Sharon McNeill

        Support scientist Sharon McNeill next to water collecting equipment on oceanographic fieldwork

Support Scientist in Analytical Chemistry and Microbiology

I am a support scientist specialising in microbiology and analytical chemistry.

I am also the radiation protection supervisor at SAMS and the first point of contact for any planned radiation work.

Contact details:

I am a support scientist specialising in analytical chemistry and microbiology. Having worked at SAMS since 2004, my job has evolved into many different roles such as mass spectrometry, dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen, colorimetric nutrient and chlorophyll analysis for both research and commercial projects.

As a phytoplankton analyst, I have worked as part of the SAMS regulatory team monitoring potentially toxic algae in Scottish coastal waters for Food Standards Scotland since 2005. I keep my skills updated with occasional participation in the annual International Phytoplankton Intercomparison on the abundance and composition of marine phytoplankton.

I am the Radiation Protection Supervisor at SAMS, ensuring that work with ionising radiation is in accordance with current health and safety legislation. I am the point of contact for any planned radiation work in the radioisotope facility and I am responsible for the day-to-day management of the facility.

I am experienced in both coastal and offshore boat fieldwork, currently working as part of the team on ShellEye and Arctic PRIZE research trips.


Teaching on Marine Science BSc

Year 1 practical on 'phytoplankton collection and identification'

Year 3 microbial ecology practical 'analytical equipment tour'

Year 3 microbial ecology fieldwork on RRV Seol Mara water column sampling in the Firth of Lorne and Loch Creran

Year 4 defining the marine carbon cycle practical 'FlowCAM demonstration'


Fieldwork experience

Local coastal water column sampling: ongoing for various commercial and research projects

JR17006 – RRS James Clark Ross: Arctic PRIZE, Barents Sea. Primary production 14C and water column analysis

HH230418 – RV Helmer Hanssen: Arctic PRIZE, Barents Sea. Inorganic nutrient and water column analysis

DY078 – RRS Discovery: The Extended Ellett Line project, North Atlantic. Dissolved oxygen sample collection and measurement by automated winkler titration

DY033 – RRS Discovery: CANDYFLOSS, Celtic Sea. 14C bacterial production, DOM remineralisation experiments

DY026 – RRS Discovery: CANDYFLOSS, Celtic Sea. 14C bacterial production, DOM remineralisation experiments

DY018 – RRS Discovery: CANDYFLOSS, Celtic Sea. 14C bacterial production, DOM remineralisation experiments

JCR219 – RRS James Clark Ross, Greenland Sea and Svalbard shelf waters. 14C bacterial production and inorganic nutrient analysis

DB340 – RRS Discovery: Ellett Line project, Barra Head. Inorganic nutrient analysis

JC25 – RRS James Cook: Oceans 2025, Jones Bank Celtic Sea. Inorganic nutrient analysis

Wood EE, Ross ME, Jubeau S, Montalescot V, MacKechnie K, Marchington RE, Davey MP, McNeill S, Hamilton C, Stanley MS (2023) From green to orange: The change in biochemical composition of phototophic-mixotrophic Chromochloris zofingiensis in pilot-scale photobioreactors. Algal Research 75: 103238.

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

García-Martín EE, Daniels CJ, Davidson K, Davis CE, Mahaffey C, Mayers KMJ, McNeill S, Poulton AJ, Purdie DA, Tarran GA, Robinson, C (2017) Seasonal changes in plankton respiration and bacterial metabolism in a temperate shelf sea. Progress in Oceanography

Paterson RF, McNeill S, Mitchell E, Adams T, Swan SC, Clarke D, Miller, PI, Bresnan E, Davidson K (2017) Environnmental control of harmful dinoflagellates and diatoms in a fjordic system. Harmful Algae 69: 1-17

García-Martín EE, Daniels CJ, Davidson K, Lozano J, Mayers KMJ, McNeill S, Mitchell E, Poulton AJPurdie 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

Moschonas G, Gowen RJ, Paterson RF, Mitchell E, Stewart BM, McNeill S, Glibert PM, Davidson K (2017) Nitrogen dynamics and phytoplankton community structure: the role of organic nutrients. Biogeochemistry 134, 125-145 

Whyte C, Davidson K, Gilpin L, Mitchell E, Moschonas G, McNeill S, Tett P (2017) Tracking changes to a microplankton community in a North Atlantic sea loch using the microplankton index PI(mp). ICES Journal of Marine Science, 74: 311–325

Garcia-Martin EE, Davidson K, McNeill S, Purdie D, Robinson C (2016) Seasonal variations in plankton respiration and bacterial metabolism in a Shelf Sea. Gordon Research Conference, 2016-06-12 - 2016-06-17, Hong Kong.

Garcia-Martin EE, McNeill S, Serret P, Leakey RJG (2014) Plankton metabolism and bacterial growth efficiency in offshore waters along a latitudinal transect between the UK and Svalbard. Deep Sea Research Part 1: Oceanographic Research Papers 92: 141-151

Davidson K, Gilpin LC, Pete R, Brennan D, McNeill S, Moschonas 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

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

Slocombe SP, Ross M, Thomas N, McNeill S, Stanley MS (2013) A rapid and general method for measurement of protein in micro-algal biomass. Bioresource Technology 129: 51-57 

Employment history

2007-now Support Scientist in Analytical Chemistry and Microbiology. SAMS

2004-07 Protistologist. SAMS

2004 Laboratory Assistant. SAMS



1994 BSc (Hons) Food Science and Microbiology. University of Strathclyde


Relevant training courses / qualifications

2015 Radiation Protection Supervisors course. Public Health England. Glasgow

2013 Certificate of Proficiency in Identification of Harmful Marine Micralgae. IOC of UNESCO. University of Copenhagen