Ms. Rachel Millar












School of Natural and Built Environment
David Keir Building, Stranmillis Rd., BT9 5AG
Room LG.305
Tel (+44) 028 9097 4751



Coleraine High School, 2004 - 2011

BSc (Hons) Marine Biology, Queen’s University Belfast, 2012-2015


Professional Qualifications

HSE SCUBA Course (Level 4)

Marine Radio Short Range Certificate (Royal Yacht Association)

RYA Sea Survival Certificate



Travel scholarship (Mahsud Dornan fund)


PhD/Project Title

The Influence of wave and current motion on the productivity of kelp


PhD Project Description

Primary production of macroalgae, or seaweeds as they are commonly known as, is equal to the most productive terrestrial ecosystems in the world. Large kelp forests found primarily in temperate marine environments in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere provide energy to all higher trophic levels in the marine environment. The physical structure of kelp forests supports a rich diversity in flora and fauna providing shelter and protection for juvenile marine fish to invertebrates. Macroalgae are not only important to the organisms in the marine environment but also to humans as well. Macroalgae are an important food source for many cultures and there is now interest in exploring the feasibility of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture with kelp species and shellfish or fish farms to form a buffer against nitrogen loading into the marine environment. Further there is also increasing interest in culturing and harvesting kelp species as a potential for bio energy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

There is increasing concern over the loss of kelp forests as a result of increasing sea surface temperature and changes in storm frequency attributed to climate change which may have profound changes on kelp ecosystems. Changes of frequency in extreme weather conditions are expected to increase over the next century, having wider implications on food web structure, fishery productivity and even possible collapse of kelp ecosystems.  

My PhD, started in October 2015 and focuses on the influence of wave and current motion on kelp productivity.  The aim of this project is to explore the influence that water motion specifically waves and currents has on the growth, erosion and strength of kelp.  Helping to further understand how kelp forests may be impacted by predicted changes in physical factors in particular the change in climate.



Dr Louise Kregting, Dr Jonathan Houghton (School of Biological Sciences)



Growth and erosion rate of the kelp Laminaria digitata, ASLO (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography) 2017