Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Alasdair O’Dell

Research interests:

Interested in the biology and ecology of seaweeds and coral, carbon sequestration, the global carbon cycle, the global carbon budget and oceanic processes.

Career history:

A former SCUBA diving instructor, with several years experience in online logistics and distribution.

Recently graduated with a first class degree with honors in Marine and Freshwater Biology from the University of Hull.

Active research projects:

Carbon stored by marine photosynthetic organisms has been termed ‘blue carbon’. Scotland’s seaweeds may produce up to 1.73 Mt.C/yr in live biomass. Up to 82% of this biomass is shed annually to become detritus. The labile nature of seaweed tissue combined with the efficient re-mineralisation processes in the oceans produce rapid turnover rates for detrital seaweed, which have previously been considered insignificant to carbon stores. However, volumes of detritus can be high, decomposition rates are unknown and transportation, consumption and bacterial decomposition of detritus are under-studied areas key in clarifying the role seaweed plays in the global carbon cycle. This study aims to improve knowledge of carbon sequestered by seaweeds in Scotland by: quantifying the abundance and distribution of seaweed detritus, analyzing the decomposition rates of seaweed, using bio-markers of seaweed to determine contribution to long-term sediment stores and synthesizing the data to build a picture of nationwide carbon sequestration of macro algae.

Recent publications:

As an undergraduate, worked on the paper: Seasonal expression patterns of clock-associated genes in the blue mussel Mytilus edulis

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