Svenja Heesch Ph.D.

Research interests

  • Marine and terrestrial algae
  • Biodiversity
  • Systematics and taxonomy


T. Mock, M.S. Clark, J.I. Hoffman et al. (2023): Multi-omics for studying and understanding polar life. Nature Communications 14, 7451.

J.I. Hoffman, S. Heesch & M.S. Clark (2023): Editorial: Polar Genomics in a Changing World. Genes 14, 1395.

N. Diehl, N. Steiner, K. Bischof, U. Karsten & S. Heesch (2023): Exploring intraspecific variability – Biochemical and morphological traits of the sugar kelp Saccharina latissima along latitudinal and salinity gradients in Europe. Frontiers in Marine Science 10:

L.B. Firth, C. Clubley, A. McGrath, E. Renshaw, A. Foggo, A.D.M. Wilson, P.E. Gribben, A.E.A. Flower, J. Burgess, S. Heesch, S.J. Hawkins, N.R. Stephen, D. Haspel, A. Spain-Butler, S. Stührmann, A. Newstead & A.M. Knights (2023): If you can’t beat them, join them: enemy shells as refugia from grazing & competition pressure. Oceanography and Marine Biology: an Annual Review Vol. 61, 34 pages.

K. Kuriyama, S. Heesch, U. Karsten & R. Schumann (2023): Benthic diatom diversity in a turbid brackish lagoon of the Baltic Sea. Phycologia.

R. Bermejo, M. Galindo-Ponce, N. Golden, C. Linderhof, S. Heesch, I. Hernández & L. Morrison (2022): Two bloom forming species of Ulva (Chlorophyta) show different responses to seawater temperature, and no antagonistic interaction. Journal of Phycology.

S. Akita, C. Vieira, T. Hanyuda, F. Rousseau, C. Cruaud, A. Couloux, S. Heesch, J.M. Cock & H. Kawai (2022): Providing a phylogenetic framework for trait-based analyses in brown algae: phylogenomic tree inferred from 32 nuclear protein-coding sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

S. Heesch, M. Serrano-Serrano, J. Barrera-Redondo, R. Luthringer, A.F. Peters, C. Destombe, J.M. Cock, M. Valero, D. Roze, N. Salamin, S.M. Coelho (2021): Evolution of life cycles and reproductive traits: insights from the brown algae. Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

M.Y. Roleda & S.  Heesch (2021): Chemical profiling of Ulva species for food applications: what is in a name? Food Chemistry.

K. Franke, D. Liesner, S. Heesch & I. Bartsch (2021):  Looks can be deceiving:  Contrasting temperature characteristics of two morphologically similar kelp species co-occurring in the Arctic. Botanica Marina.

S. Heesch, J.E. Sutherland, S. Ringham & W.A. Nelson (2021): Ulva (Ulvales, Chlorophyta) from Manawatāwhi / Three Kings Islands, New Zealand: Ulva piritoka sp. nov. and records of two non-native species, U. compressa and U. rigida. Cryptogamie, Algologie 42(9): 129-140.

S. Heesch, F. Rindi, M.D. Guiry  & W.A. Nelson (2020): Molecular phylogeny and taxonomic reassessment of the genus Cladostephus (Sphacelariales, Phaeophyceae). European Journal of Phycology 55: 426-443.

R. Bermejo, M. MacMonagail, S. Heesch, A. Mendes, M. Edwards, O. Fenton, K. Knöller, E. Daly & L. Morrison (2020): The arrival of a red invasive seaweed to a nutrient over-enriched estuary increases the spatial extent of macroalgal blooms. Marine Environmental Research 158.

S. Hofer, A. Hartmann, M. Orfanoudaki, H. Ngoc Nguyen, M. Nagl, U. Karsten, S. Heesch & M. Ganzera (2019): Development and validation of an HPLC method for the quantitative analysis of bromophenolic compounds in the red alga Vertebrata lanosa. Marine Drugs 17(12), 675;

R. Bermejo, S. Heesch, M. Mac Monagle, M. O’Donnell, E. Daly, R.J. Wilkes & L. Morrison (2019): Spatial and temporal variability of biomass and composition of green tides in Ireland. Harmful Algae 8: 94-105.

M.A. Carson, J. Nelson, M.L. Cancela, V. Laizé, P.J. Gavaia, M. Rae, S. Heesch, E. Verzin, B. Gilmore & S.A. Clarke (2018):  Screening for osteogenic activity in extracts from Irish marine organisms: The potential of Ceramium pallidum. PLoS ONE 13(11): e0207303.

L.C. Hofmann & S. Heesch (2018): Latitudinal trends in stable isotope signatures and carbon concentrating mechanisms of northeast Atlantic rhodoliths. Biogeosciences Discussions:

M. Bernard, M. Strittmatter, P. Murúa, S. Heesch, G.Y. Cho, C. Leblanc & A.F. Peters (2018): Diversity, biogeography and host specificity of kelp endophytes with a focus on the genera Laminarionema and Laminariocolax (Ectocarpales, Phaeophyceae). European Journal of Phycology, doi: 10.1080/09670262.2018.1502816

M.A. Carson, J. Nelson, M.L. Cancela, V. Laizé, P.J. Gavaia, M. Rae, S. Heesch, E. Verzin, C.A. Maggs, B. Gilmore & S.A. Clarke (2018):  Extracts from the red algal species Plocamium lyngbyanum and Ceramium secundatum stimulate osteogenic activities: response of mesenchymal stem cells and bone growth in larval zebrafish. Scientific Reports 8: 7725.

