Professor Keith Davidson

        Photo of Professor Davidson delivering a talk during graduation in 2016

Associate Director for Science and Education

As Associate Director I lead SAMS’ educational activity at undergraduate, masters and PhD level.

My research is related to phytoplankton and their role in marine environments. I have a particular focus on harmful algal blooms (HABs) and tools for the early warning of these events.

Contact details:

I have a background in physics but have become increasingly interested in  phytoplankton since I first started to attempt to model their growth as an undergraduate.

I now have wide interests related to marine microbes and marine biogeochemistry in terms of better understanding the factors that govern cell growth, interactions between organisms and the cycling of carbon and nutrient in marine pelagic environments.

Currently the main focus of my research is related to harmful algal blooms (HABs). These events are caused by a range of phytoplankton genera and can negatively impact human, other mammal or fish health through the production of natural biotoxins and other mechanisms. My research centers of how the physical/chemical/biological environment governs these HAB events. We are using this increased understanding to develop methods, including models and other risk assessment tools, that provide early warning of HAB events for aquaculture, regulators and the public.

Current projects

HABreports-FFA (for Fin Fish Aquaculture): SAIC project with Scottish Sea Farms and MOWI as partners. May 2021-Oct 23. 

Malaysian HAB reports: Harmful algal bloom and biotoxin early warning to meet the ODA challenge of providing resilient aquaculture resources in Asia. Funded by BBSRC/NERC. 2020-22

Combining Autonomous observations and Models for Predicting and Understanding Shelf seas (CAMPUS): This project aims to deliver an improved evidence-base for ecosystem-based marine management and to identify a cost-effective optimised observing network. Funded by NERC. 2018-21.

Predicting Risk and Impact of Harmful Events on the Aquaculture Sector (PRIMROSE): This project with partners in Scotland, Ireland, England, France, Spain and Portugal is developing common methodologies for better harmful algal bloom and biotoxin early warning for European aquaculture. Funded by NWE Interreg. 2017-20

Arctic Productivity in the seasonal Ice Zone (Arctic PRIZE): We are investigating the seasonally and spatially varying relationship between sea ice, water column structure, light, nutrients and phytoplankton productivity and the roles they play in structuring energy transfer to pelagic zooplankton and benthic megafauna. Funded by NERC. 2017-21

Selected past projects

Risk Assessing Harmful Algal Generated Biotoxin Events: We produce weekly HAB and biotoxin risk assessments that are made available through the web site. Funded by the European Fisheries Fund. 2017-19

Satellite-based water quality bulletins for shellfish farms to support managememt decisions (Shelleye-2): We are evaluating the use of satellites for high biomass harmful algal bloom identification and early warning. Funded by NERC. 2017-19

Minimising the risk of harm to aquaculture and human health from advective harmful algal blooms through early warning: This project developed methodologies to produce mathematical model based alerts of harmful algal blooms. Funded by NERC/BBSRC. 2015-17

CArbon/Nutrient DYnamics and FLuxes Over Shelf Systems (CANDYFLOSS): In this project we studied bacterial productivity within a large consortium of partners looking at carbon and nutrient fluxes in the Celtic sea. Funded by NERC. 2013-17

Trends in phytoplankton community structure in coastal regions of restricted exchange (RSE): This project (in collaboration with Prof. Kedong Yin from Sun Yat Sen University)  used a “Phytoplankton community index” to study the recovery of Tolo Harbour (Hong Kong) from historical anthropogenic contamination, and hence assess its environmental status. Funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 2016-17

Applied Simulations and Integrated Modeling for the Understanding of Toxic and Harmful Algal Blooms (ASIMUTH): This project developed the basis of harmful algal bloom risk assessment in Europe: work that is now being furthered in a number of current SAMS projects including PRIMORSE. Funded by EU FP7. 2010-13

The harmful dinoflagellate Karenia mikimotoi in western Scottish waters: Over the period 2010-2015 we  conducted a number of Crown Estate funded projects to assess and mitigate the risk to fish farming of the harmful phytoplankter Karenia mikimotoi. Funded by The Crown Estate


BSc Marine Science - lecturer (previously module leader) 3rd year 'Marine Ecology'

BSc Marine Science - practicals on 1st year 'Field Course'

BSc Marine Science - modelling classes 4th year 'Defining the Marine Carbon Cycle'

Aquaculture, Environment and Society MSc - Nutrient cycling classes

Industrial Biotechnology MSc - Blue biotechnology module - Nutrienct cycling classes

Current research students

Beatrix Siemering: Environmental drivers and advective transport of harmful phytoplankton in North West European shelf seas. PhD 2013-17. UHI

Ruth Paterson: Understanding the distribution and seasonal dynamics of Azadinium spinosum in Scottish waters. PhD 2013-17. UHI

Paul Dees: Improving the predictability of harmful algal blooms around Shetland. PhD 2016-20. UHI

Jason Salt: Quantifying the spatial and temporal variability of phytoplankton productivity from mobile autonomous platforms. PhD 2016-20. UHI

Cathy Winterton: 100-year record of changing toxic algae in Scottish coastal waters relating to climate change. PhD 2015-21. UHI

