MEB Faculty

Dennis Hedgecock

Paxson H. Offield Professor in Fisheries Ecology and Professor of Biological Sciences

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 821-2091
Office: AHF 130

Curriculum Vitae

Biographical Sketch

Dennis Hedgecock received a B.S. in Biology from St. Mary's College, California, in 1970, and a Ph.D. in Genetics, from the University of California, Davis, in 1974. Hedgecock joined the USC College as the first Paxson H. Offield Professor of Fisheries Ecology in 2003, following a nearly 30-year career at UC Davis. He is a past Head of the Marine Environmental Biology Section of the Department of Biological Sciences. Hedgecock has published over 120 scholarly articles on the population, quantitative, evolutionary and conservation genetics of marine fish and shellfish, primarily Pacific oysters, white seabass and Pacific salmon. He was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Ken Chew Endowed Visiting Professorship in Aquaculture at the University of Washington in 2007. Hedgecock was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1986, and is currently a member of several other scientific societies, including the American Genetics Association, the Genetics Society of America, the National Shellfisheries Association, and the Society for the Study of Evolution. He serves on the editorial boards of Aquaculture, the Journal of Shellfish Research, and the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.


  • B.S. Biology, St. Mary's College, California, 5/1970
  • Ph.D. Genetics, University of California, Davis, 12/1974

  • Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

    Tenure Track Appointments
    • Professor, University of Southern California, 08/2003-  
    • Geneticist, University of California, Davis, Agricultural Experiment Station & Bodega Marine Laboratory, 07/01/1978-06/30/2003  
    PostDoctoral Appointments
    • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Davis, Bodega Marine Laboratory, 06/15/1974-06/30/1978  

    Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    Dennis Hedgecock combines expertise in genetics with an understanding of the larger issues of marine organisms and ecosystems. His research focuses on the population, quantitative, evolutionary and conservation genetics of marine fish and shellfish, including Pacific oysters, white seabass and Pacific salmon. A leading scientist in the field of oyster aquaculture and genetics, Hedgecock uses genetic mapping and functional genomics to study the genetic basis of hybrid vigor in Pacific oysters, a commercially important species in modern aquaculture. Hedgecock develops and improves crossbreeding techniques for farmed Pacific oysters, and has produced high-yield hybrid oyster varieties. Ultimately, his work may shed light on the basis for hybrid vigor in corn and other crops and on the maintenance of genetic diversity in natural populations. In his work with Pacific Chinook salmon of the Sacramento River and Central Valley, he developed novel genetic markers and tools that enabled scientists to distinguish between the rare endangered "winter-run” salmon and closely related salmon runs, work that proved essential in building an effective captive breeding program and evaluating its impact. Hedgecock investigates how enhancing fish populations through large hatchery programs impacts the genetic diversity of wild populations, and is currently examining the issue in local white seabass. Other research interests include the design of marine reserves, the impact of non-native species on ecosystems and fishery management issues.

    Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

    • Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies,


    Journal Article
    • Derr, J. N., Hedrick, P. W., Halbert, N. D., Plough, L., Dobson, L. K., King, J., Duncan, C., Hunter, D. L., Cohen, N. D., Hedgecock, D. (2012). Phenotypic Effects of Cattle Mitochondrial DNA in American Bison. CONSERVATION BIOLOGY. Vol. 26 (6), pp. 1130-1136.
    • Zhang, G., Fang, X., Guo, X., Li, L., Luo, R., Xu, F., Yang, P., Zhang, L., Wang, X., Qi, H., Xiong, Z., Que, H., Xie, Y., Holland, P. W., Paps, J., Zhu, Y., Wu, F., Chen, Y., Wang, J., Peng, C., Meng, J., Yang, L., Liu, J., Wen, B., Zhang, N., Huang, Z., Zhu, Q., Feng, Y., Mount, A., Hedgecock, D., Xu, Z., Liu, Y., Domazet-Loso, T., Du, Y., Sun, X., Zhang, S., Liu, B., Cheng, P., Jiang, X., Li, J., Fan, D., Wang, W., Fu, W., Wang, T., Wang, B., Zhang, J., Peng, Z., Li, Y., Li, N., Wang, J., Chen, M., He, Y., Tan, F., Song, X., Zheng, Q., Huang, R., Yang, H., Du, X., Chen, L., Yang, M., Gaffney, P. M., Wang, S., Luo, L., She, Z., Ming, Y., Huang, W., Zhang, S., Huang, B., Zhang, Y., Qu, T., Ni, P., Miao, G., Wang, J., Wang, Q., Steinberg, C. E., Wang, H., Li, N., Qian, L., Zhang, G., Li, Y., Yang, H., Liu, X., Wang, J., Yin, Y., Wang, J. (2012). The oyster genome reveals stress adaptation and complexity of shell formation. NATURE. Vol. 490 (7418), pp. 49-54.
    • Plough, L. V., Hedgecock, D. (2011). Genome-wide analysis of stage-specific inbreeding depression in the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas. Genetics Society of America. Vol. 189 (4), pp. 14. Genetics -- Future Table of Contents (Dec 1, 2011, Volume 189, Number 4)
    • Hedgecock, D., Pudovkin, A. I. (2011). Sweepstakes reproductive success in highly fecund marine fish and shellfish: A review and commentary. Bulletin of Marine Science. Vol. 87 (4), pp. 971-1002. Ingentaconnect Table of Contents
    • Curole, J. P., Meyer, E., Manahan, D. T., Hedgecock, D. (2010). Unequal and genotype-dependent expression of mitochondrial genes in larvae of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas. Biological Bulletin. Vol. 218 (2), pp. 122-131.
    • Anderson, D., Hedgecock, D. (2010). Inbreeding depression and growth heterosis in larvae of the purple sea urchin Stronglyocentrotus purpuratus (Stimpson). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Vol. 384 (1-2), pp. 68-75.
    • Hedgecock, D. (2010). Determining parentage and relatedness from genetic markers sheds light on patterns of marine larval dispersal. Molecular Ecology. Vol. 19 (5), pp. 845-847.
    • Hubert, S., Cognard, E., Hedgecock, D. Centromere-mapping in triploid families of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg)., Aquaculture 2009; Vol. 288: 172–183.
    • Hedgecock, D., Davis, J. P. (2007). Heterosis for yield and crossbreeding of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas. Aquaculture / Elsevier. Vol. 272S (1), pp. S17-S29.
    • Hedgecock, D., Lin, J., DeCola, S., Haudenschild, C. D., Meyer, E., Manahan, D. T., Bowen, B. (2007). Transcriptomic Analysis of Growth Heterosis in Larval Pacific Oysters (Crassostrea gigas). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. Vol. 104, pp. 2312-2318.
    • Hedgecock, D., Launey, S., Pudovkin, A. I., Naciri, Y., Lapegue, S., Bonhomme, F. (2007). Small effective number of parents (N-b) inferred for a naturally spawned cohort of juvenile European flat oysters Ostrea edulis. Marine Biology. Vol. 150, pp. 1173-1182.
    • Hubert, S., Hedgecock, D. (2004). Linkage maps of microsatellite DNA markers for the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas. Genetics. Vol. 168, pp. 351-362.
    • Launey, S., Hedgecock, D. (2001). High genetic load in the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas. Genetics. Vol. 159, pp. 255-265.

    Honors and Awards

    • USC Endowed Professorship, Paxson H. Offield Professor in Fisheries Ecology, 9/1/2003-5/15/2013  
    • Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1986  

    Service to the Profession

    Editorships and Editorial Boards
    • Editorial Board, Journal of Shellfish Research, 2008-  
    • Editorial Board, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 1997-  
    • Editorial Board, Aquaculture, 1996-  

    Professional Memberships
    • American Fisheries Society, 1994-  
    • National Shellfisheries Association, 1990-  
    • World Aquaculture Society, 1975-  
    • American Genetics Association, 1974-  
    • Genetics Society of America, 1974-  
    • Society for the Study of Evolution, 1974-  
    • American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1972-  
    • Sigma Xi, 1972-  

  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • University of Southern California
  • Allan Hancock Foundation Building
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371