Albert Pessarrodona

Facilitating the recovery of kelp forests and increasing their resilience to climate change (PhD 2021)

Temperate reef ecosystems around the world are under intense pressure from human-caused climate change. This poses a direct threat to the abundant biodiversity these ecosystems support, as well as to the numerous services they provide to millions of people. If kelp ecosystems are to survive climate change, we must find ways of preventing further declines. With that in mind, my PhD endeavors to i) explore novel approaches to increase their resilience to future stress and ii) improve our understanding of the mechanisms hindering their recovery once they have collapsed. Efforts to conserve kelp ecosystems will be futile if they lack the appreciation of the public. As such, I intend to step outside the traditional boundaries of ecological research and gain insights from social and economic science.

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, accepted 19/12/21.
  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, accepted 10/12/21.
  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, accepted 22/11/21.
  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. accepted 22 June 2021.
  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

  • 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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