Judith Braun: Nitrogen uptake and phytoplankton productivity in the changing Arctic Ocean. PhD 2017-21. UHI

Rebecca Weeks: Identification and tracking of harmful algal blooms using multi-spectral techniques from remotely piloted aircraft platforms. PhD 2014-17. UHI

Lucy Lintott: Harmful algal blooms, climate change and human health. PhD 2016-20. University of Exeter

Alumni research students

Grigorios Moschonas: Dissolved Organic Nitrogen Dynamics and Influence on Phytoplankton. PhD 2016. UHI

Iona Campbell: An assessment into the potential influence of Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) produced by large scale kelp cultivation sites on the local microplankton. PhD 2015. UHI

Silje-Kristin Jessen: Are toxins from harmful algae a factor involved in the decline of harbour seal populations in Scotland? PhD 2015. University of St Andrews

Lisa Eckford-Soper: The competitive dynamics of toxic and non-toxic ribotypes of the harmful dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense in Scottish waters. PhD 2013. UHI

Christian Lonborg: Bioavailability of dissolved organic matter in coastal waters. PhD 2009. UHI

Romain Pete: Effect of organic nutrient perturbation on microbial community dynamics and composition in Scottish coastal waters. PhD 2008. UHI

Aditee Mitra: Zooplankton Growth Dynamics; A Modelling Study. PhD 2006. UHI

Johanna Fehling: Diversity, ecology and domoic acid production of Pseudo-nitzschia spp in Scottish waters. PhD 2004. UHI

Other teaching responsibilities

External examiner - BSc in Marine Science, National University of Galway, Ireland

Previous external examiner - MSc Aquatic Ecosyste Management at Edinburgh Napier University

External examiner for 10 PhD candidates

Consultancy and industry experience

I lead the regulatory monitoring programme for biotoxin producing  phytoplankton in Scottish Waters  conducted by SAMS under contract from Food Standards Scotland. This programme reports the concentration of potentially harmful phytoplankton from ~ 40 sites around the Scottish coast on a weekly basis to ensure the safety of commercially harvested shellfish in Scottish waters. More...

Accessing consultancy services from SAMS

SAMS consultancy work is delivered through its wholly owned commercial subsidiary, SAMS Research Services Ltd. (SRSL).

SRSL operates a comprehensive Quality Management System (QMS) that is accredited to ISO9001:2008 standard, guaranteeing that all projects deliver the best possible service to our customers.All SRSL projects are planned by a professional programme manager who oversees a team of dedicated project managers, all of whom are focussed specifically on client delivery, and have scientific experience and technical expertise in fields relevant to their assigned projects.

For further information concerning commercial enterprise opportunities at SAMS, please contact the SRSL team by email ( or phone +44 (0) 1631 559 470.

Journal articles

(105) GlobalHAB (2023) Fish-Killing Marine Algal Blooms: Causative Organisms, Ichthyotoxic Mechanisms, Impacts and Mitigation. (eds Hallegraeff, Anderson, Davidson et al). Paris, UNESCO-IOC/SCOR, 96pp. (IOC Manuals and Guides no 93). DOI: 

(104) Szewczyk TM, Morro B, Díaz-Gil C, Gillibrand PA, Hardwick JP, Davidson K, Aleynik D, Rey Planellas S (2023) Interactive effects of multiple stressors with significant wave height exposure on farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) welfare along an inshore-offshore gradient. Aquaculture 579: 740184. 

(103) Dees P, Dale A, Whyte C, Mouat B, Davidson K (2023) Operational modelling to assess advective harmful algal bloom development and its potential to impact aquaculture. Harmful Algae, 129,102517,

(102) Gianella F, Burrows MT, Davidson K (2023) The relationship between salmon (Salmo salar) farming and cell abundance of harmful algal taxa. Harmful Algae 129: 102512

(101) Neira Del Río P, Mateus M, Silke J, Davidson K (2022) Editorial: Current challenges in providing early warning of harmful algal and microbiological risk to aquaculture. Frontiers in Marine Science 9     

(100) Orkney A, Davidson K, Mitchell E, Henley SF and Bouman HA (2022) Different Observational Methods and the Detection of Seasonal and Atlantic Influence Upon Phytoplankton Communities in the Western Barents Sea. Front. Mar. Sci. 9:860773. 

(99) Ruiz-Villarreal M, Sourisseau M, Anderson P, Cusack C, Neira P, Silke J, Rodriguez F, Ben-Gigirey B, Whyte C, Giraudeau-Potel S, Quemener L, Arthur G, Davidson K. (2022) Novel Methodologies for providing in situ data to HAB Early Warning Systems in the European Atlantic Area: The PRIMROSE Experience. Frontiers in Marine Science 9: 791329

(98) Gianella F, Burrows MT, Swan SC, Turner AD and Davidson K (2021) Temporal and Spatial Patterns of Harmful Algae Affecting Scottish Shellfish Aquaculture. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8: 785174 

(97) McLeod AR, Brand T, C­­­­ampbell CN, Davidson K, Hatton AD (2021) Ultraviolet radiation drives emission of climate-relevant gases from marine phytoplankton. JGR Biogeosciences 126 (9): e2021JG006345

(96) Biancacci C, McDougall GJ, Allwood JW, Day JG, Davidson K and Stanley MS (2021). LC-MSn profiling reveals seasonal variation in the composition of Osmundea pinnatifida (Hudson) Stackhouse. J Appl Phycol (2021). 

