Yannick Mulders

Changes in temperate seaweed communities and the associated subtidal reef ecosystem (PhD)

Temperate subtidal reefs are home to one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. As foundation species, habitat forming seaweeds provide the three-dimensional structure and primary productivity that supports diverse communities of associated fauna. As anthropogenic climate change continues to affect ecosystems around the world, temperate ecosystems are amongst those heavily impacted. In my PhD I look at some of the changes in seaweed and associated fauna over the past decades in Western Australia; a global warming hotspot. Furthermore, I investigate the dissolved organic matter (DOM) that healthy seaweeds exude into the ecosystem, comparing the quantity and quality of DOM that historically dominant Ecklonia radiata exudes versus that which Sargassum spp. and Lobophora variegata – two species increasing in abundance – exude. In doing so I aim to better understand at the link between primary and secondary producers within the ecosystem, in order to better understand the effect that changes in seaweed communities have on the ecosystem they support.

Supervisors: Thomas Wernberg, Tim Langlois.


  • 2011-2013: MSc in Environmental Biology, Utrecht University
  • 2007-2011: BSc in Biology, Utrecht University

Peer reviewed papers

3. Mulders YR, Wernberg T (2020) Fifteen years in a global warming hotspot: changes in subtidal mobile invertebrate communities. Marine Ecology Progress Series, accepted 4 November 2020.

2. Grothe A, Sangiorgi F, Mulders YR, Vasiliev I, Reichart G-J,Stoica M, Brinkhuis H,  Krijgsman W (2014) Black Sea desiccation during the Messinian Salinity Crisis: fact or fiction? Geology, G35503-1.

1. Mueller B, de Goeij JM, Vermeij MJA, Mulders YR, van der Ent E, Ribes M, van Duyl FC (2014) Natural Diet of Coral-Excavating Sponges Consists Mainly of Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC). PLoS ONE 9(2): e90152.

Achievements and awards

  • 2019: Grant winner, The Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment.
  • 2018: Grant winner, Winifred V. Scott Estate.
  • 2018: Robson & Robertson Award.
  • 2017: Grant winner, The Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment.
  • 2017: Supervisor, Masters student Yu (Betty) Bi.
  • 2016: Grant winner: The Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment.
  • 2016: International Postgraduate Research Scholarship for a PhD at UWA

Yannick working on a canopy patch reefs