Duffy Home Page

J. Emmett Duffy

Affiliated Scholar

Department:: Biological Sciences

Curriculum Vitae

Emmett Duffy's CV (.pdf)

Emmett Duffy's Bio (.doc)

Evolutionary biology; biodiversity
  • B.S. magna cum laude, Spring Hill College
  • M.S., University of Maine
  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests

Visit our Marine Biodiversity Lab website -- and the Zostera Experimental Network (ZEN) site.

Visit the SeaMonster blog.

Follow me on twitter.

I am broadly interested in the diversity of marine life: where it comes from, what keeps it ticking, and how diverse living organisms create the natural products and services that human lives and economies depend on. Understanding these issues involves answering questions about evolution like: How and why do new species arise? And questions about basic ecology such as: What factors determine whether and which species end up living together?  How do the types of species present influence how ecosystems work, and the products and services they provide to us? Finally and most importantly, how can understanding these complex interactions inform our ability to live sustainably on a finite planet? We address such questions by integrating approaches from experimental ecology, phylogenetic comparative biology, and behavioral ecology, with good doses of taxonomy and quantitative modeling mixed in.  Most of our research focuses on how marine animals use resources and interact, and the consequences of those interactions for populations, communities, and ecosystems. Some long-running research themes in my group include (1) studies of how biodiversity, food-web structure, and environmental change interact to affect ecosystem processes in seagrass beds, (2) how taxonomic and functional diversity influence ecosystem structure and function more broadly in the living world, and (3)  systematic, ecological, and behavioral studies of the evolutionary radiation of symbiotic shrimp, including the only known marine eusocial animals, on Caribbean reefs.  More recently we've begun exploring how to "put biodiversity to work", studying how wild algal communities might be used to clean up polluted waters and produce feedstock for sustainable biofuels.

Current Projects
  • Biodiversity and complex forcing of ecosystem functioning in the marine foundation species, eelgrass: A global experimental network.  National Science Foundation. 2010-2013 (see our ZEN website)
  • Biodiversity and the Functioning of Ecosystems: Translating Results from Model Experiments into Functional Reality. National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. 2010-2011. 
  • The Chesapeake Algal Project (ChAP): Sustainable Algal Energy Production and Environmental Remediation. Statoil Corporation and US Department of Energy. 2009-2011 (see the YouTube video)
  • Sociobiology and phylogenetic community ecology of coral-reef shrimp.  National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institution (see our work featured in the New York Times)
Selected Publications

(See our Marine Biodiversity Lab website for PDFs)

  • Duffy, J.E., L.A. Amaral-Zettler, D.G. Fautin, G. Paulay, T.A. Rynearson, H.M. Sosik, and J.J. Stachowicz. 2013. Envisioning a marine biodiversity observation network. BioScience, in press.
  • Ruckelshaus, M., S. Doney, H. Galindo, J. Barry, F. Chan, J.E. Duffy, C. English, S. Gaines, J. Grebmeier, A. Hollowed, N. Knowlton, J. Polovina, N. Rabalais, B. Sydeman, L. Talley. 2013. Securing ocean benefits in the face of climate change. Marine Policy, in press.
  • Lefcheck, J.S., M.A. Whalen, T.M. Davenport, J.P. Stone, and J.E. Duffy. 2013. Diet mixing effects on consumer fitness: A meta-analysis. Ecology, in press.
  • Whalen, M.A., J.E. Duffy, and J.B. Grace. 2013. Field experimental evidence for mesograzer control of primary producers in a seagrass bed food web. Ecology, in press.
  • Naeem, S., J.E. Duffy, and E. Zavaleta. 2012. The Functions of Biological Diversity in an Age of Extinction. Science 336:1401-1406.
  • Poore, A.G.B., A.H. Campbell, R.A. Coleman, G.J. Edgar, V. Jormalainen, P.L. Reynolds, E.E. Sotka, J.J. Stachowicz, R.B. Taylor, M.A. Vanderklift, and J.E. Duffy. 2012. Global patterns in the impact of marine herbivores on benthic primary producers. Ecology Letters, in press.
  • Cardinale, B.J., J.E. Duffy, A. Gonzalez, D.U. Hooper, C. Perrings, P. Venail, A. Narwani, G.M. Mace, D. Tilman, D.A. Wardle, A.P. Kinzig, G.C. Daily, M. Loreau, J.B. Grace, A. Larigauderie, D. Srivastava, and S. Naeem. 2012. Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity. Nature 486:59-67  (doi:10.1038/nature11148).
  • Hooper, D.U., E.C. Adair, B.J. Cardinale, J.E.K. Byrnes, B.A. Hungate, K.L. Matulich, A. Gonzalez, J.E. Duffy, L. Gamfeldt, and M.I. O’Connor. 2012. A global synthesis reveals biodiversity loss as a major driver of ecosystem change. Nature 486:105-108 (doi:10.1038/nature11118).
  • Blake, R.E., and J.E. Duffy. 2012. Changes in biodiversity and environmental stressors influence community structure of an experimental eelgrass (Zostera marina) system. Marine Ecology Progress Series 470:41-54
  • Hultgren, K.M., and J.E. Duffy. 2012. Phylogenetic community ecology and the role of social dominance in sponge-dwelling shrimp. Ecology Letters 15: 704–713 (doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01788.x).
  • Doney, S.C., M. Ruckelshaus, J.E. Duffy, J.P. Barry, F. Chan, C.A. English, H.M. Galindo, J.M. Grebmeier, A.B. Hollowed, N. Knowlton, J. Polovina, N.N. Rabalais, W.J. Sydeman, L.D. Talley. 2011.  Climate Change Impacts on Marine Ecosystems. Annual Review of Marine Science 4:11-37
  • Duffy, J.E. and K.S. Macdonald III. 2010. Kin structure, ecology, and the evolution of social organization in shrimp: A comparative analysis. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B Biological Sciences 277:575-584.
  • Douglass, J.G., K.E. France, J.P. Richardson, and J.E. Duffy. 2010. Seasonal and interannual change in a Chesapeake Bay eelgrass community: insights into biotic and abiotic control of community structure. Limnology and Oceanography. 55:1499-1520.