(95) Davidson K, Whyte C, Aleynik D, Kurekin A, Gontarek S, McNeill S, Miller PI, Porter M, Saxon R, Swan S (2021) HABreports: Online early warning of harmful algal and biotoxin risk for the Scottish shellfish and finfish aquaculture industries. Frontiers in Marine Science

(94) Bresnan E, Arévalo F, Belin C, Branco MAC, Cembella A, Clarke D, Correa J, Davidson K, Dhanji-Rapkova M, Fernández Lozanoi R, Fernández-Tejedor M, Guðfinnsson H, Carbonelli DJ, Laza-Martinez A, Lemoine M, Lewish AM, Mamán Menéndez L, Maskrey BH, McKinney A, Pazos Y, Revilla M, Siano R, Silva A, Swan S, Turner AD, Schweibold L, Provoost P, Enevoldsen H (2021) Diversity and regional distribution of harmful algal events along the Atlantic margin of Europe. Harmful Algae 101976

(93) Martino S, Gianella F, Davidson K (2020) An approach for evaluating the economic impacts of harmful algal blooms: The effects of blooms of toxic Dinophysis spp on the productivity of Scottish shellfish farms. Harmful Algae 99: 101912 

(92) Trainer VL, Davidson K, Wakita K, Berdalet E, Suddleston, Myre G (2020) GLOBALHAB: Evaluating, reducing and mitigating the cost of Harmful Algal Blooms: A compendium of case studies. PICES Press 28(1): 30-32

(91) Bresnan E, Baker-Austin C, Campos CJA, Davidson K, Edwards M, Hall A, McKinney A, Turner AD (2020) Impacts of climate change on human health, HABs and bathing waters, relevant to the coastal and marine environment around the UK. MCCIP Science Review 2020, 521-545 

(90) Young N, Sharpe RA, Barciela R, Nichols G, Davidson K, Berdalet E, Fleming LE (2020) Marine harmful algal blooms and human health: A systematic scoping review. Harmful Algae, 98, 101901.

(89) Wells ML, Karlson B, Wulff A,, Kudela R, Asnaghi V, Berdalet B, Cochlan W, Davidson K, De Rijcke M, Dutkiewicz1 S, Hallegraeff G, Flynn KJ, Legrand C, Paerl H, Silke J, Suikkanen S, Thompson P, Trainer V, Trick C (2019) Future HAB Science: Directions and Challenges in a Changing Climate. Harmful Algae 

(88) Lo Giudice Cappelli, E, Clarke JL, Smerton C, Davidson K, Austin WEN (2019) Organic carbon rich sediments: benthic foraminifera as bio-indicators of depositional environments. Biogeosciences 16: 4183–4199.  

(87) Parks R, Sawn S, Davidson K, Turner A, Maskery B, Powell A, Ford C, Petch RG (2019) Annual report on the results of the E. coli, biotoxin, phytoplankton and chemical contaminants Official Control Monitoring Programmes for Scotland – 2018.

(86) Rowland-Pilgrim S, Swan SC, O’Neill A, Johnson S, Coates L, Stubbs P, Dean K, Harrison K, Teixeira Alves M, Walton A, Davidson K, Turner AD, Maskrey BH (2019) Variability of Amnesic Shellfish Toxin and Pseudo-nitzschia occurrence in bivalve molluscs and water samples – analysis of ten years of the official control monitoring programme. Harmful Algae 87 101623 

(85) García-Martín EE, Daniels CJ, Davidson K, Davis CE, Mahaffey C, Mayers KMJ, McNeill S, Poulton AJ, Purdie DA, Tarran GA, Robinson C (2019) Seasonal changes in plankton respiration and bacterial metabolism in a temperate Shelf Sea. Progress in Oceanography 101884 

(84) García-Martín EE, Daniels CJ, Davidson K, Lozano J, Mayers KMJ, McNeill S, Mitchell E, Poulton AJ, Purdie DA, Tarran GA, Whyte C, Robinson C (2019) Plankton community respiration and bacterial metabolism in a North Atlantic Shelf Sea during spring bloom development (April 2015). Progress in Oceanography 101873 

(83) Swan SC, Turner AD, Bresnan E, Whyte C, Paterson RF, McNeill S, Davidson K(2018) Dinophysis acuta in Scottish Waters and its Influence on Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxin Profiles. Toxins 10(10), 399;

(82) Coates L, Swan S, Davidson K, Turner A, Maskrey B, Algoet M (2018) Annual report on the results of the biotoxin and phytoplankton official control monitoring programmes for Scotland - 2017. Available at:

(81) Berdalet E, Kudela RM, Banas NS, Bresnan E, Burford MA, Davidson K, Gobler CJ, Karlson B, Lim PT, Mackenzie L, Montresor M, Trainer VL, Usup G, Yin K, Enevoldsen H, Urban E (2018) GlobalHAB: Fostering International Coordination on Harmful Algal Bloom Research in Aquatic Systems. In Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms. Eds Glibert PM, Berdalet E, Burford MA, Pitcher GC, Zhou M. Springer, Berlin. ISBN 978-3-319-70069-4 

(80) Weeks R, Anderson P, Davidson K, McKee D (2018) The use of a quadcopter-mounted hyper-spectral spectrometer form examining remote-sensing reflectance in Scottish coastal waters. Proceedings of the 2018 IEEE International Geoscience & Remote Sensing Symposium, Valencia.

