Albert Pessarrodona

Albert helped secure funding for him to continue his research career, as a postdoc in the lab working on seaweed blue carbon

Turf algae as emergent drivers of ecological function in shallow reefs (PhD 2021)

Marine ecosystems are rapidly transforming into new configurations dominated by early-successional and ephemeral life forms as a consequence of the increasing human footprint on the environment. Algal turfs are emerging as one of the most common and widespread configurations of shallow temperate and tropical reefs, being expected to transform reef dynamics and ecosystem services. Yet, we still have a vague understanding of how turfs will affect ecosystem functions, and which ecosystem properties will change or be maintained. My thesis explores how the rise of turfs in temperate marine forests and tropical coral reefs affects four important ecosystem properties: habitat structure, primary and secondary production, and sediment dynamics.

Supervisors: Thomas Wernberg, Karen Filbee-Dexter, Gary Kendrick


  • 2016: MRes Marine Biology (Distinction), Plymouth University, United Kingdom. Thesis: Indirect effects of climate change on ecosystem properties as mediated by shifts in species dominance.
  • 2015: BSc Biology (1st), University of Barcelona, Spain. Thesis: The effects of predation risk on sea urchin behaviour.

Peer reviewed papers

  1. Bosch NE, McLean M, Zarco-Perello S, Bennett S, Stuart-Smith RD, Vergés A, Pessarrodona A, Tuya F, Langlois T, Spencer C, Bell SY, Saunders BJ, Harvey ES, Wernberg T (2022) Persistent thermally-driven shift in the functional trait structure of herbivorous fishes: evidence of top-down control on the rebound potential of temperate seaweed forests? Global Change Biology, 28: 2296-2311. [].
  2. Mulders YR, Filbee-Dexter K, Bell SY, Bosch NE, Pessarrodona A,  Sahin D, Vranken S, Zarco-Perello S, Wernberg T (2022) Intergrading reef communities across discrete seaweed habitats in a temperate – tropical transition zone: lessons for species reshuffling in a warming ocean. Ecology and Evolution, 12:e8538. [].
  3. Pessarrodona A, Tebbett SB, Bosch NE, Bellwood DR, Wernberg T (2022) High herbivory despite high sediment loads on a fringing coral reef. Coral Reefs, accepted 7/12/21. [
  4. Pessarrodona A, Verges A, Bosch N, Bell SY, Smith S, Sgarlatta P, Wernberg T (2022) Tropicalization unlocks novel trophic pathways and enhances secondary productivity in temperate reefs. Functional Ecology, 36: 659-673. [10.1111/1365-2435.13990].
  5. Pessarrodona A, Filbee-Dexter K, Alcoverro T, Boada J, Feehan C, Fredriksen S, Grace S, Nakamura Y, Narvaez C, Norderhaug KM, Wernberg T (2021) Homogenization and miniaturization of habitat structure in temperate marine forests. Global Change Biology, 27: 5262-5275. [].
  6. King NG, Moore PJ, Pessarrodona A, Burrows MT, Porter J, Bue M, Smale DA (2020) Ecological performance differs between range centre and trailing edge populations of a cold-water kelp: implications for estimating net primary productivity. Marine Biology, 167: 1-12.
  7. Smale DA, Pessarrodona A, King N, Burrows MT, Yunnie A, Vance T, Moore P (2020) Environmental factors influencing primary productivity of the forest-forming kelp Laminaria hyperborea in the northeast Atlantic. Scientific reports, 10: 1-12.
  8. Pessarrodona A, Boada J, Pagès JF, Arthur R, Alcoverro T (2019) Consumptive and non‐consumptive effects of predators vary with the ontogeny of their prey. Ecology, 100 (5): e02649
  9. Pessarrodona A, Smale DA, Foggo A (2018) Can ecosystem functioning be maintained despite climate-driven shifts in species composition? Insights from novel marine forests. Journal of Ecology, 107: 91–104.
  10. Pessarrodona A, Moore P, Sayer MDJ, Smale D (2018). Carbon assimilation and transfer through a kelp forests in the NE Atlantic is diminished under a warmer ocean climate. Global Change Biology, 24 (9), 4386-4398. [Read]
  11. Boada, J, Arthur R, Alonso D, Pagès, J F, Pessarrodona A, Oliva S, Ceccherelli G, Piazzi L, Romero J, Alcoverro T (2017). Immanent conditions determine imminent collapses: nutrient regimes define the grazing resilience of macroalgal communities. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 284: 20162814. [Read]
  12. Hargrave M, Foggo A, Pessarrodona A, Smale D (2017). The effects of warming on the ecophysiology of two co-existing kelp species with contrasting distributions. Oecologia. 183(2): 531543. [Read].

Other publications

  1. Pessarrodona A, Filbee-Dexter K, Krumhansl KA, Moore PJ, Wernberg T (2021) A global dataset of seaweed net primary productivity. Preprint, bioRxiv [] [pdf]

Achievements and awards

  • 2022: Honourable mention on the Dean’s list for outstanding PhD theses conferred at UWA
  • 2020: Grant winner, The Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment
  • 2019: Grant winner, The Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment
  • 2018: Grant winner, Robson & Robertson Award.
  • 2018: Grant winner, Convocation Postgraduate Research Travel Award
  • 2018: Grant winner, The Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment
  • 2018: Grant winner, Conference travel Award, British Phycological Society
  • 2018: Grant winner, The PADI Foundation.
  • 2017: International Research Training Program Scholarship for a PhD at UWA.



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