Seaweed Research Group | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Seaweed Research Group

Diverse experts. Common goals.
Our vision is to improve environmental, economic and social outcomes through the production of world-class seaweed research and development.


Seaweed is perhaps not the most glamorous of marine creatures, but it is certainly among the most important. In the sea, seaweeds form vast forests, which, just like forests on the land, underpin  entire marine ecosystems by providing food and shelter to thousands of species of fish and invertebrates. Seaweed forests also make substantial contributions to global biogeochemical cycles. For example, as primary producers, through photosynthesis, they absorb CO2 and produce oxygen.

Economically, seaweed is the largest aquaculture crop in the world with more than 25 million tonnes of seaweed produced per annum, which is steadily increasing at a rate of 8 percent per year and represents an aquaculture industry worth more than $US7 billion.

Seaweed also has enormous social value in terms of benefiting people's health, wellbeing and livelihoods. The versatility of seaweed, and diversity of its uses, is why a multi-faceted program is so important to the Seaweed Research Group. In addition to seaweed being an important food source for a growing global population, there is also massive scope to increase the commercial side of the industry in order to create positive societal change at a grand scale.

Become a citizen scientist

We’re assembling a squad of passionate citizen scientists to restore lost underwater forests on the iconic Sunshine Coast. Repairing damaged ecosystems is not only good for the environment, it’s a great way to boost your own well-being too.

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Explore the Asparagopsis genome and more

We are excited to have developed our own Asparagopsis Genomics Portal (AGP) as a freely available resource for researchers and scientists globally interested in the Asparagopsis genome.

Key members

Professor Nick Paul

Nick is a Professor of Marine Science and leads applied research and development on seaweed and algae for new product development, based upon a platform of sustainable production.

Alexandra Campbell
Dr Alexandra Campbell

Alex is a Senior Lecturer in BioScience and an award-winning marine ecologist who combines field ecology with environmental microbiology, natural products chemistry and environmental science.

Libby Swanepoel
Dr Libby Swanepoel

Libby is a Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics whose research sees her working across food systems for global development. Libby currently has projects across the Asia-Pacific region, including Kiribati, Samoa and Solomon Islands.

Min Zhao
Dr Min Zhao

Min’s seaweed research focuses on bioinformatics and genomics with high-throughput integration of multiple dimensional data, focussing on the biosynthetic pathways of seaweed and industry-facing genomic browsers.

Saskia De Klerk
Dr Saskia de Klerk

Saskia is a Senior Lecturer in international business. Her areas of research include entreprenuership and innovative ecosystem development for seaweed, with an emphasis on cross-cultural management and capacity building.

Martina Jelocnik
Dr Martina Jelocnik

Martina is an ARC DECRA Research Fellow. Her research on seaweed takes a One Health approach to veterinary microbiology through the control of infections in Australian livestock and aquaculture production.

Scott Cummins
Professor Scott Cummins

Scott is a Professor of Molecular Biology and focuses his research on the molecular basis for natural product variation in seaweeds, with applications in the fields of ecology, aquaculture and health. Scott's multi-omics approach towards our research integrates genomics, transcriptomics, proteomic and metabolomics through the latest next-generation sequencing and mass spectrometry approaches.  

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Latest seaweed news

Spider venom, seaweed and bee research projects share million-dollar funding
15 Apr

Is spider venom the solution to controlling locusts? What secrets do underwater Golden Kelp forests hold? And can the propolis of native stingless bees spawn a new health industry?

Not such a silly (seaweed) sausage
30 Jan

Our researchers used 'seaweed sausages' in a trial project to help purify Moreton Bay waterways.