(79) Schmidt W, Evers-King HL, Campos CJA, Jones DB, Miller PI, Davidson K, Shutler JD (2018) A generic approach for the development of short-term predictions of Escherichia coli and biotoxins in shellfish. Aquaculture Environment Interactions 10:173-185.

(78) García-Martín, EE, Daniels, CJ, Davidson, K, Lozano, J, Mayers, KMJ, McNeill, S, Mitchell, E, Poulton, AJ, Purdie, DA, Tarran, GA, Whyte, C, Robinson, C (2017) Plankton community respiration and bacterial metabolism in a North Atlantic Shelf Sea during spring bloom development (April 2015). Progress in Oceanography.

(77) Paul Dees, Eileen Bresnan, Andrew C Dale, Martin Edwards, David Johns, Beth Mouat, Callum Whyte, and Keith Davidson (2017) Harmful algal blooms in the Eastern North Atlantic ocean. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

(76) Yue Lei, Callum Whyte, Keith Davidson, Paul Tett and Kedong Yin (2017) A change in phytoplankton community index with water quality improvement in Tolo Harbour, Hong Kong. Marine Pollution Bulletin 

(75) Paterson, R.F., McNeill, S., Mitchell, E., Adams, T., Swan, S.C., Clarke, D., Miller, P.I., Bresnan, E., Davidson, K., 2017. Environmental control of harmful dinoflagellates and diatoms in a fjordic system. Harmful Algae 69, 1–17. doi:10.1016/j.hal.2017.09.002

(74) Moschonas G, Gowen RJ, Paterson R, Mitchell E, Stewart BM, McNeill S, Glibert PM, Davidson K (2017) Nitrogen dynamics and phytoplankton community structure: the role of organic nutrients. Biogeochemistry DOI: 10.1007/s10533-017-0351-8

(73) Berdalet E, Kudela R, Urban E, Enevoldsen H, Banas N.S., Bresnan E, Burford M, Davidson K, Gobler CJ, Karlson B, Lim P.T., Mackenzie L, Montresor  M, Trainer V.L., Usup G, Yin K. (2017) GlobalHAB: New Program to Promote International Research, Observations, and Modeling of Harmful Algal Blooms in Aquatic Systems. Oceanography 30:70-81.

(72) Siemering B, Bresnan E, Painter SC, Daniels CJ, Inall M, Davidson K (2016) Phytoplankton distribution in relation to environmental drivers on the NorthWest European Shelf Sea. PLoS ONE 11(10): e0164482. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0164482

(71) Whyte C, Davidson K, Gilpin L, Mitchell E Moschonas G, McNeill S, Tett P (2016). Tracking changes to a microplankton community in a Scottish sea loch using the microplankton index PI(mp). ICES J Marine Science. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsw125

(70) Davidson K, Anderson DM, Mateus M, Reguera B, Silke J, Sourisseau M, Maguire J (2016) Forecasting the risk of harmful algal blooms: preface to the Asimuth special issue. Harmful Algae 53:1-7.

(69) Aleynik D, Dale AC, Porter M, Davidson K (2016). A high resolution hydrodynamic model system suitable for novel harmful algal bloom modelling in areas of complex coastline and topography. Harmful Algae 53:102-117

(68) Gillibrand PA, Siemering B, Miller PI, Davidson K (2016). Individual-based modelling of the development and transport of a Karenia mikimotoi bloom on the North-West European continental shelf. Harmful Algae  53:118-134.

(67) Eckford-Soper LK, Bresnan E, Lacaze J-P, Green DH, Davidson K (2016) The competitive dynamics of toxic Alexandrium fundyense and non-toxic Alexandrium tamarense: the role of temperature. Harmful Algae 53:135-144.

