Mark Hixon

Sidney & Erica Hsiao Endowed Professor of Marine Biology,

Chair of Zoology Graduate Program

Marine ecology and conservation biology, especially involving fishes on coral reefs




EDM 417


(808) 956-6427


(808) 956-4745

Academic Degrees

BA 1973, MA 1974, PhD 1979 University of California at Santa Barbara

Awards & Honors

In 2004, Mark was honored by ISI Citation Index as the most cited scientific author in the Northern and Western Hemispheres regarding coral reef ecology during the past decade.  In 2016, he was honored an an inaugural Fellow of the International Society for Reef Studies.  A Fulbright Senior Scholar and Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Fellow, Mark serves as a subject-matter editor for the scientific journals Ecology, Ecological Monographs, and PeerJ, as a member of the editorial board of Coastal Management, and as an ad hoc editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  He was an executive appointee of both the Clinton and Bush administrations to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee, which he chaired for 3 years.  He has also served on the National Science Foundation Geosciences Advisory Committee as chair of the ocean science subcommittee.  Regularly involved in scientific outreach, Mark has on-line TEDx talks on coral reef conservation and the lionfish invasion.

Research Interests

Mark started his position as the Sidney and Erica Hsiao Endowed Chair in Marine Biology in January 2013.  He began his research on the ecology of coral reefs as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Hawai`i from 1979 to 1981.  After another postdoc at U.C. Irvine, he was a professor of marine ecology and conservation biology at Oregon State University from 1984 through 2012.  Mark’s research spans the behavioral, population, and community ecology of coastal marine fishes, increasingly in the context of conservation biology, and occasionally fisheries ecology.  His projects emphasize undersea research, especially involving controlled field experiments.  Mark has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers on field projects in California, Oregon, Hawai`i, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, the Great Barrier Reef, and French Polynesia.  His research has helped to clarify mechanisms that naturally regulate populations and sustain biodiversity in the sea, topics of vital importance to managing fisheries and conserving species.  Projects in Hawai'i include linking local ecology to larval dispersal of reef fishes (marine metacommunity ecology), as well as documenting the interactions among structural shelter for fishes, reef fish abundances, and the structure of reef benthic communities (coral reef ecological resilience).  In 2016, Mark co-organized a joint show by scientists and artists at the Honolulu Art Museum:  ArtSci: Where Art and Science Meet.

Selected Publications

Dr. Hixon's publications since arriving at UH in 2013 (to download these and prior papers, please see Dr. Hixon's professional web page [see link above]):

Albins, M.A., and M.A. Hixon.  2013.  Worst case scenario: potential long-term effects of invasive predatory lionfish (Pterois volitans) on Atlantic and Caribbean coral-reef communities.  Environmental Biology of Fishes 96: 1151-1157.

Carr, M.H., D.P. Malone, M.A. Hixon, S.J. Holbrook, and R.J. Schmitt.  2013.  How SCUBA changed our understanding of nature: underwater breakthroughs in reef fish ecology.  Smithsonian Contributions to the Marine Sciences 39: 157-167.

Côté, I.M., S.J. Green, and M.A. Hixon.  2013.  Predatory fish invaders: insights from Indo-Pacific lionfish in the western Atlantic and Caribbean.  Biological Conservation 164: 50-61.  [“Editor’s Choice” for free downloading]

Christie, M.R., and M.A. Hixon.  2014.  Patterns of reef-fish larval dispersal in Exuma Sound, Bahamas.  Pages 225-227 in G.C. Ray and J. McCormick-Ray. Marine Conservation: Science, Policy, and Management.  Wiley-Blackwell; West Sussex, UK.

Cure, K., J.L. McIlwain, and M.A. Hixon.  2014.  Habitat plasticity in native Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans) facilitates successful invasion of the Atlantic.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 506: 243-253.

Hixon, M.A.  2014.  How do so many kinds of coral-reef fishes coexist?  Pages 109-110 in G.C. Ray and J. McCormick-Ray.  Marine Conservation: Science, Policy, and Management.  Wiley-Blackwell; West Sussex, UK.

Hixon, M.A., and M.A. Albins.  2014.  Invasion of Bahamian coral reefs by predatory Pacific red lionfish.  Pages 215-218 in G.C. Ray and J. McCormick-Ray. Marine Conservation: Science, Policy, and Management.  Wiley-Blackwell; West Sussex, UK.

Hixon, M.A., D.W. Johnson, and S.M. Sogard.  2014.  BOFFFs:  on the importance of conserving old-growth age structure in fishery populations.  ICES Journal of Marine Science 71: 2171-2185.  [invited contribution to special issue on 100th anniversary of Hjort 2014]

Pusack, T.J., M.R. Christie, D.W. Johnson, C.D. Stallings, and M.A. Hixon.  2014.  Spatial and temporal patterns of larval dispersal in a coral-reef fish metapopulation: evidence of variable reproductive success.  Molecular Ecology 23: 3396-3408.

Schimel, D., D.R. Strong, and ca.100 co-authors.  2014.  Editors are editors, not oracles.  Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 95:342-346.

Sikkel, P.C., L.J. Tuttle, K. Cure, A.M. Coile, and M.A. Hixon.  2014.  Low susceptibility of invasive red lionfish (Pterois volitans) to a generalist ectoparasite in both its introduced and native ranges.  PLoS One 9(5): e95854. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095854.

Hixon, M.A.  2015.  Predation: piscivory and the ecology of coral-reef fishes.  Pages 41-52 in C. Mora (ed.) Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs.  Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, UK.

Hixon, M.A.  2015.  Reef fishes, seaweeds, and corals: a complex triangle.  Pages 195-215 in C. Birkeland (ed.) Coral Reefs in the Anthropocene.  Springer Science; New York, New York.

Johnson, D.W., M.R. Christie, C.D. Stallings, T.J. Pusack, and M.A. Hixon.  2015.  Using post-settlement demography to estimate larval survivorship: a coral reef fish example.  Oecologia 179:729-739.

Ramos-Ascherl, Z., E.H. Williams, L. Bunkley-Williams, L.J. Tuttle, P.C. Sikkel, and M.A. Hixon.  2015.  Parasitism in Pterois volitans (Scorpaenidae) from coastal waters of Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.  Journal of Parasitology 101:50-56.

Sale, P.F., and M.A. Hixon.  2015.  Addressing the global decline in coral reefs and forthcoming impacts on fishery yields.  Pages 7-15 in S.A. Bortone (ed.) Interrelationships Between Corals and Fisheries.  CRC Press; Boca Raton, Florida.

Wilcox, C.L., and M.A. Hixon.  2015.  False positive tests for ciguatera may derail efforts to control invasive lionfish.  Environmental Biology of Fishes 98:961-969.

[last updated 12/8/15]

Graduate Students:

Erik Brush, NSF Graduate Research Fellow (PhD, entered 2015)

Eric Dilley (PhD, entered 2015)

Ryan Jones, NSF Graduate Research Fellow (PhD, entered 2016)