Dr Kati Michalek

        Photo of Dr Kati Michalek SAMS

Postdoctoral researcher in seaweed cultivation

I am an aquaculture enthusiast with a primary focus on the (co-)cultivation of non-fed species such as seaweeds and shellfish.

I currently investigate monitoring and management strategies to improve the productivity, diversity, and eco-efficiency of aquaculture production sites.

Contact details:

My research follows an increasing shift in the aquaculture community to move away from mono- to co-cultivation practices (e.g. integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, IMTA) to improve the spatial, ecological, and economic efficiency of production sites.

I am exploring the potential of cultivating seaweeds together with shellfish in Scotland, applying knowledge from my background in shellfish aquaculture, eco-physiology and invertebrate ecology.

My vision is a sustainable and efficient industry producing safe and healthy seafood in a rapidly changing demographic and climate.


Current project

ASTRAL (All Atlantic Ocean Sustainable, Profitable and Resilient Aquaculture). Funded by EU Horizon 2020: 1 Sep 2020 - 31 Aug 2024


List of highlight past projects

IMPAQT (Intelligent Management Systems for Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture): Improving the management of aquaculture systems, IMTA production systems in particular. Funded by EU H2020. May 2018-Aug 2021

CACHE (Calcium in a Changing Environment): Funded by EU FP7 Marie-Curie ITN. 2013-2017

Peer-reviewed publications

Lytou AE, Schoina E, Liu Y, Michalek K, Stanley MS, Panagou EZ, Nychas G-JE (2021) Quality and safety assessmnt of edible seaweeds Alaria esculenta and Saccharina latissima cultivated in Scotland. Foods, 10(9). https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10092210 

Michalek K, Vendrami DLJ, Bekaert M, Green DH, Last KS, Telesca L, Wilding TA, Hoffman JI (2021) Mytilus trossulus introgression and consequences for shell traits in longline cultivated mussels. Evolutionary Applications 2021;00:1-14. https://doi.org/10.1111/eva.13245

Clark MS, Peck LS, Arivalagan J, Backeljau T, Berland S, Cardoso JC, Caurcel C, Chapelle G, De Noia M, Dupont S, Gharbi K, Hoffman JI, Last KS, Marie A, Melzner F, Michalek K, Morris J, Power DM, Ramesh K, Sanders T, Sillanpää K, Sleight VA, Stewart‐Sinclair PJ, Sundell K, Telesca L, Vendrami DLJ, Ventura A, Wilding TA, Yarra T, Harper EM (2020) Deciphering mollusc shell production: the roles of genetic mechanisms through to ecology, aquaculture and biomimetics. Biological Reviews https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12640

Telesca L., Michalek K., Sanders T., Peck LS, Thyrring J, Harper EM (2018) Blue mussel shell shape plasticity and natural environments: a quantitative approach. Scientific Reports https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-20122-9

Michalek, K., Ventura, A. & Sanders, T. (2016) Mytilus hybridisation and impact on aquaculture: A mini review. Marine Genomics, SI Cells to Shells: The genomics of mollusc exoskeletons https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margen.2016.04.008

Project reports (selected)

Michalek, K., Stanley M.S., et al. (2019) IMTA system design specifications. Deliverable report D1.3 from the EU H2020 research and innovation project IMPAQT [grant n°: 774109]. https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/774109/results

Conference talks

Aquaculture Europe Conference AE20. Berlin, Germany (Oct 2019). Species composition, introgression and shell plasticity in farmed Mytilus spp on the west coast of Scotland

International Seaweed Symposium ISS19. Jeju, South Korea (May 2019) Intelligent Management System for Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMPAQT)

ASSG AGM (Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers) (Oct 2017), Oban UK: “Environmental Variability and Mussel Stocks”

SEB AMM (Jul 2017) Gothenburg, Sweden: “My findings within the CACHE project” (Pecha Kucha)

World Aquaculture Society (Jun 2017) Cape Town, South Africa: ”Scottish Mussel Cultivation: Genotypic and Morphological Variation”

Aquaculture Europe (Sep 2016) Edinburgh, UK. "Scottish blue mussels (Mytilus spp.) – genotypic variation and climate resilience"

