Skip to main content
Dr Rupert Perkins RG

Dr Rupert Perkins


Senior Lecturer in Marine Biosciences

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

+44 (0)29 2087 5026
+44(0) 29 2087 5026
1.33A, Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT
Media commentator



  • algal photophysiology
  • algal productivity
  • variable chlorophyll floursecence
  • ecosystem function
  • marine geography


  • Senior Lecturer – School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University (2004 – current)
  • Senior Research Fellow - University of St. Andrews (June 2001 – July 200)
  • Senior PDRA – Department of Biology, University of Essex (January 1999 – January 2001)
  • Ph.D. - Department of Biology, University of Essex (October 1994 – October 1997)
  • BSc. (Hons) Department of Biology University of Essex (October 1991 – July 1994)

Research background

My previous work included using chlorophyll fluoresecence and radiolabelled carbon to investigate estuarine microphytobenthic photophysiology and primary production; a NERC funded project working with Prof. Graham Underwood at Essex University. A high resolution imaging system, enabled analysis of individual algal cell photophysiology, in combination with conventional PAM-fluorescence methods. Patterns in primary production were investigated in Essex and in the Tagus Estuary, Portugal (in collaboration with Prof. Vanda Brotas, Lisbon).

I have also worked on estuarine sediment erosion using In-line Laser Holography, high-speed video, csm and microcosm measurements of critical stress and LTSEM; a NERC funded post doc at St Andrews University with Prof. David Paterson. This work extends upon previous studies by investigating the nature of eroded sediment using laser holography. A ruby red laser is passed through a microcosm erosion chamber in which artificial and natural sediments are eroded. The fine scale structure of the sediments is investigated using LTSEM. This combined approach gives new information on mechanisms of biogenic stabilisation by polymer secretions. This was a joint NERC project, working with Prof. Dave Paterson at St Andrews and Prof. John Watson at Aberdeen University.

I obtained a 1st class degree in Environmental Biology at Essex University and was then funded by Anglian Water to do my PhD with Dr. Graham Underwood also at Essex. Cyanobacterial blooms occurred in Alton Water reservoir, Suffolk until 1992, when the reservoir switched to a macrophyte-dominated system. Top-down (growth of Elodea, fish kill) and bottom-up (phosphorus limitation) control, were both identified as contributing to this switch.

Professional memberships

  • British Phycological Society

Academic positions

  • Cardiff University Sept 2004 – Current. Senior Lecturer in Marine Biosciences.
  • University of St. Andrews, June 2001 – July 2004. Senior Research Fellow
  • University of Essex, January 1999 – January 2001. Senior PDRA


















I am a Senior Lecturer in Marine Biosciences and am Director of the Marine Geography Degree Programme. I teach year 1 modules in Environmental Chemistry and Biology and Marine Geography Data Analysis. In year 2, I focus on Marine Ecosystems and in year 3 Marine Conservation Science.

I also run three residential field courses in Pembrokeshire, Malta and Greece. I organise and supervise marine biology placements in destinations such as Spain, Greece and the Bahamas, during which students gain research experience and acquire data for their final year projects.

My research focusses on algal photobiology using variable chlorophyll fluorescence.

I was one of the first researchers to develop fluorescence methodology applied to benthic algal biofilms, with important methodological work on the effects of cell movement, light curve methodology and physiological down regulation, including high resolution imaging work at the single cell level to determine the drivers in periodicity of benthic microalgal productivity.

I have also worked on the photophysiology of prokaryote and eukaryote phototrophs in stromatolites, including novel work which identified the importance of combined light and oxygen in photochemical reactivation. Current work investigates the photophysiology of ice algae, identifying a photophysiological mechanistic role in mediation of ice sheet albedo, as well as determination of novel photosynthetic down regulation in diatoms and single cell photophysiology of macroalgae and seagrasses.


  • Dr Bruno Jesus, Institute of Oceanography, Lisbon, Portugal - coastal microalgal photophysiology
  • Prof. P Reid, RSMAS, Miami University - RIBS stromatolite survey project.Dr J-L. Mouget, Université du Maine, Dr S. Lefebvre, Université du Caen –-microalgal photophysiology.
  • Prof. G. Gust, TUHH, Germany coastal sediment dynamicsCCW -coastal sediment dynamics small project (CCW/Cardiff Univ. funding)
  • Dr Martin Skov, Dr Patrick Doncaster, Southampton University -rocky shore algal photophysiology and ecology.
  • Dr Bryan Spears, CEH, Edinburgh - freshwater nutrient dynamics
  • Prof. Sonny Gruber, Bimini Biological Field Station - Lemon Shark population dynamics and ecology

I am the Director of Research at Archipelagos, Institute of Marine & Environmental Research of the Aegean Sea. Leonardo and Erasmus funding has been used to fund 14 students from Cardiff University to carry out work on coastal habitat biodiversity and conservation quality for establishment of a Natura 2000 site.


  • National Environment Research Council March 2010 – 77.4K GBP approx. PI supervising a NERC Ocean Acidification Directed PhD studentship in collaboration with Bristol University and Natural History Museum, London.
  • FP7 – International Research FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IRSES: BIOVADIA (269294) – 185K EURO (10.7K to Cardiff). Co-I, work package leader regarding cell photophysiology.
  • CEFAS January 2010 – 29.3K GBP. PI supervising research on Corallina temperature response.
  • CEFAS July 2010 – 10.7K GBP. PI researching ecotoxicological effects of chlorine on Corallina macroalgae.
  • Leonardo Mobility Grant from the British Council to fund 14 student placements with Archipelagos, Institute for marine and ecological research, Aegean Sea, Greece. 54,220 Euros.
  • CEH Edinburgh PhD grant. Investigating forced recovery from eutrophication in shallow lakes. 25K GBP plus student stipend.
  • CEH Edinburgh PhD grant. Photophysiology of rocky shoreepilithic biofilms. 10K GBP (plus School NERC funding).