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Peter Houk

Assistant Professor of Marine Biology
Curriculum Vitae

BSc Northwestern University
MSc University of Guam Marine Laboratory
PhD Florida Institute of Technology


BI 691 Data Development for Graduate Research
BI 551/L Quantitative Population Ecology

Research Interests

My research interests are centered upon fundamental and applied questions surrounding population biology, community ecology, and fisheries management.  I have focused upon a range of biota and spatial scales to date, ranging from (i) Acanthaster planci population dynamics in relation to oceanographic forcing, to (ii) competitive seagrass and macroalgal growth dynamics in response to gradients of human influence, and (iii) the drivers and consequences of highly variable coral-reef fishery landings. My main focus, however, remains upon coral assemblages because they are sensitive indicators of coral-reef ecosystems, and their diversity and distribution patterns shift predictably in response to natural and human stressors.  Thus, one common theme of my research has been to partition the role of individual stressors and natural disturbances in driving temporal dynamics, and follow up with modeling approaches that investigate plausible mechanisms behind shifting species abundance patterns.  A second common theme of my research is for it to have direct relevance for management, with tangible outcomes to aid stakeholder-driven management. Key research partners include all of the long-term monitoring programs across Micronesia. Together, we have been collaboratively building and analyzing datasets that address local and regional concerns. Prior to becoming a UOGML faculty, I co-founded a small non-profit organization based in Saipan, CNMI, Pacific Marine Resources Institute, that was dedicated to generating and translating compelling science for improved coral reef managements.

Selected Publications

Houk, P., Camacho, R., Johnson, S., McLean, M., Maxin, S., et al. 2015. The Micronesia Challenge: Assessing the relative contribution of stressors on coral reefs to facilitate science-to-management feedback. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0130823. [pdf]

Montambault, J.R., Wongbusarakum, S., Leberer, T., Joseph, E., Andrew, W., Castro, F., Nevitt, B., Golbuu, Y., Oldiais, N.W., Groves, C.R., Kostka, W., Houk, P. 2015. Use of monitoring data to support conservation management and policy decisions in Micronesia. Conservation Biology. In Press.

Houk, P., Benavente, D., Iguel, J., Johnson, S., Okano, R. 2014. Coral reef disturbance and recovery dynamics differ across gradients of localized stressors in the Mariana Islands. PLoS ONE 9(8): e105731. [pdf]

Taylor, BM, Choat, H., Houk, P., Russ, G.  2014. Life histories predict vulnerability to overexploitation in parrotfishes. Coral Reefs 33(4): 869-878.

Cuetos-Bueno, J., Houk, P. 2014. Re-estimation and synthesis of coral-reef fishery landings in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands since the 1950s suggests the decline of a common resource. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries. 25(1): 179-194.

Houk, P., Musburger, C. 2013. Trophic cascades and ecological stability across coral reefs in the Marshall Islands. Marine Ecology Progress Series 488: 23-34. [pdf]

Houk, P., Golbuu, Y., Gorong, B., Gorong, T., Fillmed, C. 2013. Watershed discharge patterns, secondary consumer abundances, and seagrass habitat condition in Yap, Micronesia. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 71:209-215.

Houk, P., van Woesik, R. 2013. Progress and perspectives on question-driven coral-reef monitoring. Bioscience 63: 297-303. [pdf]

vanWoesik, R., Houk, P., Isechal, A., Idechong, J., Victor, S., Golbuu, Y. 2012. Climate-change refugia in the sheltered bays of Palau: analogues of future reefs. Ecology and Evolution 2: 2474-2484.

Houk, P., Benavente, D., Fread, V. 2012. Characterization and evaluation of coral-reef assemblages across Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia. Biodiversity and Conservation 21: 2045-2059.

Houk, P., Rhodes, K., Mcilwain, J., Cuetos-Bueno, J., Lindfield, S. 2012. Comparative assessment of commercial coral reef fisheries across Micronesia: the need for improved management. Coral Reefs 31:13-26. [pdf]

Houk, P. and Wiles P. 2010. Water quality and herbivory interactively drive coral-reef recovery in American Samoa. PLoS ONE 5(11): e13913.

Houk, P. and Raubani J. 2010.Acanthasterplancioutbreaks in Vanuatu coincide with oceanically-derived chlorophyll blooms, furthering consistencies throughout the Pacific Ocean.Journal of Oceanography 66: 435-438.

Houk, P. and J. Starmer. 2010. Constraints on the diversity and distribution of coral-reef assemblages in the volcanic Northern Mariana Islands. Coral Reefs 29: 59-70.

Houk, P. and R. van Woesik. 2008. Changes in the Saipan Lagoon since 1959: toward understanding causal effects. Marine Ecology Progress Series 356: 39-50.

Houk, P., Bograd, S. and R. van Woesik. 2007. The transition zone chlorophyll front can triggerAcanthasterplanci outbreaks in the North Pacific Ocean: historical confirmation. Journal of Oceanography 63(1): 149-154.

Affiliated Websites

Pacific Marine Resources Institute
Journal of Micronesian Fishing


Dr. Peter Houk
Assistant Professor of Marine Biology
Marine Laboratory
University of Guam
Mangilao GU 96923 USA
Marine Laboratory, Room 102
Tel: 1 671 735-2188
Fax: 1 671 734-6767

Copyright 2005 University of Guam Marine Laboratory. All rights reserved.

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