Climate-Ecosystem Interactions

Climate-Ecosystem Interactions relates to adaptations of algae, lichens and aquatic plants to their physical and chemical environment. As algae comprise key primary producers in marine coastal and off-shore systems, algae-climate change interactions are essential to ecosystem stability. Algal physiological and biochemical responses to environmental change include the development of protective mechanisms and adjustments of metabolic pathways which can be used as proxies to quantify environmental impacts. Algae also play an active role in the carbon and nitrogen cycles by emitting and exuding compounds into air and water, respectively, and can thus potentially mitigate or enhance climate change processes. A recent interest of the group is the impact of ocean acidification on algal metabolism, potentially resulting in changes in algal community structure, and its implications for marine food webs. Climate change impacts on algal communities are of particularly significance due to the existing current and potential future exploitation of algal resources in Ireland.

Research activities are linked to SOLAS and other international climate change-related programmes.


Photo: Dagmar Stengel, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Dagmar Stengel
Botany and Plant Science
Phone:(091) 49 3192 ; Email:
Research interests in the area of climate change include adaptation/acclimation of seaweeds to their physical and chemical environment, including effects of climate change on algal physiology; intertidal rockpools as model systems and modelling of physico-chemical parameters; and use of lichens and aquatic macrophytes in biomonitoring.