Matthew Bracken

Matthew BrackenAssistant Professor
Marine Biology

Marine Science Center
Northeastern University
430 Nahant Road
Nahant, MA 01908
781.581.7370, x304

Lab Website:

Academic Education

  • Ph.D. Oregon State University
  • B.Sc. University of Puget Sound


  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Northeastern University (2007 – present)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California, Davis (2005 – 2007)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Section of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis
  • (2004 – 2005)

Other Professional Activities

  • Invited participant in an international workshop and symposium on the Effect of global change on carbon sequestration and food web structure across ecosystems (Oldenburg and Wilhelmshaven, Germany, 2009).
  • Member of a National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) working group comparing trophic structure across ecosystems (2005-2008).
  • Co-organizer of the 2006 California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Symposium: Ecological interactions useful for ecosystem-based management.
  • Participant in the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography’s DIALOG VII symposium to promote interdisciplinary collaboration across aquatic sciences (Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Alabama, 2005).

Research Interests

My research, based primarily at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center in Nahant, uses an interdisciplinary approach to evaluate the linkages between marine communities and ecosystems. Recently, ecologists have begun to realize that large-scale, ecosystem-level processes are important mediators of community structure and dynamics and that local-scale phenomena, such as the ecological and physiological attributes of species, influence ecosystem functioning. In particular, my research focuses on (1) the impacts of ecosystem functioning (the transformation and flux of energy and materials) on patterns of distribution, abundance, biodiversity, and community structure and (2) the roles that organisms—and the diversity of those organisms—play in mediating ecosystem functions. In evaluating these linkages between communities and ecosystems, I draw from a variety of ecological sub-disciplines, including community ecology, physiological ecology, and ecosystem ecology.
biodiversity fieldwork

Teaching Activities

I currently teach two classes every year, Marine Ecology (BIOL 5515) during the fall semester at the Marine Science Center as part of the Three Seas Program and Marine Biology (BIOL 2325) during the spring semester on Northeastern’s Boston campus. My Marine Ecology course is a conceptual survey of ecology—the study of the distributions, abundances, and interactions of organisms and the roles of those organisms in mediating the transformation and flux of energy and matter—in the marine environment. My Marine Biology course is a survey of biological processes, in general, as applied to marine systems, including physiology, ecology, evolution, and biogeochemistry. In addition to my assigned teaching, I frequently offer graduate seminars in ecology, including Topics in Integrative Biology (BIOL 7384), courses in Classics and Neoclassics in Ecology, and Ecology and the Media.