Kenneth M. Brown
Kenneth  M.  Brown 
SEE Division
PhD: University of Iowa, 1976
Phone: (225) 578-1740
Lab Phone: (225) 578-1740
Office: A343 Life Sciences Annex
Lab: 379/383 Life Sciences Building

Area of Interest

My laboratory studies ecological interactions in both freshwater and marine food webs, at both the population and community level. In marine ecosystems, we have studied predator prey interactions between oysters and the southern oyster drill (a snail), the stone crab, and the black drum (a fish). Our work has tested predictions of optimal foraging theory with oyster drill and blue crab predators, how environmental factors influence predators, whether black drum control oyster abundances on reefs, and predator-prey interactions between blue crabs, oysters and mussels. In freshwater ecosystems, we have studied snail life history evolution and indirect effects of snail predators on periphyton production. We now study the conservation ecology of freshwater mussels, documenting life history variation in endangered species, and the importance of microhabitat factors, host fish abundance, and landscape level factors like geology and land use in determining mussel distributions and diversity. Mussel assemblages are impacted by gravel mining and urbanization of the riparian zone, which we study using landscape ecology methods. This research has been published in Ecology, Oecologia, Limnology and Oceanography, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Marine Ecological Progress Series, among others, and the lab has had funding from NSF, USFS, USFWS and Sea Grant. We are also currently studying the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with Sea Grant funding. My past students have taken positions as professors, and at both national and state conservation agencies.

Selected Publications

Brown, K. M., W. Daniel, and G. George. 2010. Urbanization and a threatened freshwater mussel: evidence from landscape scale studies Hydrobiologia 655:189–196.


Brown, K. M., W. Daniel and G. George. 2010. The effect of Hurricane Katrina on the mussel assemblage of the Pearl River, Louisiana. Aquat. Ecol.,44:223-231.


Aronhime, B. and K. M. Brown, 2009. The roles of profit and claw strength in determining mussel size selection by crabs. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 379:28-33.


Brown, K. M., B. Lang, and K. E. Perez. 2008. The conservation ecology of North American pleurocerid and hydrobiid gastropods. Journal of the North American Benthological Society,27:484-495.


Kenneth M. Brown, Gerald J. George, Gary W. Peterson, Bruce A. Thompson, and James H. Cowan, Jr. 2008. Oyster Predation by Black Drum Varies Spatially and Seasonally. Estuaries and Coasts 31:597-604.


Hulathduwa, Y., W. B. Stickle, and K. M. Brown. 2007. The effect of salinity on survival, bioenergetics and predation risk in the mud crabs Panopeus simpsoni and Eurypanopeus depressus. Marine Biology 152:363-370.


Brown, K. M., S. F. Keenan, and P. D. Banks. 2005. Dominance hierarchies in Xanthid crabs: roles in resource holding potential and field distributions. Marine Ecol. Prog. Ser., 291:189-196.


Brown, K. M., and P. D. Johnson. 2004. Comparative conservation ecology of pleurocerid and pulmonate gastropods of the United States. American Malacological Bulletin 19: 57-62.


Brown, K. M., and W. B. Stickle.2002. Physical constraints on the foraging ecology of an intertidal snail, Marine and Freshwater Behavior and Physiology 35:157-166.


Bolden, S. R., and K. M. Brown. 2002. The relative importance of transplants, habitat, and density to growth and survival in the the Louisiana pearlshell, Margaritifera hembeli. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 21:89 - 96.


Brown, K. M. and P. D. Banks. 2001. The conservation of Unionid mussels in Louisiana rivers: Diversity, assemblage composition and substrate use. Aquatic Conservation 11:189-198.


Johnson, P. D. and K. M. Brown. 1997. The role of current and light in explaining the habitat distribution of the lotic snail Elimia semicarinata. J. N. Amer. Benth. Soc. 15:344-369.


Brown, K. M., and D. M. Lodge. 1993. The importance of specifying null models: are invertebrates really more abundant in vegetated habitats? Limnol. Oceanogr. 38: 217-225.


Brown, K. M. 1985. Intraspecific life history variation in a pond snail: the roles of population divergence and phenotypic plasticity. Evolution 39(2): 387-395.


Brown, K. M. 1983. Are life history strategies real?: Data from fresh water snails. Amer. Natur. 121: 871-879.


Brown, K. M. 1982. Resource overlap and competition in pond snails: An experimental analysis. Ecology 63: 412-422.


Kenneth M. Brown - extended CV


Past Students

Barry Aronhime (Ph.D. 2010) studied the foraging ecology of blue crabs. He is now instructor of Ecology at LSU.


Terry Richardson (Ph.D. 1990) studied the foraging ecology of southern oyster drills. He is now an associate professor of biology at the University of Northern Alabama, and teaches at the Dauphin Island Marine Laboratory.


Paul Johnson (Ph.D. 1995) studied the conservation ecology of the endangered Louisiana Pearlshell in streams in the Kisatchie National Forest. He now heads Alabama’s endangered species research center.


Yasoma Hulathduwa (Ph.D. 2006) studied the commensal community on oyster reefs, and is now an assistant professor of biology at the University of Tampa.


Patrick Banks (M.S.2000) studied the effects of hydrocarbon pollutants on fouling communities, and is now Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries oyster program manager.


Susan Bolden (M. S. 2001) studied transplantation methods for endangered mussels, and is research associate studying amphibian conservation at Yale University.


Raynie Bambarger (M. S. 2006) is currently working as a fisheries biologist at the School of Renewable Natural Resources at LSU.


Jerry George (M. S. 2007) studied movement patterns in black drum (a fish predator of oysters) using radio telemetry, and is currently working as a fisheries biologist in Oregon.