Dr Kati Michalek

        Photo of Dr Kati Michalek SAMS

Postdoctoral researcher in seaweed cultivation

I am interested in the effects of climate conditions on marine species as their physiological responses and adaptive potentials towards challenging environments remain poorly understood.

Previous I studied early life stages of fish and marine invertebrates, investigating their potential to cope with increasing water temperatures and decreased oxygen levels. I am working towards the commercial production of sustainably farmed shellfish such as mussels with special emphasis on forming a bridge between shellfish research and aquaculture production.

Contact details:

Performance and selection in Scottish blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) cultivated in challenging environments

My PhD study is part of the pan-European project CACHE (Calcium in a Changing Environment), which investigates the performance and shell production in four commercially important bivalve species in times of changing climate conditions. For more information please visit our web page www.cache-itn.eu.

I work with blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) which are commercially cultured along the Scottish west coast and the Western Isles up to the Shetland Islands. Here, I use their cultivation habitat (sea lochs) as natural experimental set-up as the mussels are exposed naturally to varying degrees of acidified and diluted seawater, on both large and small temporal and spatial scales. The detailed monitoring of environmental habitat conditions and the corresponding performance of the on-growing mussels, over a full seasonal cycle and at different depths of mussel cultivation, will allow us to identify e.g.:

  • >key environmental factors governing the product quality of cultured mussels
  • >industry implications, such as suitable harvest times, farm operations etc.
  • >genetic diversity in cultured mussel populations and their impact on production traits (three Mytilus species present in Scottish waters with M. trossulus recently being listed as commercially damaging)
  • >species-specific and/or habitat induced variability in shell shape and strength


Dr Kim Last, SAMS

Dr Tom Wilding, SAMS

Dr David Green, SAMS

Dr Joe Hoffman, University of Bielefeld


EU FP7 People Programme (Marie Curie Actions). Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) CACHE (Calcium in a Changing Environment). EU Ref: 605051.


University of Aberdeen (UoA) / University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)

Peer-reviewed publications

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 8, DOI: 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, DOI: 10.1016/j.margen.2016.04.008

Conference talks

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

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". Dec 2014: "Mytilus adaptation to climate change – we need your help" and Apr 2015: "CACHE ITN – meet the students"

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




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

Teaching experience

Research intern supervision, Ms S Freund (May – Jul 2016)

BSc thesis co-supervision, Ms J Young (Oct 2015 – Apr 2016)

Co-tutoring of BSc student practical "Mussel Filter Feeding" (Oct 2015)

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

Radio interview for “Deutschland Radio Wissen“: My study – research on fish (Aug 2012)

CACHE ITN film (Jul 2015):


Professional memberships

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)


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


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