(66) Maguire J, Cusack C, Ruiz-Villarreal M, Silk J, McElligott, Davidson K (2016). Applied simulations and integrated modelling for the understanding of toxic and harmful algal blooms (ASIMUTH): Integrated HAB forecast systems for Europe's Atlantic Arc. Harmful Algae 53:160-165

(65) Berdalet E, Fleming LE, Gowen R, Davidson K, Hess P, Backer LC, Moore SK, Hoagland P, Enevoldsen H (2016). Marine harmful algal blooms, human health and wellbeing: challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. UK 96: 61-91

(64) Davidson K, Baker C, Higgins C, Higman W, Swan S, Veszelovszki A, Turner AD (2015) Potential threats posed by New or Emerging Marine Biotoxins in UK Waters and examination of detection methodologies used for their control: Cyclic imines. Marine Drugs 13: 7087-7112

(63) Brito AC, Sá C, Mendes CR, Brand T, Dias AM, Brotas V, Davidson K (2015) Structure of late summer phytoplankton community in the Firth of Lorn (Scotland) using microscopy and HPLC-CHEMTAX. Esuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 167:86-101 doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2015.07.006

(62) Swan S, Davidson K (2015)  Alexandrium and risk management within the Scottish phytoplankton monitoring programme.   Lincoln MacKenzie [Ed]. Marine and Freshwater Harmful Algae 2014. Proceedings of the 16th International Conference   on Harmful. Algae. Cawthron Institute, Nelson, New Zealand and the International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae (ISSHA)

(61) Moschonas G, Gowen RJ, Stewart BM, Davidson K (2015) Nitrogen dynamics in the Irish Sea and adjacent shelf waters: an exploration of dissolved organic nitrogen. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 164: 276-287

(60) Turner A, Higgins C, Davidson K Veszelovski A, Payne D, Hungerford J, Higman W (2015). Monitoring of new or emerging marine biotoxins in UK waters: Brevetoxins. Marine Drugs 13: 1224-1254

(59) Whyte C, Swan, S, Davidson K (2014) Changing wind patterns linked to unusually high Dinophysis blooms around the coast of the Shetland Islands, Scotland. Harmful Algae 39: 365-373

(58) Davidson K, Gowen RJ, Harrison PJ, Fleming LE, Hoagland P, Moschonas G (2014) Anthropogenic nutrients and harmful algae in coastal waters. Journal of Environmental Management. 146: 206-216

(57) Davidson K (2014). The challenges of incorporating realistic simulations of marine protists in biogeochemically based mathematical models. Acta Protozool. 53: 129-138

(56) Bresnan E, Davidson K, Edwards M, Fernand L, Gowen R, Hall A, Kennington K, McKinney, A, Milligan S, Raine R, Silke J (2013) Impact of climate change on harmful algal blooms. MCCIP Science Review 2013: 236-243 doi:10.14465/2013.arc24.236-243

(55) Eckford-Soper, L.K. Davidson, K., Bresnan E. (2013)  Identification and quantification of toxic and non-toxic strains of the harmful dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense using fluorescence in situ hybridization and flow cytometry. Limnology and Oceanography Methods 11:540-548

(54) Tweddle JF, Sharples J, Palmer MR, Davidson K, McNeill S. (2013) Enhanced nutrient fluxes at the shelf sea seasonal thermocline caused by stratified flow over a bank. Progress in Oceanography 117:37-47.

(53) Davidson K, Gilpin LC, Pete R, Brennan D, McNeill S, Monshonas G, Sharples J. (2013) Phytoplankton and bacterial distribution and productivity on and around Jones Bank in the Celtic Sea. Progress in Oceanography 117:48-63

(52) Narayanaswamy BE, Coll M, Danovaro R, Davidson K, Ojaveer H, Renaud PE (2013) Assessing the biodiversity of European Seas. PLoS ONE 8(3): e58909. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058909

(51) Hughes A, Black K, Campbell I, Davidson K, Kelly M, Stanley M.  (2012) Does Seaweed offer a solution for bioenergy with biological carbon capture and storage? Greenhouse gases: Science and Technology. 2: 402-407.

(50) Davidson K, Gowen R, Tett P, Bresnan E, Harrison PJ, McKinney A, Milligan S, Mills DK, Silke J, Crooks. (2012) Harmful algal blooms: How strong is the evidence that nutrient ratios and forms influence their occurrence? Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 115, 399-413.

(49) Sanderson JC, Dring MJ, Davidson K, Kelly MS (2012) Culture, yield and bioremediation potential of palmaria palmata (Linnaeus) Weber & Mohr and Saccharina latissima (Linnaeus) C.E.Lane, C.Mayes, Druehl & G.W.Saunders adjacent to fish farm cages in north west Scotland.  Aquaculture 354-555: 128-135

(48) Callaway R,  Shinn AP,  Grenfell SE, Bron JE, Burnell G, Cook EJ, Crumlish M, Culloty S, Davidson K, Ellis RP, Flynn KJ, Fox C, Green DM, Hays GC, Hughes A, Johnston E, Lowe CD, Lupatsch I, Malham S, Mendzil AF, Nickell T, Pickerell T, Rowley AF, Stanley MS, Tocher DR,Turnbull JF, Webb G, Wootton E, Shields R (2012) Review of climate change and marine aquaculture in the UK and Ireland. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 22: 389–421

(47) Fehling J, Davidson K, Bolch CJ, Brand T, Narayanaswamy BE (2012). The Relationship Between Phytoplankton Distribution and Water Column Characteristics in North West European Shelf Sea Waters. PLoS ONE 7(3): e34098. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034098

