Kati Michalek

Project Summary

My PhD project is embedded in the pan-European project CACHE funded by the European Union’s Peoples Programme (Marie Curie Actions). I will investigate the adaptation potential of Blue mussels Mytilus sp. to changing climate conditions, using Scottish sea lochs as natural experimental setups providing habitats with varying degrees of naturally acidified and diluted seawater.  I will conduct field studies and comparative manipulation experiments in the lab applying a variety of morphological, physiological and molecular methods, including measurements of shell strength, calcification rates and calcification gene expression as well as fine-scale population genetics analysis. By investigating population structures on different scales, e.g. between different loch types, within lochs (wild vs farmed species) and down a single mussel farming rope, we will be able to study if a) the genotype frequency distribution of Mytilus species varies with scale, b) if the level of selection is correlated to the hydrographic regime of the habitat and c) if populations from highly variable habitats are more resilient to environmental fluctuations than populations from comparatively stable habitats. Finally, our results will directly report to the local shellfish aquaculture sector, providing future predictions on the potential impacts of climatic changes on mussel performance and occurrence in Scotland.

Previous Research and Other Interests

I am passionate about the impacts of changing climate conditions on marine organisms’ performance. This area offers a huge potential for research as the physiological responses and adaptive potentials of marine communities to cope with challenging environments are still not well known. During previous research I applied ecological and eco-physiological approaches to study fish larvae and juveniles as well as estuarine invertebrates and investigating their responses to e.g. increasing temperatures and lower dissolved oxygen concentrations in the water column using a variety of morphological and physiological methods. In addition I am highly interested in linking research and industry to increase public awareness about specific marine issues as well as providing local authorities with first-hand information.


Dr Kim Last, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), UK
Dr Tom Wilding, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), UK
Dr David Green, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), UK
Dr Joe Hoffman, University of Bielefeld

  • 2014–Present: PhD Student, SAMS, University of the Highlands and Islands
  • 2010–2013: MSc Marine Biology, University of Bremen, Germany
  • 2007–2010: BSc Biological Sciences, University of Rostock, Germany
  • 2005–2007: Chemical Biotechnical Assistant, Lette-Verein Berlin, Germany
Professional Experience
  • Jan–Apr 2014: Trainee, German Marine Research Consortium, Brussels Belgium
  • Nov–Dec 2013: Field Assistant, Fish Eco-Physiology, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Feb–Mar 2009: Field Assistant, Benthic Invertebrate Ecology, Sydney, Australia
  • Jan–Feb 2007: Research Assistant, Marine Mammal Ecology, St. Andrews, UK
  • 2014–2017: Marie Curie Scholarship (CACHE ITN)
  • 2007: Leonardo Da Vinci Scholarship for International Work Placements

Contact Details

Kati Michalek
SAMS, Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll
PA37 1QA,

phone: +44 (0) 1631 559 278
fax: +44 (0) 1631 559 001
email: kati.michalek[at]sams.ac.uk