The Buston Lab


The Buston Lab, in conjunction with an international network of collaborators, grapples with questions at the frontiers of behavioral ecology, population ecology and evolutionary biology in the marine environment. To date, our research has focused on two major questions.

First, why some do some individuals forgo their own reproduction and behave cooperatively in animal societies? This question has challenged evolutionary biologists ever since Darwin pointed out the difficulties that these behaviors posed for his theory of natural selection. See the Behavioral Ecology page or our recent article in American Scientist for more information.

Second, what is the probability of larval exchange, or connectivity, between populations in marine metapopulations? This question has been a focus for marine ecologists because the answer holds the key to understanding metapopulation dynamics and designing effective networks of marine reserves. See the Population Ecology page for more information.

Our research combines long-term observations of marked populations in their natural habitat, with experimental manipulations, mathematical modeling and molecular genetics.  We use a rigorous, hypothesis driven approach to address fundamental questions at the interface of behavioral ecology, population ecology and evolutionary biology.

We welcome inquiries from students and postdocs interested in joining us to pursue research in the lab. We also welcome inquiries from those interested in collaborating on re-use of our data, which will be archived at the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office.


Pete Buston (CV in PDF format)

Assistant Professor

Department of Biology and Marine Program

Boston University

5 Cummington Mall

Boston, MA 02215


Tel: 617 358 5412

E-mail: buston (at)                                                             

                                                                                           Last updated February 2015

Behavioral Ecology, Population Ecology, Marine Ecology