I. Biancarosa, I. Belghit, C.G. Bruckner, N.S. Liland, R. Waagbø, H. Amlund, S. Heesch & E.J. Lock (2017): Chemical characterization of 21 species of marine macroalgae common in Norwegian waters: benefits of and limitations to their potential use in food and feed. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, doi: 10.1002/jsfa.8798

I. Belghit, J.D. Rasinger, S. Heesch, I. Biancarosa, N.S. Liland, B. Torstensen, R. Waagbø, E.J. Lock & C.G. Bruckner (2017): In-depth metabolic profiling of marine macroalgae confirms strong biochemical differences between brown, red and green algae. Algal Research 26: 240-249.

S.M. Dittami, S. Heesch, J.L. Olsen & J. Collén (2017): Transitions between marine and freshwater environments provide new clues about the origins of multicellular plants and algae. Journal of Phycology 53: 731-745.

A.P. Lipinska, N.R.T. Toda, S. Heesch, A.F. Peters, J.M. Cock & S.M. Coelho (2017): Multiple gene movements into and out of haploid sex chromosomes. Genome Biology 18: 104-118.

K. Sjøtun, S. Heesch, J.R. Lluch, R.M. Martín, A. Gómez Garreta, A.K. Brysting & J.A. Coyer (2017): Unravelling the complexity of salt marsh ‘Fucus cottonii’ forms (Phaeophyceae, Fucales). European Journal of Phycology 52: 360-370.

A. Wan, R. Wilkes, S. Heesch, R. Bermejo, M. Johnson & L. Morrison (2017): What can sea lettuce tell us about coastal pollution? Environmental Science Journal for Teens:

A.H.L. Wan, R.J. Wilkes, S. Heesch, R. Bermejo, M. Johnson & L. Morrison (2017):  Assessment and Charaterisation of Ireland's green tides (Ulva species). PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169049. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169049

S. Bourdareau, L. Mignerot, S. Heesch, A.F. Peters, S.M. Coelho & J.M. Cock (2017): Alternation of Generations in Plants and Algae. In: L. Nuno de la Rosa,& G. Müller (eds): Evolutionary Developmental Biology. A Reference Guide. Springer, Schweiz.

2016 und früher
I. Biancarosa, M. Espe, C.G. Bruckner, S. Heesch, N.S. Liland, R. Waagbø, B. Torstensen & E.J. Lock (2016): Amino acid composition, protein content, and nitrigen-to-protein conversion factors of 21 seaweed species from Norwegian waters. Journal of Applied Phycology 29(2): 1001-1009.

T. Hanyuda, S. Heesch, W.A. Nelson, J.E. Sutherland, S. Arai, S.M. Boo & H. Kawai (2016): Genetic diversity and biogeography of native and introduced populations of Ulva pertusa (Ulvales, Chlorophyta). Phycological Research 64 (2): 102-109.

S. Heesch, M. Pažoutová, M.B.J. Moniz & F. Rindi (2016): Prasiolales (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta) of the Svalbard Archipelago: diversity, biogeography, and description of the new genera Prasionella and Prasionema. European Journal of Phycology 51: 171-187.

J.J. Hernández-Kantún, F. Rindi, W. Adey, S. Heesch, V. Peña & P.W. Gabrielson (2015): Sequencing type material resolves the identity and distribution of the generitype Lithophyllum incrustans, and related European species L. hibernicum and L. bathyporum (Corallinales, Rhodophyta). Journal of Phycology 51: 791–807.

R. Rautenberger, P.A. Fernandez, M. Strittmatter, S. Heesch, C.E. Cornwall, C.L. Hurd & M.Y. Roleda (2015): Saturating light and not increased carbon dioxide under ocean acidification drives photosynthesis and growth in Ulva rigida (Chlorophyta). Ecology & Evolution 5: 874-888.

C.M.M. Gachon, S. Heesch, F.C. Küpper, U.E.M. Achilles-Day, D. Brennan, C.N. Campbell, A. Clarke, R.G. Dorrell, J. Field, S. Gontarek, C. Rad-Menendez, R.J. Saxon, A. Veszelovszki, M.D. Guiry, K. Gharbi, M. Blaxter & J.G. Day (2013): The CCAP KnowledgeBase: linking protistan and cyanobacterial biological resources with taxonomic and molecular data. Systematics and Biodiversity 11: 407–413.