(46) Gowen RJ, Tett P, Bresnan E, Davidson K, McKinney A, Milligan S,  Mills DK, Silke J, Gordon A, Crooks AM (2012). Anthropogenic Nutrient Enrichment and Blooms of Harmful Micro-algae. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An annual review. 50: 65-126

(45) Shutler, JD, Davidson K, Miller PI, Swan SC, Grant MG, Bresnan E (2012) An adaptive approach to detect high biomass algal blooms from EO chlorophyll-a data in support of harmful algal bloom monitoring. Remote Sensing Letters 3: 101-110

(44) Davidson K, Sayegh F, Montagnes DJS (2011) Oxyrrhis marina based models as a tool to interpret protozoan population dynamics. J. Plankton Res 33:651-663

(43) Montagnes DJS, Lowe CD, Martin L, Watts PC, Downes-Tettmar N, Zhou Y, Roberts EC, Davidson K. (2011) Oxyrrhis marina growth, sex, and reproduction. J. Plankton Res 33:615-627

(42) Roberts EC, Wootton EC, Davidson K, Jeong HJ, Lowe CD, Montagnes DJS (2011) Feeding in the Dinoflagellate Oxyrrhis marina: Linking Behaviour with Mechanisms. J. Plankton Res 33:603-614

(41) Montagnes DJS, Lowe CD,  Roberts EC, Breckels MN, Boakes DE, Davidson K, Keeling PJ, Slamovits C, Yang  Z  and Watts PC (2011) An introduction to the special issue:Oxyrrhis marina, a model organism? J. Plankton Res 33:549-554

(40) Bresnan, E., L. Fernand, K. Davidson, M. Edwards, S Milligan, R Gowan, J Silke, S Kröger & R Raine (2010) Climate Change impacts on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in MCCIP Annual Report Card 2010-11, MCCIP Science Review, 10pp. Available online at

(39) Davidson K, Touzet N, McCoy GR, Chapelle A,  Pete R, McNeill S, Raine R (2010) Spatial and temporal distribution of Alexandrium tamarense in Shetland waters. In: 7th International Conference on Molluscan Shellfish Safety (Lassus P ed) pp.173-178. ISBN 978-2-84433-161-8 Available online at

(38) Pete R, Davidson K, Hart M, Gutierrez T, Miller AEJ (2010) Diatom derived dissolved organic matter as a driver of bacterial productivity: the role of nutrient limitation. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 391:20-26

(37) Touzet N., Davidson K., Pete R., Flanagan K., McCoy GR., Amzil Z., Maher M., Chapelle A., Raine R (2010) Co-occurrence of the West European (Gr. III) and North American (Gr. I) ribotypes of Alexandrium tamarense (Dinophyceae) in Shetland, Scotland. Protist  161: 370-384

(36) Lønborg C, Álvarez-Salgado XA, Davidson  K, Teira E (2010) Assessing the bioavailability and degradation rates of marine dissolved organic matter by fluorescence spectroscopy. Marine Chemistry 113:219-226

(35) Davidson K & Bresnan E (2009) Shellfish toxicity in UK waters: a threat to human health? Environmental Health 8(Suppl 1):S12 doi:10.1186/1476-069X-8-S1-S12

(34) Lønborg C, Álvarez–Salgado XA, Davidson K, Miller AEJ (2009) Production of bioavailable and refractory dissolved organic matter by coastal heterotrophic microbial populations. Estuarine Coastal & Shelf Science 82:682-688

(33) Lønborg C, Davidson K, Álvarez-Salgado, XA, Miller AEJ (2009) Bioavailability and bacterial degradiation rates of dissolved organic matter in a temperate coastal area during an annual cycle. Marine Chemistry 113: 219-226

(32) Davidson K, Miller PI, Wilding T, Shutler J, Bresnan E, Kennington K, Swan S (2009) A large and prolonged bloom of Karenia mikimotoi in Scottish waters in 2006. Harmful Algae 8:349-361

(31) Montagnes DJS, Barbosa AB, Boenigk J, Davidson K, Jürgens K, Macek M, Parry J, Roberts EC, Šimek K (2008) Selective feeding behaviour of free-living protists: views on, and avenues for, continued study.Aquatic Microbial Ecology 53:83-98

(30) Davidson K, Gilpin, LC, Hart MC, Fouilland E, Mitchell E, Alvarez Calleja I, Laurent C, Miller AEJ, Leakey RJG (2007)  The influence of the balance of inorganic and organic nitrogen on the trophic dynamics of  microbial food webs. Limnology and Oceanography 52: 2147-2163

(29) Davidson, K & Fehling J (2006) In:  Harmful Algae 2004. Eds Pitcher GC, Probyn TA, Verheye HM. African J. Mar Sci 28:357-360 Modelling the influence of silicon and phosphorus limitation on the growth and toxicity of Pseudo-nitzschia seriata.

