People > Dr Mahasweta Saha

Dr Mahasweta Saha

Marine Chemical Ecologist

Contact Details

+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 3 international journals including high ranking journals like Journal of Ecology. Additionally, I am leading the guest editing of a special topic for Frontiers in Marine Science. I am a reviewer for 14 peer-reviewed journals and sit on the grant review board of the British Ecological Society (BES) 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


Personal research webpage: Marine chemical ecology lab

Other key projects

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

Selected key publications

*Corresponding author #Graduate student

Other activities

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Ecology
  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
  • Associate Editor, Frontiers for Young Minds
  • Guest Associate Editor, Frontiers in Marine Science
  • Reviewer for: Frontiers in Microbiology, Environmental Microbiology, Frontiers in Marine Science, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Ecological Applications, Science of the Total Environment, Molecules, Biofouling, Marine Environmental Research, Estuaries and Coasts, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Marine Biology, Botanica Marina, Scientia Marina, Molecular Ecology
  • British Ecological Society review college board
  • British Phycological Society council member
  • Local organising committee of British Phycological Society Meeting, Plymouth, 6-9th January 2020
  • Convenor and Organizer of the session Language of life under climate change. ISCE 35th Annual Meeting, 2-7 January, 2019, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
  • Convenor and Organizer of the session "Interactions of algae with microbes and grazers in present and future oceans". BPS 67th Annual Meeting, 7-10 January, 2019, Oban, Scotland
  • Lead Convenor and Organizer of the session "Benthic and pelagic system responses in a changing ocean: From genes to ecosystem level functioning". 4th International Symposium on Effects of Climate Change on World Oceans, 4-8 June, 2018 in Washington D.C., U.S.A.
  • Convenor and Organizer of the session "Chemical communication among aquatic organisms – challenged by global environmental changes?" ASLO-SFS meeting, Madison, 7-12th June 2020
  • Convenor and Organizer of the session "Impact of climate change on marine and freshwater algae" British Phycological Society Meeting, Plymouth, 6-9th January 2020
  • PML Athena Swan Committee member
  • British Ecological Society Mentor
  • PML mentor