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The Marine Invertebrate Physiology and Immunology (MIPI) Lab have broad interests in how organisms respond to changing marine environments; in particular how predicted climate change scenarios and anthropogenic pollution in the marine environment might impact the health and performance of shellfish species.


The group work across a range of scales within organisms, from studies of changes in gene expression in tissues and cells, to studies of metabolism and tissue biochemistry through to assays of whole organism physiology and behaviour.

Current and recent projects within the group investigate:

  • ​With eight other international partners, and funded through the UK Newton Global Research Partnership and UK NERC we are investigating the environmental controls on the incidence of disease outbreaks in Asian shrimp and fish aquaculture ( 

  • ​Mechanisms invertebrate immune surveillance, including studies of transcriptionally variant putative immune receptors in crustaceans.​​ Click diagram (right) to enlarge.

  • Immune responses of marine organisms, elucidating the mechanisms that underpin host/pathogen interactions at a cellular and molecular level


  • Effects of hypoxia on physiology and ecology of marine invertebrates, in particular on shallow-water species which are especially subjected to hypoxia due to upwelling or eutrophication. 

  • The physiological implications of bivalve mollusc restoration. In collaboration with the Blue Marine Foundation ( and building on the work of a previous project (Sawusdee, 2015; Sawusdee et al., 2016) field experiments are establishing the physiological benefits of elevated reefs for the restoration of the native oyster Ostrea edulis in the Solent (Holbrook et al., 2020).

  • Impacts of carbon dioxide, which either:

a) dissolves into sea water from the atmosphere or

b) might enter the marine environment from leaks in carbon capture and storage reservoirs, on the physiology of benthic macro- and megafauna.


This includes work on the combined effects of elevated carbon dioxide and other environmental stressors. In particular, we are investigating effects of changes in temperature and carbon dioxide levels on the physiology of reproduction and maternal investment in neritic species, including gastropod molluscs. 

  • The environmental controls, including anthropogenic pollution, on gender determination in the potandrous hermaphrodite native oyster, Ostrea edulis, in order to understand the predominance of reproductively active adult males in the local Solent population.

  • Physiology of pressure tolerance in marine invertebrates – identifying the physiological potential for marine invertebrates to escape the pressures of climate change in the deep sea.

  • Impacts of deep sea mining of manganese nodules and massive sulphide deposits on benthic macrofauna. Few toxicological data are available for deep-sea species, or for shallow-water proxy species under deep-sea conditions. Consequently, the toxic effects of the metals and rare earth elements that may be released through deep-sea mining activities on key biological species are unknown. Delivering ecotoxicological data for related shallow-water and deep-sea taxa at representative temperatures and pressures will reduce this uncertainty, allowing development of recommendations on ecotoxicological limits.

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