(28) Fehling J., Davidson K., Bolch C.J., Tett P. (2006) Seasonality of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. (Bacillariophyceae) in western Scottish waters.Marine Ecology Progress Series 323:91-105

(27) Davidson K., Roberts E.C., Wilson A.M., Mitchell E. (2005) The role of prey nutritional status in governing protozoan nitrogen regeneration efficiency. Protist 156: 45-62

(25) Fehling J., Davidson K., Bolch C.J.,  Bates S.S. (2004) Growth and domoic acid production of Pseudo-nitzschia seriata (P.T. Cleve) H. Peragallo  (Bacillariophyceae) under  Phosphate and Silicate limitation. J. Phycology 40: 674-683

(24) Fehling J., Green D.H., Davidson K, Bolch C.J., Bates S.S. (2004) Domoic acid production by Pseudo-nitzschia seriata (bacillariophyceae) in Scottish waters. J. Phycology 40: 622-630

(23) Gilpin L.C., Davidson K, Roberts E.C. (2004) The influence of changes in nitrogen:silicon ratios on diatom growth dynamics. J Sea Research 51:21-35

(22) Roberts E.C., Davidson K., Gilpin L.C. (2003) Responses of Microplankton communities to N:Si ratio perturbations. J. Plankton Res 25:1485-1495

(21) Mitra A, Davidson K., Flynn K.J. (2003) The influence of changes in predation rates on marine microbial predator/prey interaction: a modelling study. Acta Oecologica 24:S539-S367

(20) Dearman J.R., Taylor A.H., Davidson K. (2003) Influence of autotroph model complexity on simulations of microbial communities in marine mesocosms. Marine Ecology Progress Series 250:13-28

(19) Davidson K., Roberts E.C., Gilpin L.C. (2002) The relationship between carbon and biovolume in marine microbial mesocosms under different nutrient regimes. E. J. Phycology 37:501-507

(18) Davidson K. (2002) Co-nutrient limitation of diatom growth under nitrogen or silicon limitation. A reply to the paper of Flynn & Martin-Jézéquel. J. Plankton Research 24:953-955

(17) John E.H. & Davidson K. (2001) Prey selectivity and the influence of prey carbon:nitrogen ratio on microflagellate grazing. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 260: 93-111.

(16) Davidson K & John E.H. (2001) Predatory behaviour of the heterotrophic microflagellate Paraphysomomas vestita. Protistology 2: 22-23

(15) Davidson K. and Gurney W.S.C. (1999) An investigation of non steady state algal growth II. Mathematical modelling of co-nutrient limited algal growth. J. Plankton Research 21:839-858

(14) Davidson K., Wood G., John, E.H. and Flynn K.J. (1999) An investigation of non steady state algal growth I. An experimental model ecosystem. J. Plankton Research 21:811-837

(13) Davidson K. (1996) Modelling the components of the microbial loop. Marine Ecology Progress Series 145: 279-296

(12) Davidson, K. and Cunningham A. (1996) Accounting for nutrient processing time in mathematical models of phytoplankton growth. Limnology and Oceanography 41:779-783.

(11) Flynn, K.J., Davidson, K. and Cunningham A. (1996) Prey selection and rejection by a microflagellate; implications for the study and operation of microbial food webs. J. Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 196:357-372.

(10) Davidson, K., Flynn, K.J. and Cunningham A. (1995) A first attempt of model factors affecting the ingestion of prey by the dinoflagellate Oxyrrhis marina. Cytology 37:969-977.

(9) Davidson, K., Cunningham, A. and Flynn, K.J. (1995) Predator-Prey interactions between Isochrysis galbana and Oxyrrhis marina III. Mathematical modelling of predation and nutrient regeneration. J. Plankton Research 17:465-492.

(8) Flynn, K.J., Davidson, K. and Leftley, J.W. (1994) Carbon-nitrogen relations at the whole cell and free amino acid levels during the batch growth of Isochrysis galbana (Prymnesiophceae) under alternating light and dark. Marine Biology 118:229-237

(7) Flynn, K.J., Davidson, K. and Leftley, J.W. (1993) Carbon-nitrogen relations during batch growth of Nannochloropsis oculata (Eustigmatophyceae) under alternating light and dark. J. Applied Phycology 5:465-475

(6) Flynn, K.J., Davidson, K. and Cunningham, A. (1993) Relations between carbon and nitrogen during growth of Nannochloropsis oculata (Droop) Hibberd under continuous illumination. New Phytologist 125:717-722.

(5) Flynn, K.J. and Davidson, K. (1993) Predator-prey interactions between Isochrysis galbana and Oxyrrhis marina II. Release of non-protein amines and faeces during predation of Isochrysis. J. Plankton Research  15:893-905.

(4) Flynn, K.J. and Davidson, K. (1993) Predator-prey interactions between Isochrysis galbana and Oxyrrhis marina I. Changes in particulate delta 13C.  J. Plankton Research 15:455-463.

(3) Davidson, K., Cunningham, A. and Flynn, K.J. (1993) Modelling temporal decoupling between biomass and numbers during the transient nitrogen-limited growth of a marine phytoflagellate. J. Plankton Research 15:351-359.

(2) Davidson, K., Flynn, K.J. and Cunningham, A. (1992) Non-steady state ammonium-limited growth of the marine phytoflagellate, Isochrysis galbana Parke. New Phytologist 122:433-438.

