Keith Davidson


  • PA35 1HY

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

various related to phytoplantkon, nutrients and harmful algae

Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
1991 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Expertise

My research centres on marine microbes, in particular phytoplankton, their grazers and their cycling of nutrients. Work over the last 10 years has concentrated on harmful phytoplankton and their implications for shellfish and finfish aquaculture and human health.

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

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

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

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

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Predator prey interactions between the heterotrophic dinoflagellate Oxyrrhis marina and the marine haptophyte Isochrysis galbana, University of Strathclyde

Award Date: 1 Jan 1993

Bachelor of Science, N/A, University of Strathclyde

Award Date: 1 Jan 1989


  • Prosperity from Ecosystems
  • harmful algal blooms
  • Marine Processes and Climate
  • marine phytoplankton
  • nutrient cycling


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Collaborations from the last five years

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