Peter Buston

Associate Professor of Biology, Director of BU Marine Program

Research Website

Google Scholar Profile

Twitter: @BustonLab

Courses Taught:

The Buston Lab, in conjunction with an international network of collaborators, grapples with questions at the frontiers of population ecology, evolutionary ecology and behavioral ecology in the marine environment. To date, our research has focused on two major questions.

First, what is the probability of larval exchange, or connectivity, between populations in marine metapopulations? This question has been a focus for marine ecologists because the answer holds the key to understanding metapopulation dynamics and designing effective networks of marine reserves. See the Population Ecology page for more information.

Second, why some do some individuals forgo their own reproduction and behave cooperatively in animal societies? This question has challenged evolutionary biologists ever since Darwin pointed out the difficulties that these behaviors posed for his theory of natural selection. See the Behavioral Ecology page or our recent article in American Scientist for more information.

Our research combines long-term observations of marked populations in their natural habitat, with experimental manipulations, mathematical modeling and molecular genetics. We use a rigorous, hypothesis driven approach to address fundamental questions at the interface of behavioral ecology, population ecology, and evolutionary biology.

We welcome inquiries from students and postdocs interested in joining us to pursue research in the lab. We also welcome inquiries from those interested in collaborating on re-use of our data, which will be archived at the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office.

Selected Publishing

  • Schmiege P, D’Aloia CC, Buston PM (2017) Anemonefish personalities influence the strength of mutualistic interactions with host sea anemones. Marine Biology 164: 24.
  • D’Aloia CC, Bogdanowicz SM, Harrison RG, Buston PM (2016) Cryptic genetic diversity and spatial patterns of admixture within Belizean marine reserves. Conservation Genetics 18: 211-233.
  • Lindo D, Curcic M, Paris C, Buston PM (2016) Description of surface transport in the region of the Belizean Barrier Reef based on observations and alternative high-resolution models. Ocean Modeling 106: 74-89.
  • D’Aloia, C. C., Bogdanowicz, S. M., Francis, R. K., Majoris, J., Harrison, R. G. & Buston, P. M. (2015) Patterns, causes and consequences of marine larval dispersal. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 112: 13940-13945.
  • Buston PM, Jones GP, Planes S, Thorrold SR (2012) Probability of successful larval dispersal declines fivefold over 1 km in a coral reef fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 279: 1883-1888.
  • Buston PM, Fauvelot C, Wong MYL, Planes S (2009) Genetic relatedness in groups of humbug damselfish Dascyllus aruanus: small, similarly-sized individuals may be close kin. Molecular Ecology 18: 4707-4715.
  • Wong MYL, Buston PM, Munday PL, Jones GP (2007) The threat of punishment enforces peaceful cooperation and stabilizes queues in a coral reef fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 274: 1093-1099.
  • Buston PM (2003) Size and growth modification in clownfish. Nature 424: 145-146.