People > Professor Kevin Flynn

Professor Kevin Flynn

Marine Plankton Ecologist

Contact Details

+44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)


I am a marine plankton ecologist, originally trained as an algal physiologist, who now works primarily using simulation modelling approaches.

My work ranges from commercial-facing microalgal production to ocean acidification impacts, harmful algal blooms, and especially on the mixoplankton paradigm which sees an overturning of the conventional dichotomy of phytoplankton vs zooplankton. I work at PML on integrating ecophysiology into plankton functional type models and allied cross-disciplinary activities.

Other key projects


  • Understanding and modelling the Microbial Carbon Pump under changing nutrient concentrations and temperature (NERC)
  • EnhanceMicroAlgae (H2020 Atlantic Realm)
  • MixITiN; Bringing the paradigm for marine pelagic production into the 21st century: incorporating mixotrophy into mainstream marine research (H2020 ITN)
  • Collaboration on a bio-process to optimize yields and to characterize and test unique exopolysaccharides (epps) from 2 microalgae strains (BBSRC Biopronet)
  • Energetic Algae (EnAlgae) (ERDF)


Selected key publications

Anschütz A-A, Flynn, KJ (2020) Niche separation between different functional types of mixoplankton: results from NPZ-style N-based model simulations. Marine Biology 167, 3 doi:10.1007/s00227-019-3612-3

Wells ML, Karlson B, Wulff A, Kudela R, Trick C, Asnaghi V, Berdalet E, Cochlan W, Davidson K, De Rijcke M, Dutkiewicz S, Hallegraeff G, Flynn KJ, Legrand C, Paerl H, Silke J, Suikkanen S, Thompson P, Trainer VL (2019) Future HAB science: Directions and challenges in a changing climate. Harmful Algae doi:10.1016/j.hal.2019.101632

Flynn KJ, Mitra A, Anestis K, Anschütz AA, Calbet A, Ferreira GD, Gypens N, Hansen PJ, John U, Martin JL, Mansour J, Maselli M, Medić N, Norlin A, Not F, Pitta P, Ramano F, Saiz E, Schneider L, Stolte W, Traboni C (2019) Mixotrophic protists and a new paradigm for marine ecology: where does plankton research go now? Journal of Plankton Research doi:10.1093/plankt/fbz026

Leles SC, Mitra A, Flynn KJ, Tillmann U, Stoecker D, Jeong HJ, Burkholder J-A, Hansen PJ, Caron DA, Glibert PM, Hallegraef G, Raven J, Sanders RW, Zubkov M (2019) Sampling bias misrepresents the biogeographic significance of constitutive mixotrophs across global oceans. Global Ecology and Biogeography 28:418–428. doi:10.1111/geb.12853

Flynn KJ, Mitra A, Bode A (2018) Toward a mechanistic understanding of trophic structure: inferences from simulating stable isotope ratios. Marine Biology 165:147 doi:10.1007/s00227-018-3405-0

Flynn KJ, Skibinski DOF, Lindemann C (2018) Effects of growth rate, cell size, motion, and elemental stoichiometry on nutrient transport kinetics. PLoS Comput Biol 14: e1006118. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006118

Kenny P, Flynn KJ (2017) Physiology prevents commercially viable photoautotrophic production of microalgal biofuels. Journal of Applied Phycology doi:10.1007/s10811-017-1214-3 

Flynn KJ, Mitra A (2016) Why plankton modelers should reconsider using rectangular hyperbolic (Michaelis-Menten, Monod) descriptions of predator-prey interactions. Frontiers in Marine Science doi:10.3389/fmars.2016.00165

Cripps G, Flynn KJ, Lindeque PK (2016) Ocean acidification affects the phyto-zoo plankton trophic transfer efficiency. PLOS ONE 11:e0151739. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0151739

Flynn KJ, Clark DR, Mitra A, Fabian H, Hansen PJ, Glibert PM, Wheeler GL, Stoecker DK, Blackford JC, Brownlee C (2015) Ocean acidification with (de)eutrophication will alter future phytoplankton growth and succession. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282: 20142604 doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.2604

Mitra A, Flynn KJ, Burkholder JM, Berge T, Calbet A, Raven JA, Granéli E, Hansen PJ, Stoecker DK, Thingstad F, Tillmann U, Våge S, Wilken S, Glibert PM, Zubkov MV (2014) The role of mixotrophic protists in the biological carbon pump. Biogeosciences, 11, 995-1005 doi:10.5194/bg-11-995-2014.

Flynn KJ, Stoecker DK, Mitra A, Raven JA, Glibert PM, Hansen PJ, Granéli E, Burkholder JM (2013) Misuse of the phytoplankton-zooplankton dichotomy: the need to assign organisms as mixotrophs within plankton functional types Journal of Plankton Research 35, 3-11 doi:10.1093/plankt/fbs062.

Other activities

NERC College