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Dr Mahasweta Saha

Dr Mahasweta Saha

Marine Chemical Ecologist

msa6/22/2024 3:58:33    |     +44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)

I am a senior scientist and a chemical ecologist at PML with a passion to investigate ‘language of life’ in our oceans. Over the years I have developed an expertise in investigating chemically mediated communication between seaweeds and microbes under present and future oceans i.e. climate change stressors.

I completed my PhD in Algal Chemical Ecology at Helmholtz Centre of Ocean Research (GEOMAR), Germany with an international fellowship. Following the completion of my PhD and a family care break, I was awarded an international research grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG) excellence cluster ‘Future Ocean’ to work on chemical ecology of invasive seaweeds at GEOMAR. During that time, I was awarded an international research fellowship to pursue my next research project on volatile info-chemistry of seaweeds at University of Essex, United Kingdom. This was followed by a short one-year research scientist position (80% FT) at GEOMAR before I joined PML.

I am an Associate Editor of 4 international journals including high ranking journals like Journal of Ecology. Additionally, I am leading the guest editing of two special topics for Frontiers in Marine Science. I am a reviewer for 19 peer-reviewed journals and sit on the grant review board of the British Ecological Society (BES), German Research Foundation (DFG), Flanders (Belgium) Research Foundation, and British Phycological Society (BPS). I have been the main convenor of sessions in 4 international conferences and jointly organized the BPS 2020 meeting. I am also an active science communicator across a variety of media and have extensive experience in successful communication of scientific ideas and results to the public.

I am committed to the development of the next generation of scientists, as supervisor and mentor to students and have supervised/co-supervised > 35 students to date. If you are interested to do an internship/undergraduate/Master/MRes/PhD project, feel free to contact me.

My research interests include:

  • Marine infochemicals
  • Fouling and anti-fouling of seaweeds and seagrasses
  • Dynamics in chemically mediated interactions under fluctuations of biotic and abiotic factors
  • Chemical ecology of invasive seaweeds
  • Volatilomics and volatile infochemistry
  • Seaweed pathogen interactions
  • Macrophytes under climate change

As PI:
  • Chemical ecology of host-pathogen interaction
  • Anti-fouling defence dynamics of a foundation seaweed from high and low latitude populations (AFODS)
  • Do volatile info-chemicals from seaweed holobionts mediate seaweed-epibacteria interactions?
  • The smell of seaweeds and their ‘second skin’
  • Characterizing and investigating the morphogen role of volatile metabolome of Ulva mutabilis epibacteria
  • Adaptation and co-evolution of fouling resistance: the driver of algal invasion success?
  • Anti-settlement defence of Fucus vesiculosus: Chemistry and Ecology 
As Co-PI:
  • Unravelling the genetic and ecological mechanisms of successful bio-invasion
  • Perception of beach wrack by beach users
  • Seasonality in antifouling defence of the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus

*Corresponding author #Graduate student