People > Dr Susan Kimmance

Dr Susan Kimmance

Microbial Ecologist

Contact Details

+44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)


Dr Susan Kimmance is a microbial ecologist at PML, whose main area of research is the functional ecology of phytoplankton and viruses. She is particularly interested in the impact of abiotic and biotic stress on phytoplankton physiology and mortality and how this influences primary production, microbial food web dynamics and biogeochemical cycling.

After completing a degree (BSc Marine Biology Hons.) and PhD (‘The interactive effects of temperature and food availability on growth responses of aquatic protists’) at the University of Liverpool, I joined PML in 2003. My research has since combined laboratory experimentation with coastal and oceanic fieldwork to investigate primarily the functional relationships between algal viruses and their phytoplankton hosts, aiming to elucidate the ecological importance of viral control of primary production in comparison with other mortality pathways such as microzooplankton grazing or cell death. Linking phytoplankton to stress-induced production of marine trace gases has been an additional focus of my research (in collaboration with the trace gas group at PML): assessing the potential antioxidant role of DMSP; the fate of DMSP production through grazing and viral lysis; and determining how the physiological processes leading to DMS production are affected by changing environmental conditions.


Microbial Carbon Pump
Microbial carbon pump in a changing ocean: building models for the future

Contact: Dr Luca Polimene

This project will conduct laboratory experiments to provide the physiological information and understanding needed to develop the first ever model...

War on tiny giants
War on tiny giants - do viruses impact Pelagibacterales genotype dynamics in the Western English Channel

Contact: Dr Susan Kimmance

The oceans, and in particular coastal regions, are responsible for about half of all global photosynthesis as marine bacteria and algae capture...

Other key projects

BBSRC: (W2B) Using flow cytometry and genomics to characterise and optimise microalgal-bacterial consortia cultivated on wastewater to produce biomass for Biofuel (2013-2017)

BBSRC (PoC ): Development of an algal crop protection program through vaccination by novel viruses (2015-2017)

NERC: Role of dimethyl sulphide (DMS) in pelagic tritrophic interactions (2012-2013)

NERC PhD studentship: Impacts of viruses in the cycling of methanol in marine waters (2015-2019)

NERC PhD studentship: Cell viability and chlorophyll alteration in microeukaryote phytoplankton: exploring the relationship between pigments and cell death (2011-2014)

NERC PhD studentship: Ecological and functional biodiversity in a marine algal virus system (2010-2013)

Selected key publications

Archer SD, Kimmance SA, Stephens JA, Hopkins FE, Bellerby RGJ, Schulz K, Piontek J, Engel A, (2013). Contrasting responses of DMS and DMSP to ocean acidification in Arctic waters. Biogeosciences, 10, 1893 : 1908

Vardi AV, Haramaty LH, Van Mooy BVM, Fredricks HF, Kimmance SA, Larsen A, Bidle KB, (2012). Host-virus dynamics and sub-cellular controls of cell fate in a natural coccolithophore population. Proceeding of the National Academy Of Sciences, 109, 19327 : 19332.

Brussaard CPD, Wilhelm SW, Thingstad F, Weinbauer MG, Bratbak G, Heldal M, Kimmance SA, Middelboe M, Nagasaki K, Paul JH, Schroeder DC, Suttle CA, Vaque D and Wommack KE. (2008) Global-scale processes with a nanoscale drive: the role of marine viruses. The ISME Journal 1–4.

Kimmance SA, Wilson WH, Archer SD. (2007) Modified dilution technique to estimate viral versus grazing mortality of phytoplankton: limitations associated with method sensitivity in natural waters. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 49 (3), 207-222.

Kimmance SA, Atkinson D, Montagnes DJS.  (2006) Do temperature-food interactions matter?  Responses of production and its components in the model heterotrophic flagellate Oxyrrhis marina. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 42: 63-73.

Montagnes DJS, Kimmance SA, Atkinson D. (2003) Using Q10: can growth rates increase linearly with temperature? Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 32 (3) 307-313