  • Foley, M.M., B.S. Halpern, F. Micheli, M.H. Armsby, M.R. Caldwell, C.M. Crain, E. Prahler, D. Sivas, N. Rohr, M.W. Beck, M.H. Carr, L.B. Crowder, J.E. Duffy, S.D. Hacker, K. McLeod,  C.H. Peterson, H.M. Regan, M.H. Ruckelshaus, P.A. Sandifer, R.S. Steneck. 2010. Guiding ecological principles for marine spatial planning. Marine Policy 34:955-966.

  • Hultgren, K.M. and J.E. Duffy. 2010. Sponge host characteristics shape the community structure of their shrimp associates. Marine Ecology Progress Series 407: 1-12.

  • Duffy, J.E. 2009. Why biodiversity is important to functioning of real-world ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7:437-444.
  • Duffy, J.E., D.S. Srivastava, J. McLaren, M. Sankaran, J. Griffin, M. Emmerson, M. Solan, and K.E. Jones. 2009. Forecasting decline in ecosystem services under realistic scenarios of extinction. Pages 60-77 in: Naeem, S., D.E. Bunker, and A. Hector (editors). Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing: An Ecological and Economic Perspective. Oxford University Press.
  • Spivak, A.C., E.A. Canuel, J.E. Duffy, and J.P. Richardson. 2009. Nutrient enrichment and food web composition affect ecosystem metabolism in an experimental seagrass habitat. PLoS One 4(10): e7473:1-13.
  • Macdonald III, K.S., K.M. Hultgren, and J.E. Duffy. 2009. Sponge-dwelling snapping shrimp of Discovery Bay, Jamaica, with descriptions of four new species. Zootaxa, 2199:1-57.
  • Duffy, J.E. and M. Thiel, editors. 2007. Evolutionary Ecology Of Social And Sexual Systems: Crustaceans As Model Organisms. Oxford University Press.
  • Duffy, J.E., B.J. Cardinale, K.E. France, P.B. McIntyre, E. Thébault, and M. Loreau. 2007. The functional role of biodiversity in food webs: Incorporating trophic complexity.  Ecology Letters 10:522-538.
  • Stachowicz, J.J., J.F. Bruno, and J.E. Duffy. 2007. Understanding the effects of marine biodiversity on community and ecosystem processes. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 38:739-766.
  • Ríos, R. and J.E. Duffy. 2007. A review of the sponge-dwelling snapping shrimp from Carrie Bow Cay, Belize, with description of Zuzalpheus, new genus, and six new species (Crustacea: Decapoda: Alpheidae). Zootaxa 1602:1-89.
  • Worm, B., E.B. Barbier, N. Beaumont, J.E. Duffy, C. Folke, B.S. Halpern, J.B.C. Jackson, H.K. Lotze, F. Micheli, S.R. Palumbi, E. Sala, K.A. Selkoe, J.J. Stachowicz, and R. Watson. 2006. Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services. Science 314:787-790.
  • Cardinale, B.J., Srivastava, D.S., Duffy, J.E., Wright, J.P., Downing, A.L., Sankaran, M. and Jouseau, C. 2006. Effects of biodiversity on the functioning of trophic groups and ecosystems: A meta-analysis. Nature 443:989-992.
  • France, K.E. and J.E. Duffy. 2006. Biodiversity, dispersal, and scale interactively affect stability of ecosystem function in seagrass metacommunities. Nature 441:1139-1143.
  • Duffy, J.E. and J.J. Stachowicz. 2006. Why biodiversity is important to oceanography: potential roles of genetic, species, and trophic diversity in pelagic ecosystem processes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 311:179-189.
  • Duffy, J.E., J.P. Richardson, and K.E. France. 2005.  Ecosystem consequences of diversity depend on food chain length in estuarine vegetation. Ecology Letters 8:301-309.
  • Tóth, E. and J.E. Duffy. 2005. Coordinated group response to nest intruders in social shrimp. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Biology Letters,1:49-52.
  • Morrison, C. L., R. Ríos, and J.E. Duffy.  2004. Phylogenetic evidence for an ancient rapid radiation of Caribbean sponge-dwelling snapping shrimps (Synalpheus). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30:563-58.
