Environment and Sustainability Institute
Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK
Shauna is a PhD student at the University of Exeter, working in collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Her project, “Seaweed Diseases: Understanding seaweed host-pathogen interactions to improve commercial seaweed production”, will investigate the dynamics and ‘chemical cross-talk’ between seaweed host, microbiome, and disease. The aim of this work is to help manage disease outbreaks and improve commercial seaweed production, aiding the expansion of seaweed cultivation in the UK.
Previously, Shauna studied a BSc in Biological sciences at the University of Exeter, where she conducted research on microplastic contamination in common shore crabs. After graduating, Shauna worked as an analytical chemist specialising in testing antibiotic and pesticide residues in a range of environmental matrices before returning to complete her MRes in Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth & The Marine Biological Association. Her masters project utilised citizen science data to model the habitat use and risk exposure of bottlenose dolphins around the south of the UK.
BSc Biological Sciences, University of Exeter, 2014
MRes Marine Biology, University of Plymouth & The Marine Biology Association, 2020
Shauna’s broad research interests lie in marine ecology, chemical ecology, and climate science: understanding fundamental biological processes which may help mitigate anthropogenic impacts in the marine environment
Project Title: Seaweed Diseases: Understanding seaweed host-pathogen interactions to improve commercial seaweed production
Supervisors: Dr. Michiel Vos, Dr. Mahasweta Saha (PML), Dr. Ruth Airs (PML), and Dr. Chris Lowe
Funding Bodies: South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio DTP)
Project Description: Seaweed aquaculture is rapidly growing in the UK; however, disease outbreaks can decrease yields by up to 40%. Seaweed microbiomes are thought to be key to seaweed health, with seaweeds possessing the ability to recruit beneficial microbes and repel pathogens through chemical cues. Shauna is a PhD student at the University of Exeter, her research aims to investigate seaweed host-pathogen interactions to reduce disease prevalence in commercial seaweed farming in the South West UK. To achieve this, she shall explore how we can improve cultivation techniques to reduce disease, if seaweed chemical defence can be upregulated, and how defence metabolites and epibacterial communities respond to disease. Her PhD is in partnership with Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) and the Cornish Seaweed Company. Shauna will be conducting field at the Cornish Seaweed Company, working together with them to reduce bleaching disease prevalence and increase crop yield.