People > Claire Widdicombe

Claire Widdicombe

Plankton Ecologist

Contact Details


Claire is a plankton ecologist with over 20 years research experience and over 50 publications relating to plankton biodiversity, community structure and ecosystem function. Specifically, Claire is highly skilled in plankton identification and has studied planktonic communities in temperate (N&S Atlantic, North Sea), tropical (Indian Ocean, Mauritanian upwelling) and polar (Antarctica) systems.

In 2005, Claire took over the responsibility for maintaining the long-term phyto- and microzooplankton Station L4 time-series dataset within Plymouth Marine Laboratory’s Western Channel Observatory programme. This programme has been running for over 25 years and is a key resource in Plymouth Marine Laboratory’s efforts to identify and predict the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. Her current research explores long-term trends in the diversity of phytoplankton communities so as to quantify the potential impacts of climate change (ocean acidification, rising temperatures and nutrient supply) on microbial communities.


S-3 EUROHAB - Sentinel products for detecting EUtROphication and Harmful Algal Bloom events
S-3 EUROHAB - Sentinel products for detecting EUtROphication and Harmful Algal Bloom events

S-3 EUROHAB will use the latest satellite technology to improve the way water quality and harmful algal blooms (HABs) are monitored in the English...

Marine Ecosystems Research Programme (MERP)
Marine Ecosystems Research Programme (MERP)

The Marine Ecosystems Research Programme (MERP) will address key knowledge gaps in marine ecosystem research. By bringing together existing data...

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Selected key publications

  • Rees, AP; Tait, K; Widdicombe, CE; Quartly, GD; McEvoy, AJ; Al-Moosawi, L. 2016. Metabolically active, non-nitrogen fixing,Trichodesmiumin in UK coastal waters during winter. Journal of Plankton Research, 38 (3). 673-678. 10.1093/plankt/fbv123
  • Atkinson, A; Harmer, RA; Widdicombe, CE; McEvoy, AJ; Smyth, TJ; Cummings, DG; Somerfield, PJ; Maud, JL; McConville, K. 2015. Questioning the role of phenology shifts and trophic mismatching in a planktonic food web. Progress in Oceanography, 137. 498-512. 10.1016/j.pocean.2015.04.023
  • Widdicombe, CE; Eloire, D; Harbour, D; Harris, RP; Somerfield, PJ. 2010. Long-term phytoplankton community dynamics in the Western English Channel. Journal of Plankton Research, 32. 643 - 655. 10.1093/plankt/fbp127
  • Widdicombe, CE; Archer, SD; Burkill, PH; Stefels, J. 2004 Microzooplankton grazing in Phaeocystis and diatom-dominated waters in the southern North Sea in spring. Journal of Sea Research, 51. 37 - 51. 10.1016/j.seares.2003.04.004
  • Widdicombe, CE; Archer, SD; Burkill, PH; Widdicombe, S. 2002. Diversity and structure of the microplankton community during a coccolithophore bloom in the stratified northern North Sea. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 49 (15). 2887 - 2903. 10.1016/S0967-0645(02)00062-0

Other activities

  • Member of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Working Group on Phytoplankton and Microbial Ecology (WGPME)
  • Member of the International Group for Marine Ecological Time-series (IGMETS)