(1) Davidson, K., Flynn, K.J. and Cunningham, A. (1991) Relationships between photopigments, cell carbon, cell nitrogen and growth rate for a marine nanoflagellate. J. Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 153:87-96.

Book chapters/sections

(9) Aleynik D, Adams T, Davidson K, Dale A, Porter M, Black K, Burrows M (2018) Biophysical modeling of marine organisms: fundamentals and applications to management of coastal waters.  Environmental Management of Marine Ecosystems. Edited by Md. Nazrul Islam & Sven Erik Jorgensen CRC press ISBN 9781498767729  pp 65-98

(8) Tett P, Black K, Brenan R, Cook E, Davidson K (2015) Sustainable mariculture at high latitudes. Coastal Zones: Solutions for the 21st Century. Eds Baztan J, Chouinard O, Jorgensen B, Tett P, Vanderlinden J-P, Vasseur L Elsevier. ISBN: 978-0-12-802748-6

(7) Fernand L, Davidson K (2015) Impacts from climate change and ocean acidification on fisheries and marine biodiversity (IFMA). Chapter 2 Human Health, Prediction of HABs.

(6) Mateus M, Maguire J, de Pablo H, Lyons K, Villarreal MR, Cusack C, Davidson K. (2012) Applied simulations and integrated modelling of the understanding of toxic harmful algal blooms. Lets Embrace Space Vol. 2. EU Bookshop

(5) Davidson K, Tett P, Gowen RJ (2011) Harmful Algal Blooms. In: Marine Pollution & Human Health (Eds Harrison and Hester) Issues in Environmental Science and Technology. RSC publishing. pp 95-127. ISBN 978-1-84973-240-6

(4) Davidson K, McElhiney, J, Thomson C, Algoet M, Swan SC (2011) Biotoxin Monitoring in Scotland. In Scotland's Marine Atlas, The Scottish Government, pp57-58.  ISBN 987 0 7559 8254 7

(3) Reid, PC, Edwards M, McQuatters-Gollup A, Beaugrand G, Bresnan E, Brierley A, Davidson K, Delany J, Eloire E. Foster R, Fox C, Fredriksen M, Gowen R, Haiilday N, Hardman-Mountford N, Hatun H, Hay S, Hartman S, Helaouet P, Henderson A, Johs DG, Kirby R, Lampitt R, Larkin K, Licandro P, Lindley A, Lucas C, Mackie T, McCollin T, Miller P, Milligan S, Mills D, Pitos S, Prior A, Rees A, Smyth T, Smythe-Wright D, Stevens D, Willicombe C (2010) Biological Indicators of state: the plankton. Charting Progress 2: 286-377

(2) Davidson K, Gillibrand P, Wilding T, Miller P, Shuter J (2009) Predicting the progression of the harmful dinoflagellate Karenia mikimotoi along the Scottish coast and the potential impact for fish farming. The Crown Estate. 101pp. ISBN 978-1-906410-06-3

(1) Davidson K, McElhiney J, Murray L, Algoet M (2008) Safeguarding shellfish quality. In Scotland’s seas: towards understanding their state. Baxter JM, Boyd IL, Cox M, Cunningham L, Homes P, Moffat CF (Eds). Fisheries Research Services, Aberdeen, pp 126-129. ISBN: 978-0-9546490-9-8.



Tett P, Benjamins S, Black KD, Coulson M, Davidson K, Fernandes T, Fox C, Hart M, Hicks N, Hughes A, Hunter D-C, Nickell T, Risch D, Tocher D, Vare L, Vespoor E, Wilding T, Wilson B, Wittich A (2018) Review of the environmental impacts of salmon farming in Scotland. Report for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee. The Scottish Parliament, 196 pp.

Professional memberships

Royal Society of Biology - Fellow

Higher Education Academy - Fellow

UHI Academic Council - member

UHI Academic Titles Review Board - member

NERC Training Advisory Board (TAB) - member

NERC Joint Capital Allocation Group (JCAG) - member

GlobalHAB Scientific Steering Committee - member

ICES Working Group for Harmful Algal Bloom Dynamics - member

Council of the International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae - member

MASTS Biogeochemisty Forum Steering Committee - member

NERC Peer Review College - past member

ASLO, ISSHA, BPS and ECSA - member

Expert advice to regulators / government

I have provided information to “Charting Progress 2” and “Scotland’s Marine Atlas”

I have contributed to a number of MCCIP report cards

I contributed to the 2016 risk assessment for the Scottish monitoring programme for the marine biotoxins in shellfish harvested from classified production areas for Food Standards Scotland

Public engagement

I regularly meet with representatives of the aquaculture industry to discuss methods of harmful algal bloom risk assessment

Employment history

2015-present: Associate Director. SAMS

2012-present: Professor. SAMS UHI

2006 Senior Lecture. SAMS

1999 Lecturer. SAMS

1998 NERC Fellow. Plymouth Marine Laboratory

1992-97: Postdoctoral Research Associate. University of Wales, Swansea



1993 PhD Applied Physics. University of Strathclyde

1989 BSc (Hons 1st class) Applied Physics. University of Strathclyde