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Dr Angela Pelusi

Research Associate in Marine Protist-Plankton Ecophysiology

+44 (0)29 2087 6828
Room 1.37, Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT


I am a marine biologist specialized in plankton ecophysiology. My main interest has always been to better understand how the biology of these microorganisms affect and Is affected by the ecosystem they live in.

More recently, I jointed Dr. Mitra in the exciting challenge of building an internationally renowned cross-disciplinary group in Wales , the MixoHUB. The main goal will be to undertake end-to-end research focused on understanding and utilizing the mixoplankton centric paradigm in marine ecology to support a range of environmental and societal issues. 

In the last five years, period that also included my PhD, I especially focused on diatom resting stages. Although nutritional behavior and life cycle traits could not seem closely related, both can help to adapt to novel environmental conditions.


  • “Virus-induced spore formation as a defense mechanism in marine diatoms”. Pelusi, A., De Luca, P., Manfellotto, F., Thamatrakoln, K., Bidle, K. D., Montresor, M. (2020). New Phytologist.
  • “Density-dependent mechanisms regulate spore formation in the diatom Chaetoceros socialis”. Pelusi, A., Margiotta, F., Passarelli, A., Ferrante, M. I., Ribera d’Alcalà, M., Montresor, M. Limnology and Oceanography Letters. (2020)
  • “Effects of elutriates from contaminated coastal sediments on different life cycle phases of planktonic diatoms”. Pelusi, A., Rotolo, F., Gallo, A., Ferrante, M. I., & Montresor, M. (2020). Marine Environmental Research, 155, 104890.
  • “The diatom Chaetoceros socialis: spore formation and preservation”. Pelusi, A., Santelia M.E., Benvenuto, G., Godhe A., Montresor M. (2019). European Journal of Phycology, 55(1), 1-10.
  • “Rapid detection and quantification of haptophyte alkenones by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)”. Pelusi, A., Hanawa, Y., Araie, H., Suzuki, I., Giordano, M., & Shiraiwa, Y. (2016). Algal Research, 19, 48-56.

I completed two research fellowships at 'Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn' in Naples (Italy), after achieving my PhD at the same institute in collaboration with the Open University.

My PhD thesis focused on factors that induce life-cycle transitions in the widespread marine diatom Chaetoceros socialis. In particular, I integrated physiological, molecular and microscopic approaches into controlled laboratory experiments to gain information about the formation of resting spores that. My study began by examining the effects of this macronutrient limitation. I then compared it to the effects of high cell density that this species can achieve during a natural blooming phase. I used semi-continuous cultures with different densities and nitrogen concentrations demonstrating that, beyond nitrogen availability, cell density influences spore formation. I worked also with a specie-specific virus isolated from Japanese waters and capable to successfully infect the Italian strain. This study demonstrated for the first time not only the ability of a virus to infect a geographically distant strain but also the ability of the host to escape from its enemy using this life cycle transition.

I recently joined the MicoHUB project lead by Dr. Mitra as Postdoc Researcher. MixoHUB is a Welsh Government funded Sêr Cymru Capacity Building Accelerator Award entitled “Living with the Perfect Beast; establishing MixoHUB, a centre of excellence for mixoplankton research in Wales”. Its main goal is to establish of a unique and impactful research group, for combined empirical and in silico research on the new mixoplankton paradigm.  In this context I am focusing especially on laboratory-based experiments that could improve our understanding of mixoplankton under a changing environment and help to clarify their ecological role. 


Past projects