  • Duffy, J.E., E.A. Canuel, and J.P. Richardson. 2003. Grazer diversity and ecosystem functioning in seagrass beds. Ecology Letters 6:637-645.
  • Duffy, J.E. 2003. Biodiversity loss, trophic skew, and ecosystem functioning. Ecology Letters 6:680-687.
  • Duffy, J.E. 2002. Biodiversity and ecosystem function: the consumer connection. Oikos 99:201-21.  
Current Students
  • Tin Chi Solomon Chak, Ph.D. student. Sociality and the evolution of diversity in sponge-dwelling shrimp.
  • Jonathan Lefcheck, Ph.D. student. Biodiversity, environmental stress, and invasion: mechanisms behind a large-scale pattern .
  • Kathryn Sobocinski, Ph.D. student. Connecting Productivity in Eelgrass Beds to Recreationally Important Finfishes in Chesapeake Bay: Forage Fishes as Trophic Conduits.
Past Students
  • Rachael Blake, Ph.D. 2012 (Postdoctoral Researcher, Louisiana State University)
  • Althea Moore, M.S. 2012. (PhD Student, Florida State University)
  • James Douglass, Ph.D. 2008 (Assistant Professor, Florida Gulf Coast University)
  • Amanda Spivak, Ph.D. 2008 (Staff Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
  • William Tarantino, M.S. 2008 (Wilderness medic, Sierra Nevadas)
  • Kristin France, Ph.D. 2007 (Senior Scientist, The Nature Conservancy)
  • Ruben Ríos, Ph.D. 2003. (VIMS)
  • Kenneth S. Macdonald, Ph.D. 2002. (Postdoctoral Researcher, New Mexico State University)
  • Jennifer M. Rhode, Ph.D. 2002. (Assistant Professor, UNC Asheville)
  • Alessandra Sagasti, Ph.D. 2000. (Assistant Professor, Montgomery College)
  • Annie Harvilicz, B.S. Biology with High Honors, 1999. (Veterinarian, The Big Apple)
  • Molly Mitchell, B.S. Biology with Honors, 1999.  (Scientist, VIMS)
  • John D. Parker, M.S.1998. (Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center)
Courses Taught
  • MS 698 Marine Biodiversity
  • MS 526: Marine Ecology (alternate years)
  • MS 576: Evolutionary Ecology(alternate years)
  • MS 698: Dynamic Food Webs (with Sebastian Schreiber)
  • MS 698: Ecological stoichiometry (with Kam Tang)
  • MS 698: Species diversity in ecological communities
  • MS 698: Modeling Nature (with Hugh Ducklow)
  • MS 698: Phylogenetics
  • MS 698: Biological Sciences Seminar (coordinator)
  • MS 698: Perspectives in Evolution (with John Graves)
  • MS 698: Biodiversity:structure, function, and conservation (with Mike Vecchione)
Faculty and Student Awards
  • 2013. Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award, State Council of HIgher Education in Virginia
  • 2011. First Kobe Prize in Marine Biology, Kobe, Japan
  • 2009. Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence, The College of William and Mary
  • 2008. Keynote Speaker, 7th International Flatfish Symposium, Sesimbra, Portugal
  • 2007. Invited speaker, Gordon Research Conference on Plant-Herbivore Interactions
  • 2006. Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship
  • 2006. Invited speaker, The next generation of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research, DIVERSITAS, Borneo, Malaysia
  • 2002. Plenary speaker, International Union for the Study of Social Insects, Hokkaido, Japan
  • 1992. Invited Speaker, Gordon Research Conference on Plant-Herbivore Interactions
  • 1992. National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Environmental Biology
  • 1990. Smithsonian Institution Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1988. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Short-term Fellowship
Professional Memberships
  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Society for the Study of Evolution
  • The Crustacean Society (North American Governor, 2002-2005)
Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Efforts