I am a community ecologist with a particular focus on how global environmental change is influencing the biodiversity, structure and functioning of marine ecosystems. I have worked extensively on kelp forest ecosystems across Europe, Australia and South America, and used a combination of field observations and manipulative experiments to better understand processes that shape them. My research has demonstrated (i) the importance of kelps as habitat-forming species and determinants of local biodiversity, (ii) the responses of kelp forest communities to both long-term gradual climate change and extreme climatic events, and (iii) patterns and drivers of kelp forest structure and productivity. I have also led recent advances in characterising physical properties and ecological impacts of short-term extreme warming events (i.e. ‘marine heatwaves’), which are emerging as important drivers of marine ecosystem change and are likely to intensity with anthropogenic climate change. Recently, I have collaborated with industry and government partners to conduct applied research to support the emerging seaweed industry. I am a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and lead a vibrant and productive research group at the MBA.
Dr Dan Smale
Senior Research Fellow