Dennis Hedgecock

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

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies,


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. Following a 30-year career at UC Davis, Hedgecock joined the USC College as the first Paxson H. Offield Professor of Fisheries Ecology in 2003, retiring in 2019. Hedgecock has published 150 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, and the National Shellfisheries Association (Honored Lifetime Member).


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

  • Journal Article

    • Plough, L. V., Shin, G., Hedgecock, D. (2016). Genetic inviability is a major driver of type III survivorship in experimental families of a highly fecund marine bivalve. Molecular Ecology. Vol. 25 (4), pp. 895-910.
    • Hedgecock, D., Shin, G., Gracey, A. Y., Van Den Berg, D., Samanta, M. P. (2015). Second-generation linkage maps for the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas reveal errors in assembly of genome scaffolds. G3: Genes Genomes Genetics. Vol. 5 (10), pp. 2007-2019.
    • Sun, X. J., Shin, G., Hedgecock, D. (2015). Inheritance of high-resolution melting profiles in assays targeting single nucleotide polymorphisms in protein-coding sequences of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas: Implications for parentage assignment of experimental and commercial broodstocks. Aquaculture. Vol. 437, pp. 127-139.
    • Applebaum, S. L., Pan, T. F., Hedgecock, D., Manahan, D. T. (2014). Separating the nature and nurture of energy allocation in response to global change. Integrative and Comparative Biology. Vol. 54 (2), pp. 284-295.
    • 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. 1473-1486.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • USC Endowed Professorship, Paxson H. Offield Professor in Fisheries Ecology, 2003/09/01-2013/05/15
    • Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1986
  • Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Editorial Board, Journal of Shellfish Research, 2008 –
    • Editorial Board, Aquaculture, 1996 –
    • Editorial Board, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 1997 – 2016

    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 –