Poster presentations

Aquaculture Europe Conference AE20. Berlin, Germany (Oct 2019). Towards and Intelligent Management System for Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMPAQT)

AMBIO VIII (Sep 2017) Oban, UK: “Scottish Mussel Cultivation” (Poster & Pitch)

Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers (ASSG) AGM (Oct 2016) Oban, UK: "Scottish blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) – evidence for change down the cultivation rope"

World Aquaculture (Aug 2015) Montpellier, France: "Cultivation of blue mussels (Mytilus spp.), influenced by changing climates in north-west Europe"

Other research outputs

Newsletter of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers (ASSG) The Grower. Jan 2019: CACHE project outputs

Newsletter of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers (ASSG) The Grower. Apr 2015: CACHE ITN - meet the students

Newsletter of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers (ASSG) The Grower. Dec 2014: Mytilus adaptation to climate change – we need your help

Blogging, CACHE project website www.cache-itn.eu


Marine Science BSc Hons: Year 4 Behaviour and Biological Clocks: Practical on quantifying animal behaviour using mussel filter feeding (since 2015) 

Marine Science BSc Hons: Year 4 Aquaculture. Lectures and practical

Aquaculture, Environment and Society MSc: Overview of Global Aquaculture. Lectures and practical

Alumni research students

L Hertfelder: Opportunities and challenges of aquaculture as a restoration tool: A case study on European flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) restoration. MSc Aquaculture, Environment and Society. Joint Master from University of the Highlands and Islands and University of Crete. 2021



Marie Curie Scholarship (CACHE ITN) for 3yrs 2014 – 2017

KDM Traineeship, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), 2014

Leonardo Da Vinci Scholarship for international work placement, 2007


SAMS Johanna Fehling Memorial Award 2017 (Sep 2017) for best postgraduate publication / performance of the year

LANTRA Learner of the Year Award for 'Higher Education' (Mar 2017)

Professional activities

Co-chairing and organising of the conference session "Challenges in the Anthropocene: ion/acid-base regulation and calcification in aquatic invertebrates". SEB Annual Meeting (Jul 2017) Gothenburg, Sweden.

Student representative of the CACHE project consortium

Fieldwork experience

Marine Research Aquarium, Cape Town South Africa (Dec 2012): fish respirometry

Macquarie University, Sydney Australia (Feb-Mar 2009): benthic invertebrate ecology, effects of parasites on local oyster populations

Media coverage

Successful seaweed farming with SAMS (Sep 2020)

CACHE ITN film (Jul 2015):


Professional memberships

British Phycological Society

UHI Aquaculture Hub

North-Atlantic and European Mussel Organisation (NAEMO): WG member

European Aquaculture Society

Professional training courses

Sustainability & Innovation, Commercialization. Bussels, Belgium (Feb 2017)

Mollusc Shells: Microstructure & Proteomics. Paris, France (Sep 2016)

Genomics & Bioinformatics. Edinburgh, UK (May 2016)

Statistical Modelling. CREEM St. Andrews, UK (Jan 2016)

Bivalve Electrophysiology. Faro, Portugal (Nov 2015)

Shellfish Aquaculture. Oban, UK (Jul 2015)

Science Communication. Oban, UK (Jul 2015)

Science in Art. Olhao, Portugal (Nov 2014)

Scientific Writing & English Skills. Inverness, UK (Oct 2014)


Since Oct 2018: Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Macroalgal Cultivation Impacts. SAMS (PI Michele Stanley)

Feb 2017: Intern - genetic solutions for aquaculture. Xelect Ltd., St Andrews, UK

Jan-Apr 2014: Trainee - scientific briefings for EP. German Marine Research Consortium (KDM), Brussels Office

Aug 2011-Mar 2013: Research Assistant - fisheries biology and ecophysiology. Centre for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen, Germany

Jan-Feb 2007: Intern - molecular biology and sea mammal acoustics. SMRU, University of St Andrews, UK


2019 PhD Scottish Mussel Culture in the Natural Environment - Observations and Implications for Industry. University of Aberdeen

2013 MSc Marine Biology. University of Bremen, Germany

2010 BSc Biological Sciences. University of Rostock, Germany

2007 Chemical Biological Technical Assistant. Lette-Verein Berlin, Germany