Currently recevied funding to model productivity and sustainability of future macroalgae farming in the north Atlantic under various climate change scenarios at IHCantabria.


From fronds to forests: Individual-based and whole-forest models of kelp


University of Strathclyde Supervisors: Professor Mike Heath and Dr Douglas Speirs


Scottish kelp biomass is estimated to be around 20 million tonnes. Kelps are long lived species that can survive up to 10 years. They are physiologically complex, being able to store significant reserves of nitrogen and to excrete polysaccharides. Kelp forest provide a dense habitat available for other marine species. Their forest dynamics depend on environmental factors, such as turbidity, wave action and temperature. They are also influenced by density-dependant processes such as competition for holdfast space as settling spores or self-shading.

PhD Aim:

  • To understand the differences between individual-based and whole-forest modelling of kelp forest.

PhD Objectives:

  • Develop, test and parameterise both the forest and individual-based models for a range of well studies sites around Scotland.

  • Conduct model experiments to determine the extent, and under what conditions and parameter values, the whole-forest model is able to simulate the behaviour of the individual-based models.

  • Conduct experiments with the models to determine the optimum harvesting strategy to ensure sustainable forest biomass and structure into the future.



Start Date: October 2019






This project is funded through “The Scottish Universities Partnership for Environmental Research” (SUPER) and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology (MASTS). It is hosted at the University of Strathclyde department of Mathematics and Statistics.


Glasgow, UK.