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Staff member Andy Kough stands in front of the Chicago skyline for a photo.

Andrew Kough, Ph.D.

Research Biologist

Andy Kough leads fieldwork in the Bahamas to study populations and management strategies for queen conch, an iconic species that is declining due to overfishing.

“My favorite exhibit is Wild Reef. The diversity we see in the adult fishes and invertebrates on display was also present when these animals started life as planktonic larvae. The larvae of each species are just as unique as the adults, and their fascinating adaptations and journeys complement the beauty found throughout coral reefs.”

Andrew Kough joined Shedd Aquarium’s Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation and Research in 2015. Kough will lead fieldwork in the Bahamas to describe the larval journeys of queen conch (Lobatus gigas), an iconic but threatened species. His research focuses on the connectivity of declining conch populations and aims to uncover how otherwise separate habitats are linked by larval exchange. In partnership with a team of citizen scientists, Kough will survey previously undescribed conch populations throughout the Bahamas, taking measurements of adult population size and structure. These data will inform virtual models of queen conch larval dispersal that predict which populations exchange larvae and identify pathways of natural replenishment to better guide conservation planning.

Kough earned his doctorate in marine biology and fisheries from the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. His dissertation research was on the larval connectivity of the Caribbean spiny lobster.


Efficacy of an established marine protected area at sustaining a queen conch Lobatus gigas population during three decades of monitoring

Kough, A. S., Cronin, H., Skubel, R., Belak, C. A., & Stoner, A. W. (2017). Efficacy of an established marine protected area at sustaining a queen conch Lobatus gigas population during three decades of monitoring. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 573, 177-189.

Biophysical connectivity explains population genetic structure in a highly dispersive marine species

Truelove, N. K., Kough, A. S., Behringer, D. C., Paris, C. B., Box, S. J., Preziosi, R. F., & Butler, M. J. (2016) Biophysical connectivity explains population genetic structure in a highly dispersive marine species. Coral Reefs, 1-12. doi:10.1007/s00338-016-1516-y