Hauton has worked extensively with colleagues in India and Bangladesh since 2015 and has developed an international profile in shrimp health research, including contributing to the development of a mobile phone app, the 'Chingri Shrimp App', to support shrimp farmer training in Bangladesh.
Research has also included quantifying the potential toxic risk of deep sea mining of mineral resources. He was part of the leading team of the EC FP7 MIDAS Project, exploring the ecological risk of deep-sea mining, outputs from which led to contributions to the Royal Society Foresight Future of the Sea report (2016/17), to presentations at the UN International Seabed Authority in Jamaica, and expert contributions to the UN ISA ISA Legal and Technical Commision ISBA/27/C/11 'Guidelines for the establishment of baseline environmental data.'
The aim of my research is to understand how marine communities interact with the environment and affect community dynamics and ecosystem properties in natural and disturbed ecosystems. A key focus of my research is to investigate how environmental complexity, disturbance (organic enrichment and habitat modification) and climate change (ocean acidification, warming, hypoxia & extreme events) affect species-specific functional effect and response traits, as well as community composition in order to develop a mechanistic understanding of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relations in natural ecosystems. To this end I am exploring the importance of variability in biological trait expression, in terms of organism behaviour, growth and more recently reproductive physiology, of individuals within and between populations that have experienced different environmental histories. To realise my research agenda, I use a combination of laboratory and in-situ model systems, as well as observational studies in coastal and shelf-sea environments across temperate and polar sediment ecosystems. I have experience in interrogating and analysing large (historical) data sets to establish generality of the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance and environmental conditions on organism physiology and population structure. A growing area of interest is the linkage between biodiversity, the environment and ecosystem services with respect to socio-economic benefits, management and policy decisions.
My work involves the handling, manipulation and analysis of large and complex datasets, large scale mesocosm experiments, in situ manipulative experiments, and the use of in situ observation technology, to examine natural communities.