.P. Devine, R. Anderson. 1994. Sexual dimorphism and population sex ratios in juvenile Savannah Sparrows. Journal of Field Ornithology 65: 520-529.

Trussell, G.C., A.S. Johnson, S.G. Rudolph, E.S. Gilfillan. 1993. Resistance to dislodgement: Habitat and size-specific differences in morphology and tenacity in an intertidal snail. Marine Ecology Progress Series 100: 135-144.

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