M. Strittmatter, C.M.M. Gachon, D.G. Müller, J. Kleinteich, S. Heesch, A. Tsirigoti, C. Katsaros, M. Kostopoulou & F.C. Küpper (2013): New records of intracellular eukaryotic pathogens challenging brown macroalgae in the East Mediterranean Sea, with emphasis on LSU rRNA data of the oomycete pathogen Eurychasma dicksonii. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 104: 1-11.

S. Heesch, J.G. Day, T. Yamagishi, H. Kawai, D.G. Müller & F.C. Küpper (2012): Cryo-preservation of the model alga Ectocarpus (Phaeophyceae). CryoLetters 33 (5): 327-336.

S. Heesch, J.E. Sutherland & W.A. Nelson (2012): Marine Prasiolales (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta) from New Zealand and the Balleny Islands, with descriptions of Prasiola novaezelandiae sp. nov. and Rosenvingiella australis sp. nov.. Phycologia 51: 217-227.

J.M. Cock et al. (2012): The Ectocarpus Genome and Brown Algal Genomics. Chapter 5. Advances in Botanical Research, Vol. 64: 141-184.

J.M. Cock et al. (2010): The Ectocarpus genome and the independent evolution of multicellularity in the brown algae. Nature 465: 617-621.

S.M. Coelho, S. Heesch, N. Grimsley, H. Moreau & J.M. Cock (2010): Genomics of Marine Algae: In: J.M. Cock, K. Tessmar-Raible, C. Boyen & F. Viard (egs.): Introduction to Marine Genomics. Springer. p. 179-211.

S. Heesch, G.Y. Cho, A.F. Peters, G. Le Corguillé, C. Falentin, G. Boutet, S. Cöedel, E. Corre, S.M. Coelho & J.M. Cock (2010): A sequence-tagged genetic map for the brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus provides large-scale assembly of the genome sequence. New Phytologist 188: 42-51.

S. Heesch, J.E.S. Broom, K.F. Neill, T.J. Farr, J.L. Dalen & W.A. Nelson (2009): Ulva, Umbraulva and Gemina: genetic survey of New Zealand Ulvaceae reveals diversity and introduced species. European Journal of Phycology 44: 143-154

S. Heesch, A.F. Peters, J.E.S. Broom & C.L. Hurd (2008): Affiliation of the parasitic brown alga Herpodiscus durvillaeae with the Sphacelariales based on DNA sequence comparisons and morphological observations. European Journal of Phycology 43(3): 283-295.

S. Heesch & A.F. Peters (1999): Scanning electron microscopy observation of host entry by two brown algae endophytic in Laminaria saccharina (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae). Phycological Research 47: 1-5.



Professional Experience      
since 2021 Postdoctoral Researcher Taxonomy of Prasiolaceae Applied Ecology & Phycology, University of Rostock
2019-2021 Postdoctoral Researcher Coordination DFG - Priority Program 1158 - Antarctic Research Applied Ecology & Phycology, University of Rostock
2015-2018 Ingénieur de Recherche (Research Associate) SexSea: Linking genomics with life history traits in the brown algae Station Biologique de Roscoff (SBR), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS, France
2011-2015 Macroalgal Taxonomist (Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow) Beaufort Marine Biodiscovery: Novel bioactive compounds from Irish marine organisms Irish Seaweed Research Group, Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland Galway NUIG, Galway, Ireland
2009-2011 Molecular Phycologist (Postdoctoral Research Fellow) ASSEMBLE Scottish Association for Marine Science SAMS, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, Scotland
2008-2009 Ingénieur de Recherche (Research Associate) The Ectocarpus genome: Genetic linkage map of Ectocarpus siliculosus based on microsatellite markers Station Biologique de Roscoff (SBR), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS und Université Pierre et Marie Curie UPMC, France
2005-2007 Postdoctoral Research Fellow Genetic diversity of Ulva sensu lato in New Zealand; Diseases, parasites and pathogens of marine macroalgae; Survey of ship hulls National Institute for Water & Atmospheric Research NIWA Ltd., Dunedin, New Zealand
between 1998 and 2003 (total of 16 month) Scientist Annual monitoring of phytobenthic communities along the German Baltic Sea coasts MariLim Gesellschaft für Gewässeruntersuchungen mbH, Kiel, Germany
2005 Doctor of Philosophy Endophytic Phaeophyceae from New Zealand University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
1997-2005 Ph.D. studies Marine Botany Botany Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
1996 (German) Diplom in Biology Studien zur Infektion von Laminarien durch endophytische Braunalgen Botany Department/Institute for Marine Science, Universty of Kiel, Germany
1989-1996 Undergraduate & postgraduate studies in Biology Botany, Marine Biology, Marine Chemistry University of Kiel, Germany


Dr. Svenja Heesch
University of Rostock
Institute for Biological Sciences
Applied Ecology and Phycology
Albert-Einstein-Straße 3
D-18059 Rostock
Tel. +49 381 498 6101
Fax. +49 381 498 6072

Svenja Heesch (© Stefanie Buggele)
Prasiola novaezelandiae Heesch & W.A.Nelson
Prasionella wendyae Heesch, M.Pazoutova & Rindi
Prasionema payeri Heesch, M.Pazoutova & Rindi