I am a Research (Centre for Enzyme Innovation) and Teaching Fellow (Marine Biology) at the University of Portsmouth, and Adjunct Assistant Research Professor (Microbiology Department) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA.


My research focuses on biodegradation and symbiosis in an economically and ecologically important group of marine invertebrates known commonly as ‘wood-borers’.


I am currently co-leading a National Science Foundation (NSF, USA) funded project on non-enzymatic mechanisms of wood degradation in these organisms. My previous research includes major biodiversity-based discoveries.


My teaching modules currently include ‘Marine Organisms and Ecosystems’, ‘Introduction to Marine Ecology and Oceanography’ and ‘Marine Research Skills’.


I graduated from the University of Portsmouth in 2009 with a BSc (Hons) degree in Marine Biology. Under the advisement of Professor Simon Cragg, I went on to complete a Ph.D. at the Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Portsmouth, on wood-destroying marine invertebrates and biodegradation.


My research career continued at the Ocean Genome Legacy Center (Northeastern University, MA, USA). I joined Professor Daniel Distels’ lab as a postdoctoral Researcher in 2014, working on shipworms and associated symbionts. During this time, I was also part of the Philippine Mollusk Symbiont International Collaborative Biodiversity Group (PMS ICBG), led by Professors Margo Haygood and Gisella Concepcion. I contributed to significant research on shipworms and symbionts from mangrove, seagrass and riverine systems of the Philippines.


In 2019, I began work with Prof. Barry Goodell at the Microbiology Department, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), working on wood degradation mechanisms in marine invertebrates and associated symbionts.


In 2019, I re-joined the University of Portsmouth with a joint appointment as a Teaching Fellow (Marine Biology) and Research Fellow (Centre of Enzyme Innovation), along with a position as Adjunct Assistant Research Professor with the Microbiology Department, University of Massachusetts (Amherst).

Research Interests

Research Interests


My research focuses on the biology and symbiosis of wood-boring invertebrates, and more broadly, on biodegradation and carbon-flow in aquatic ecosystems. Ongoing projects in my laboratory include:



  • Biodiversity based-discoveries in deepsea, mangrove, riverine and seagrass ecosystems
  • Biodegradation, nutrient cycling, carbon flow and habitat creation in marine environments
  • Molecular and chemical mechanisms of wood-degradation in marine invertebrates
  • Microbial symbiotic associations
  • Molecular phylogeny and 3D microcomputer tomography modelling to resolve evolutionary processes in marine invertebrates
  • Biogeography, life history strategy and the economic threat posed by non-native invasive wood-borers


Recent funding

I was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant (IOS-1947309, $476,000), with my Co-PI Prof. Goodell at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). The project will examine the non-enzymatic, symbiont-mediated mechanism for the digestion of lignocellulose in teredinids.

Teaching Responsibilities

I teach across a variety of undergraduate modules in Marine Biology, including ‘Marine Organisms and Ecosystems’, ‘Introduction to Marine Ecology and Oceanography’ and ‘Marine Research Skills’. Additionally, I also contribute to the Applied Aquatic Biology Masters programme.

Media Availability

Media I am happy to take calls and emails from the media on my research, and am aware of the needs to respond to journalists in a timely manner. Please contact Reuben Shipway on either  or 07742214525.

This site uses cookies. Click here to view our cookie policy message.

Accept and close