Pete McHugh

Job Title: Research Scientist
Primary Affiliation: Department of Watershed Sciences
Secondary Affiliation: Ecogeomorphology & Topographic Analysis Lab

Utah State University
Watershed Sciences Department
5210 Old Main Hill, NR 210
Logan UT 84322-5210

Office:  Eccles 102D
Phone: 435.797.8061


  • 2006 PhD Aquatic Ecology, Utah State University
  • 2003 MS Fish Biology, Utah State University
  • 1999 BS Fisheries Management, The Ohio State University

Research Interests

  • Fish--habitat relationships
  • Population modeling
  • Stock assessment and fishery modeling
  • Food web ecology
  • Native--non-native species interactions

  • Bio

    After a long walkabout to the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand, Pete returned to Logan in early 2015 in order to join the FHC team as a researcher. He currently works with a variety of modeling approaches (simulation and statistical) and ISEMP/CHaMP datasets to assess the benefits of habitat restoration activities aimed at recovering threatened steelhead and Chinook salmon populations within the interior Columbia Basin. When he’s not focused on freshwater habitat, Pete engages in the development and maintenance of models for planning mixed-stock ocean salmon fisheries under complex societal and conservation constraints. He also maintains an active interest in broader themes within stream ecology and management, including studies that assess the relationships between the physical environment and fish populations, stream communities, and the structure of riverine food webs. Beyond work, Pete enjoys running and hiking in the hills with his wife and dogs and is also an amateur coffee roaster and printmaking hack.


    • The Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program (CHaMP)
    • The Integrated Status and Effectiveness Monitoring Program (ISEMP)
    • The Fishery Regulation Assessment Model (FRAM) Base Period Update Project (with WDFW and NWIFC)

    Scholarly Contributions

    Peer Reviewed Publications

    • McHugh, P.A., R.M. Thompson, H.S. Greig, H.J. Warburton, and A.R. McIntosh. 2015. Habitat size influences food web structure in drying streams. Ecography 38:700-712.
    • Al-Chokhachy, R.A., S. Moran, P.A. McHugh, S. Bernall, W. Fredenberg. And J.M. DosSantos. 2015. Consequences of actively managing a small bull trout population in a fragmented landscape. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 144:515-531.
    • White, R.S., P.A. McHugh, C.N. Glover, and A.R. McIntosh. 2015. Multiple environmental stressors increase the realised niche breadth of a forest-dwelling fish. Ecography 38:154-162.
    • Jellyman, P.G., P. McHugh, and A.R. McIntosh. 2014. Increases in disturbance and reductions in habitat size interact to suppress predator body size. Global Change Biology. 20: 1550-1558.
    • Budy, P., G.P. Thiede, J. Lobon-Cervia, G. Gonzalez Fernandez, P. McHugh, A.McIntosh, L. Asbjorn Vollestad, E. Becares, and P. Jellyman. 2013. Limitation and facilitation of one of the world’s most invasive fish: an intercontinental comparison. Ecology 94:356-367.
    • Rand, P.S., M. Goslin, M.R. Gross, J.R. Irvine, X. Augerot, P.A. McHugh, and V.F. Bugaev. 2012. Global assessment of extinction risk to populations of sockeye salmon. PLOS ONE 7(4):e34065.
    • McHugh, P., A.R. McIntosh, S.W. Howard, and P. Budy. 2012. Niche flexibility and trout-galaxiid co-occurrence in a hydrologically diverse riverine landscape. Biological Invasions 14:2393-2406.
    • McIntosh, A., P.A. McHugh, and P. Budy. 2011. Brown Trout, Chapter 24, In: Handbook of Global Freshwater Invasive Species (a summary of the current state of knowledge of 30 of the most notable global invasive freshwater species). Earthscan Press.
    • Woodford, D.J., T.A. Cochrane, P.A. McHugh, and A.R. McIntosh. 2011. Modelling spatial exclusion of a vulnerable native fish by introduced trout in rivers using landscape features: a new tool for conservation management. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 21:484-49.
    • McHugh, P., A.R. McIntosh, and P.G. Jellyman. 2010. Dual influences of ecosystem size and disturbance on food chain length in streams. Ecology Letters. 13:881-890.
    • McIntosh, A.R., P.A McHugh, N.R. Dunn, J.M. Goodman, S.W. Howard, P.G. Jellyman, L.K. O’Brien, P. Nyström, and D.J. Woodford. 2010. The impact of salmonids on galaxiid fishes in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology. 34:195-206. 
    • P. Budy, G.P. Thiede, P. McHugh, E.S. Hansen, and J. Wood. 2008. Exploring the relative influence of biotic interactions and environmental conditions on the abundance and distribution of exotic brown trout (Salmo trutta) in a high mountain stream. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. 17:554-566.
    • McHugh, P., P. Budy, E. VanDyke, and G.P. Thiede. 2008. Trophic relationships between exotic brown trout (Salmo trutta) and native Bonneville cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii utah) in a northern Utah river. Environmental Biology of Fishes 81:63-75.
    • Budy, P., G.P. Thiede, and P. McHugh. 2007. A quantification of the vital rates, abundance, and status of a critical population of endemic cutthroat trout. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27:593-604. 
    • McHugh, P., and P. Budy. 2006. Experimental effects of exotic brown trout (Salmo trutta) on the individual- and population-level performance of native Bonneville cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii utah). Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 135:1441-1455.
    • McHugh, P., and P. Budy. 2005. An experimental evaluation of competitive and thermal effects on brown trout (Salmo trutta) and Bonneville cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii utah) performance along an altitudinal gradient. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 62:2784-2795.
    • McHugh, P., and P. Budy. 2005. A comparison of visual versus measurement-based techniques for quantifying cobble embeddedness and fine-sediment levels in salmonid-bearing streams. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 25:1208-1214.
    • McHugh, P., P. Budy, and H. Schaller. 2004. A model-based assessment of the potential response of Snake River spring/summer Chinook salmon to habitat improvements. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 133:622-638.
    • McHugh, P., and P. Budy. 2004. Patterns of spawning habitat selection and suitability for two populations of spring Chinook salmon, with an evaluation of generic versus site-specific suitability criteria. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 133:89-97.
       Publications available via Google Scholar and ResearchGate

    Conference Papers, Presentations & Posters (last 5 years)

    • Using spatial autocorrelation to improve network-scale models of salmonid abundance. American Fisheries Society, Portland, OR (2015)
    • Variation in terrestrial invertebrate contributions to salmonid production in the John Day River Basin. American Fisheries Society, Portland, OR (2015)
    • Individual and environmental factors influencing survival for exploited populations of northern pikeminnow in the Columbia and Snake rivers. American Fisheries Society, Seattle, WA (2011)
    • Food-web structure-flow relationships in intermittent Canterbury streams. New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society, Christchurch, New Zealand (2010)
    • Variation in food-web structure along inverse size gradients in temperate alluvial streams. North American Benthological Society, Santa Fe, NM (2010)
    • The impacts of non-native trout on galaxiid fishes in New Zealand. Western Division of the American Fisheries Society, Salt Lake City, UT (2010)