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David Thomas BSc (Liv), PhD (Liv), CBiol, FSB

CAMS Role: Academic Lead

Room: 214 Marine Centre Wales

Telephone: 38 2878


Head of School, Chair of Marine Biology and Director of Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon, Energy and Environment.


I am Professor in Marine Biology and Head of the School of Ocean Sciences. I was awarded my PhD from the University of Liverpool, UK 1988) for my thesis "Salt tolerances in Cladophora (Chlorophyceae): A study of populations and species". Between 1989 and 1996 I held four research scientist posts in Germany at the University of Bremen, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, University of Oldenburg and Centre for Marine Tropical Ecology, Bremen. I was appointed to my position at Bangor University in July 1996. In 2001 to 2003 I held an Ocean and Climate Research Fellowship at the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study, Germany.

From September 2008 until January 2014 I hold a Research Professor position in the Marine Centre of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) in Helsinki. This position was awarded by the Academy of Finland in their Finland Distinguished Professor Programme (FiDiPro). The theme of the project is "Biogeochemistry of the Baltic Sea in a Changing Climate: From Catchment to Open Sea"

Research Interests

Since 1991 my main research activities have focused on the ecology and biogeochemical processes of sea ice. I have conducted major research expeditions to the Antarctic (1992, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2004/05 and 2006) and Arctic (1993 & 2002). See link. This multidisciplinary work involves collaboration with chemists, glaciologists, physicists and other biologists. These have largely been ship based expeditions, although in 1998 the work was based from a 5 week ice camp in the eastern Weddell Sea, and the 2002 work was a pioneering sea ice study in the White Sea, Russia based from the White Sea Station at Chupa. The Bangor team took part in the ISPOL drift station in the Weddell Sea from November 2004 to March 2005 ( ISPOL and NHM ).
In 2006 we returned to the Weddell Sea as part of the WWOS expedition with Polarstern. Together with colleagues in Finland and Sweden I have also worked on sea ice in the Baltic Sea.

My latest work has focused on the production of, and fate of dissolved organic matter (DOM) within ice. I have participated in large-scale ice tank experiments conducted in ship model testing tanks (EU funded HSVA, Hamburg) to investigate these processes under controlled 'laboratory' conditions, and co-ordinated the experiments in 2001. I also have a more general interest in the role of DOM in aquatic systems, and recent projects involve looking at the role of DOM in northeast Atlantic deep-sea sediments and DOM in freshwaters, estuaries and coastal seas.

My work is not confined to local waters and Polar regions, but I have also conducted fieldwork in the Red Sea, Finland, Vietnam, the Philippines and the North Sea.

I am increasingly interested in the Public Understanding of Science and was awarded a British Association Science and Technology Media Fellowship in 1999. I write regularly for publications with a wider readership including BBC Wildlife Magazine and The Times Higher Education Supplement. I won second prize in the OUP/THES Science Writing Competition 2000, and my work has featured on national and international television and radio. Since 2001 I have been involved in an innovative collaboration with designer-makers Sarah Parker-Eaton and Louise Hibbert in a project called "Plankton Art" (

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