Kelp Ecology

Karen works on a diverse range of topics centered on the ecology and function of kelp forests.

Kelp to turf transitions – Green gravel – Arctic kelp forests – Kelp detritus and blue carbon – Urchin dynamics

For more information visit her personal web site (click here).


  • 2016: PhD Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Positions, achievements and awards

  • 2022: Funding: Canopy Blue
  • 2021: Funding: ARC Discovery Project (DP22).
  • 2020: Funding: Schmidt Marine Technology Partners. 
  • 2019: Funding: ARC Linkage Project (LP19).
  • 2019: Funding: ARC Discovery Project (DP19).
  • 2019: Funding: ARC DECRA Fellowship (DE19).
  • 2018: Funding: NSERC Fellowship, Canada.

Selected publications (full list: google scholar)

16. Filbee-Dexter K, Pessarrodona A, Duarte CM, Krause-Jensen D, Hancke K, Smale DA, Wernberg T (2023) Seaweed forests are carbon sinks that may help mitigate CO2 emissions. A comment on Gallagher et al. (2022). ICES Journal of Marine Science, in press 15/11/22.

15. Filbee-Dexter K, Feehan CJ, Smale DA, Krumhans KA, Augustine S, de Bettignies F, Burrows MT, Byrnes JEK, Campbell J, Davoult D, Dunton KH, Franco JN, Garrido I, Grace SP, Hancke K, Johnson LE, Konar B, Moore PJ, Norderhaug KM,  O’Dell A, Pedersen MF, Salomon AK, Sousa-Pinto I, Tiegs S, Yiu D, Wernberg T (2022) Kelp carbon sink potential decreases with warming due to accelerating decomposition. PLoS Biology, accepted 8 June 2022.

14. Filbee-Dexter K*, Wernberg T*, Barreiro R, Coleman MA, de Bettignies T, Feehan CJ, Franco JN, Hasler B, Louro I, Norderhaug KM, Staehr PAU, Tuya F, Verbeek J (2022) Leveraging the blue economy to transform marine forest restoration. Journal of Phycology, accepted 29/12/21. * Shared lead authorship.

13. Filbee-Dexter K, Wernberg T, Grace SP, Thormar J, Fredriksen S, Narvaez CN, Feehan CJ, Norderhaug KM (2020) Marine heatwaves and the collapse of marginal North Atlantic kelp forests. Scientific reports 10, 1-11.

12. Filbee-Dexter K, Wernberg T (2020) Substantial blue carbon in overlooked Australian kelp forests. Scientific Reports 10, 1-6.

11. Filbee-Dexter K (2020) Ocean forests hold unique solutions to our current environmental crisis. One Earth 2, 398-401

10. Filbee-Dexter K, Pedersen MP, Fredriksen S, Norderhaug KM, Rinde E, Kristiansen T, Albretsen J, Wernberg T (2020) Carbon export is facilitated by sea urchins transforming kelp detritus. Oecologia 192, 213-225.

9. Filbee-Dexter K, Smajdor A (2019) Ethics of assisted evolution in marine conservation. Frontiers in Marine Science 6, 20.

8. Filbee-Dexter K, Wernberg T, Fredriksen S, Norderhaug KM, Pedersen MP (2019) Arctic kelp forests: Diversity, resilience and future. Global and Planetary Change 172, 1-14.

7. Filbee‐Dexter K, Symons CC, Jones K, Haig HA, Pittman J, Alexander SM, Burke MJ (2018) Quantifying ecological and social drivers of ecological surprise. Journal of Applied Ecology 55, 2135-2146.

6. Filbee-Dexter K, Wernberg T, Norderhaug KM, Ramirez-Llodra E, Pedersen MF (2018) Movement of pulsed resource subsidies from kelp forests to deep fjords. Oecologia 187, 291-304.

5. Filbee-Dexter K, Wernberg T (2018) Rise of turfs: a new battlefront for globally declining kelp forests. Bioscience 68, 64-76.

4. Filbee-Dexter K, Scheibling RE (2017) The present is the key to the past: linking regime shifts in kelp beds to the distribution of deep‐living sea urchins. Ecology 98, 253-264.

3. Filbee-Dexter K, Feehan CJ, Scheibling RE (2016) Large-scale degradation of a kelp ecosystem in an ocean warming hotspot. Marine Ecology Progress Series 543, 141-152.

2. Filbee-Dexter K, Scheibling RE (2014) Sea urchin barrens as alternative stable states of collapsed kelp ecosystems. Marine Ecology Progress Series 495, 1-25.

1. Filbee-Dexter K, Scheibling RE (2012) Hurricane-mediated defoliation of kelp beds and pulsed delivery of kelp detritus to offshore sedimentary habitats. Marine Ecology Progress Series 455, 51-64.