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Dr Megan Huggett

Post Doctoral Fellow

Contact Information Telephone: +61 8 6304 2766, Email:, Campus: Joondalup, Room: JO19.337
Staff Member Details
Telephone: +61 8 6304 2766
Campus: Joondalup  
Room: JO19.337  


Megan is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Science and is a member of the Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research.


  • 2008-2011: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii
  • 2006-2007: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Kewalo Marine Laboratory, University of Hawaii
  • 2000-2005: PhD Student, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales
  • 1999: Technical Officer, Malacology Division, Australian Museum

Professional Memberships

  • Australian Marine Sciences Association

Awards and Recognition

National and International Research Positions

  • NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii
  • ONR Postdoctoral Fellow, Kewalo Marine Laboratory, University of Hawaii

Research Areas and Interests

My research focuses on the function and diversity of marine microbes, and falls into two themes:

Prokaryote-eukaryote interactions in the marine environment

  • Marine microbial communities are known to be important as cues for invertebrate larval settlement and recruitment. Understanding the types of cues that are important for successful settlement and recruitment of marine invertebrates such as sea urchins, molluscs, corals and polychaetes is a key area of marine science and is highly relevant to the management and understanding of marine habitats. My research focuses on the microbial community associated with coralline algae, and the role that these communities have in larval settlement of sea urchins.
  • Microbes are now known to play many important roles in the health of organisms such as sponges and corals, which host highly diverse and abundant microbial assemblages. Despite this, much of the function and diversity of these assemblages is currently unknown. My research focuses on the acquisition of microbial assemblages in early life history stages and the diversity of these groups across large biogeographical regions.

The function and diversity of bacterioplankton communities

  • I have been involved in several studies investigating the genome content and architecture of many numerically abundant bacterioplankton species via whole genome sequencing projects, as well as investigating bacterioplankton diversity in response to a large storm event, and across several coral atolls in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. With more than a billion microorganisms per litre of seawater, the biodiversity of microbial communities and the functional roles that they play in the marine environment are enormously significant.


  • PhD (Doctoral Degree), The University of New South Wales, 2006.


Recent Research Grants

  • Temporal and environmental patter of coral-Symbiodinium-bacteria network,  Equity Trustees Limited,  Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment,  2016 - 2018,  $7,000.
  • Marine Microbes,  Bioplatforms Australia,  Bioplatforms Australia - Grant,  2015 - 2017,  $293,972.
  • Characterising marine microbial diversity and function in key benthic habitats of Western Australia,  Edith Cowan University,  ECU Early Career Researcher Grant - 2013,  2013 - 2014,  $24,823.

Recent Publications (within the last five years)

Journal Articles

  • Fromont, J., Huggett, M., Lengger, SK., Grice, K., Schonberg, C., (2016), Characterization of Leucetta prolifera, a calcarean cyanosponge from south-western Australia, and its symbionts. The Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 96(2), 541-552, New York, USA, DOI: 10.1017/S0025315415000491.
  • Sawstrom, C., Hyndes, G., Eyre, B., Huggett, M., Fraser, M., Lavery, P., Thomson, P., Tarquinio, F., Steinberg, P., Laverock, B., (2016), Coastal connectivity and spatial subsidy from a microbial perspective. Ecology and Evolution, 6(18), 6662-6671, DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2408.
  • Yeo, S., Huggett, M., Eiler, A., Rappe, M., (2013), Coastal Bacterioplankton Community Dynamics in Response to a Natural Disturbance. PLOS One, 8(2), e56207, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056207.
  • Stat, M., Baker, A., Bourne, D., Correa, A., Forsman, Z., Huggett, M., Pochon, X., Skillings, D., Toonen, R., Van Oppen, M., Gates, R., (2012), Molecular delineation of species in the coral holobiont. Advances in Marine Biology, 63(1), 1-65, DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394282-1.00001-6.
  • Huggett, M., Rappe, M., (2012), Genome sequence of strain HIMB55, a novel marine gammaproteobacterium of the OM60/NOR5 clade. Journal of Bacteriology, 194(9), 2393-2394, DOI: 10.1128/JB.00171-12.
  • Huggett, M., Hayakawa, D., Rappe, M., (2012), Genome sequence of strain HIMB624, a cultured representative from the OM43 clade of marine Betaproteobacteria. Standards in Genomic Sciences, 6(1), 1-15, DOI: 10.4056/sigs.2305090.
  • Huggett, M., Rappe, M., (2012), Genome sequence of strain HIMB30, a novel member of the marine Gammaproteobacteria. Journal of Bacteriology, 194(3), 732-733, DOI: 10.1128/JB.06506-11.
  • Grote, J., Thrash, C., Huggett, M., Landry, Z., Carini, P., Giovannoni, S., Rappe, M., (2012), Streamlining and Core Genome Conservation among Highly Divergent Members of the SAR11 Clade. mBio, 3(5), e00252-12, DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00252-12.

Research Student Supervision

Co-principal Supervisor

  • Master of Science (Biological Sciences),  Predicting The Impact Of Future Climate Change On Ecologically Important Macroalgae

Associate Supervisor

  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Small-scale Biogeographic Patterns Of Benthic Bacterial And Ciliate Communities In The Saline Ponds Of Lake Macleod, North-western Australia
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