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About Kenneth A. Hayes

The focus of my research is aimed at understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that are responsible for generating and maintaining biodiversity and applying that knowledge to conserving it in the face of major threats (e.g. habitat destruction, invasive species and climate change). Invertebrates comprise the majority of animal diversity and because of this and their wide biogeographic ranges and multitude of adaptations across ecosystems; they make a great system to address a wide spectrum of questions at the interface of ecology, evolution and conservation. To do this effectively with such a diverse group of organisms requires an approach that draws upon ecological, molecular, genomic and evolutionary methodologies.

The primary themes of research in my lab focus on the following:

INVASION BIOLOGY: Invasive species pose a serious economic and environmental threat resulting in losses to ecosystem stability and agricultural productivity and costs related to their roles as disease vectors. The interactions of invasive species with native taxa and ecosystems provide insights into contemporary ecological processes, and offer unique ad hoc experiments in rapid evolutionary changes. This research has implications for understanding the evolutionary and ecological processes of invasion, and the role of invasive species in emerging infectious diseases. 

EVOLUTION ON TROPICAL ISLANDS: Pacific islands have a diverse fauna characterized by high levels of endemism, and the 750+ terrestrial snails in Hawaii are nearly all endemic. My ongoing research is aimed at revealing the levels of historical and contemporary biodiversity of Hawaiian land snails, exploring the ecological and evolutionary processes responsible for their radiation and assessing how these data can be used to conserve the remaining species.

BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION: North American molluscan diversity is immense harboring more than 1200 species of non-marine snails. Unfortunately, non-marine snails are the most threatened animals in the world, and the conservation status of very few (less than 3%) has been assessed. Comprehensive regional inventories are the first step in developing effective conservation plans, and key to research addressing relationships among interacting species, their community and the processes that establish and maintain biodiversity.

EVOLUTIONARY AND ECOLOGICAL GENOMICS: Genomics provides access to the blueprints of life and phylogenomics and transcriptomics are revolutionizing the fields of ecology and evolution. Understanding how organisms respond to environmental challenges and evolutionary pressures at the cellular level and adapt at the population level requires additional non-model systems that focus on species that are ecologically relevant, globally distributed and experimentally tractable. Snails offer just such a system and substantial efforts in my lab will be dedicated to developing genomic approaches to address innovative hypothesis-driven questions about molluscan eco-evolutionary adaptations and their genetic underpinnings. 


Present Assistant Professor, Howard University Department of Biology

Curriculum Vitae

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  • General Biology (BIOL 102)
  • Aquatic Ecology (BIOL 543)
  • Evolutionary and Systematic Biology (BIOL 534)
  • Invertebrate Biology (BIOL 205)
  • Senior Seminar (BIOL 493)
  • Evolution (BIOL 240)


20032009 PhD Zoology, University of Hawaii, Manoa ‐ Zoology
20002003 MS Zoology, University of South Florida
19971999 BS Biology, University of South Florida ‐ Biology

Contact Information

Howard University
Department of Biology
415 College St. NW, EEJ 332
Washington, DC 20059


Recent Works (2)

Research Works (17)