Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Dr Sebastian Hennige

Research interests:

Impacts of environmental change and pollutants to marine ecosystems. This includes temperature, deoxygenation, ocean acidification from the environmental side, and nanoparticles, plastics and oil from the pollutant side. The organisms I have mostly focused on are corals (tropical and deep-sea), oil degrading bacteria and algae. My current research is to examine how Scottish Cold-Water coral reefs will be impacted by changes in ocean biogeochemistry. Projected changes will result in large scale habitat loss, and to model the time scales of this, it is crucial we have a firm understanding on how North Atlantic water masses are going to change over the coming decades.

Career history:

I studied Marine and Environmental Biology at the University of St. Andrews before taking a PhD at the University of Essex examing acclimation and adaptations of corals across environmental gradients. In 2009, I went to the University of Delaware (USA) to research harmful algal bloom photophysiology in a variety of environments, and mechanisms underlying tropical coral bleaching. Following that, I moved to Heriot-Watt University to conduct the first long-term experiments on cold-water corals in a changing ocean. My NERC Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh examined the impact of climate change in tropical and cold-water corals, and my fieldwork throughout my career has included expeditions from the UK and Norway for cold-water corals, to tropical destinations such as Indonesia and the Maldives. I am currently a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. I was lead editor of a United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity report on ocean acidification, contributing author to the recent IPCC special report on Oceans and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate and am on the steering group for the MASTS Dynamics and Properties of Marine Systems theme and biogeochemistry forum.

Active research projects:

iAtlantic – Integrated assessment of Atlantic marine ecosystems in space and time.
Atlas – A transatlantic assessment and deep-water ecosystem-based spatial management plan for Europe.
OneOcean Hub (GCRF)

Recent publications:

1. IPCC Special Report on Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) Contributing Author, Chapter 5. (2019)
2. La Beur L, Henry L-A, Kazanidis G, Hennige S.J, McDonald A, Shaver MP and Roberts JM (2019) Baseline Assessment of Marine Litter and Microplastic Ingestion by Cold-Water Coral Reef Benthos at the East Mingulay Marine Protected Area (Sea of the Hebrides, Western Scotland). Frontiers in Marine Science. 6:80.
3. Murray F., De Clippele L., Hiley A., Wicks L., Roberts J.M., Hennige S.J. (2019) Multiple feeding strategies observed in the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 99 1281-1283
4. Kamenos, N.A., Hennige S.J. (2018). Reconstructing four centuries of temperature-induced coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Frontiers in Marine Science: Coral Reefs: 15
5. Diz D., Johnson J., Ridell M., Rees S., Battle S., Gjerde K., Hennige S.J., Roberts J. (2018) Mainstreaming marine biodiversity into the SDGs: The role of other effective area-based conservation measures (SDG 14.5). Marine Policy 93, 251-261

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