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Dr Megan Huggett

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.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of New South Wales, 2006.


Recent Research Grants

  • Impact of nutrients and stormwater on periphyton in a shallow embayment,  Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (WA),  Sponsorship,  2017 - 2018,  $2,000.
  • Determining the cumulative effect of putative pathogenic microbes, high temperatures and herbivory on the ecologically important kelp, Ecklonia radiata,  Ecological Society of Australia,  Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment,  2017 - 2018,  $6,000.
  • Temporal and environmental patterns of Coral-Symbiodinium-bacteria networks,  Ecological Society of Australia,  Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment,  2017 - 2018,  $4,800.
  • Temporal and environmental patter of coral-Symbiodinium-bacteria network,  Ecological Society of Australia,  Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment,  2016 - 2018,  $7,000.
  • Latitudinal gradients of host associated microbial diversity,  Edith Cowan University,  ECU Collaboration Enhancement Scheme - 2016 Round 2,  2017 - 2018,  $10,000.
  • Marine Microbes,  Bioplatforms Australia,  Bioplatforms Australia - Grant,  2015 - 2018,  $293,972.
  • Revealing health and kinship in humpback whales using the microbiome of blow exhalation,  Edith Cowan University,  Edith Cowan University, School of Science Collaborative Research Grant Scheme, 2016 ? 2017,  2016 - 2017,  $7,500.
  • 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

  • Phelps, C., Boyce, M., Huggett, M., (2017), Future climate change scenarios differentially affect three abundant algal species in southwestern Australia. Marine Environmental Research, 126(2017), 69-80, DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2017.02.008.
  • Stat, M., Huggett, M., Bernasconi, R., Dibattista, JD., Berry, TE., Newman, S., Harvey, ES., Bunce, M., (2017), Ecosystem biomonitoring with eDNA: metabarcoding across the tree of life in a tropical marine environment. Scientific Reports, 7(1), Article No. 12240, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-12501-5.
  • Huggett, M., Kavazos, C., Bernasconi, R., Czarnik, R., Horwitz, P., (2017), Bacterioplankton assemblages in coastal ponds reflect the influence of hydrology and geomorphological setting. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 93(6), article no. fix067, Oxford, United Kingdom, Oxford University Press.
  • Kavazos, C., Huggett, M., Mueller, U., Horwitz, P., (2017), Biogenic processes or terrigenous inputs? Permanent water bodies of the Northern Ponds in the Lake MacLeod basin of Western Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research, 68(7), 1366-1376, Victoria, Australia, CSIRO Publishing, DOI: 10.1071/MF16233.
  • 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, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2408.
  • 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, Cambridge University Press, DOI: 10.1017/S0025315415000491.
  • 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.

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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