Celina Burkholz

Intraspecific variation in seaweed stress tolerance and performance thresholds (PhD, Forrest Scholar)

Environmental changes are overwhelming the capacity of many organisms to adapt and survive in parts of their range and are driving degradation and loss of marine ecosystems globally. To this end, identifying individuals, populations and areas that perform well under stress, will be essential to develop new conservation solutions that aim to enhance the resilience of ecosystems to future conditions. For habitat-forming seaweeds, previous research and restoration approaches often assumed consistent thermal ranges for populations, yet local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity can create varying thermal thresholds within populations. My PhD project aims to evaluate this intraspecific variation in ecophysiological processes of dominant habitat-forming seaweeds under different temperature conditions. I will also test the potential of a new restoration approach, green gravel, to act as a vector for adding more resilient individuals to the reef, in order to restore or revive degraded kelp forests along the coast of Western Australia.

Supervisors: Thomas Wernberg, Karen Filbee-Dexter, Melinda Coleman (NSW DPIE).


  • 2018: MSc in Marine Science, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia
  • 2016: BSc in Biological Sciences, University of Rostock, Germany

Peer reviewed publications

  1. Alsuwaiyan NA, Filbee-Dexter K, Vranken S, Burkholz C, Cambridge M, Coleman MA & Wernberg T (2022) Green gravel as a vector of dispersal for kelp restoration. Frontiers in Marine Science: Marine Ecosystem Ecology. Accepted 22/8/22.
  2. Burkholz C, Garcias-Bonet N, Duarte, CM (2020) Warming enhances carbon dioxide and methane fluxes from Red Sea seagrass (Halophila stipulacea) sediments. Biogeosciences 17:1717–1730. https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-17-1717-2020
  3. Burkholz C, Duarte CM, Garcias-Bonet N (2019) Thermal dependence of seagrass ecosystem metabolism in the Red Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 614:79-90. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12912

Achievements and awards

  • 2022: Grant winner, Robson & Robertson Awards
  • 2021: Grant winner, Robson & Robertson Awards
  • 2021: Grant winner, The Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment
  • 2020: Grant winner, The Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment
  • 2019: Forrest Research Foundation Scholarship
  • 2019: UWA International Fee Scholarship, and University Postgraduate Award


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