People > Dr Mahasweta Saha

Dr Mahasweta Saha

Marine Chemical Ecologist

Contact Details

+44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)


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

I am currently a Research Fellow at PML and affiliated to the University of Essex as Honorary Lecturer and Visiting Fellow.

 I completed my PhD in Algal Chemical Ecology at Helmholtz Centre of Ocean Research (GEOMAR) with an international fellowship. Following the completion of my PhD and a family care break, I was awarded an international research grant from the 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 one year research scientist position at GEOMAR.

My research interests include:

  • Fouling and anti-fouling
  • Dynamics in chemically mediated interactions under fluctuations of biotic and abiotic factors
  • Chemical ecology of invasive seaweeds
  • Marine trace gases: chemical ecology and atmospheric chemistry
  • Seaweed pathogen interactions
  • Macrophytes under climate change

Other key projects

As PI:
  • 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

Recent publications

  • Instrument and Data Technician 

    £23,630 per annum 

    Full Time - 3 year Fixed Term Appointment 

    Do you have a background in building/developing scientific instrument systems and providing specialist technical support? Do you want to further your career in one of the UK’s leading marine research laboratories, making crucial steps to understanding how the oceans and marine atmosphere influence air pollution and climate?

    Plymouth Marine Laboratory has a strong track record in world leading Air-Sea Exchange (ASE) research. In recent years, the ASE group has had considerable success establishing a coastal atmospheric research station at Penlee Point ( and developing the capability to make autonomous direct measurements of air/sea CO2 exchange from ships (e.g. We require a Junior Technologist to help us to build upon these successes.

    As a key member of the ASE team your role will be to maintain and improve remote instrumentation at Penlee and on ships fitted with air/sea flux systems. You will drive forward the automation of remote instrumentation and develop novel methods of data acquisition and delivery using embedded PC technologies (e.g. Raspberry PI) and Python scripting. You will be responsible for data processing and quality control and will contribute to scientific interpretation and research outputs. You will be jointly responsible for the day-to-day running of the ASE laboratory and Penlee facility.

    This post is available immediately and for a fixed term of three years. To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact the air/sea exchange group lead (Dr Tom Bell) via 

    For this role we are open to discuss the possibility of reduced hours, flexible working or possible job share.

    Please see the link for our  Employee Benefits

    Closing date: 5pm on Tuesday 10th December 2019

    Interviews will take place on Tuesday 4th February 2020

    View publication

View more publications

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 10 peer-reviewed journals: 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
  • 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.
  • PML Athena Swan Committee member
  • BES Mentor