Professor Frithjof Kuepper

Professor Frithjof Kuepper
Professor Frithjof Kuepper
Professor Frithjof Kuepper

MASTS Chair in Marine Biodiversity

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 274490
Office Address
Professor Frithjof C. Kuepper Chair in Marine Biodiversity Oceanlab University of Aberdeen Main Street Newburgh AB41 6AA Scotland, UK
School of Biological Sciences


Frithjof C. Küpper has recently been appointed to the Chair in Marine Biodiversity at the University of Aberdeen (Oceanlab). Before this, he held a readership (2009-2011) / lectureship (2003-2009) and the position of Head of the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa (CCAP) at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) from 2003-2008. Over the past 24 years, Dr. Küpper has studied the inorganic biochemistry, chemical ecology and physiology of aquatic and marine plants/algae, especially in the context of biotic / abiotic stress and biogeochemical cycles. In his polar research activities both in the Arctic and Antarctic (see below), he is investigating the biodiversity and ecology (in particular, again, pathologies) of marine macroalgae.This work has led to the publication of 66 ISI-listed, peer-reviewed papers and 3 book chapters (cited > 1,500 times, h index: 22). His research interest in algal pathologies and defence reactions arose during his graduate studies with Dieter G. Müller (Konstanz) and Bernard Kloareg (Roscoff) for a joint French-German Ph.D. (1998-2001), which. included the first finding of an oxidative burst in a brown alga.- As a post-doctoral researcher with Prof. Alison Butler at the University of California, Santa Barbara (2001-3), he studied the role of microbial siderophores (metal chelators) in marine ecosystems (where he remains a visiting professor in the Dept. of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, EEMB). Within the same context, Frithjof Küpper has collaborated closely with Carl J. Carrano (San Diego State University) and his SAMS colleague, David H. Green, on 2 projects investigating the role of microbial siderophores in microalgal-bacterial symbioses and on metal acquisition and storage in the brown algal genomics model Ectocarpus (ongoing work with Carl J. Carrano and Berthold F. Matzanke), respectively. This work has revealed that certain, photochemically active siderophores enhance algal trace metal nutrition through their photolysis (PNAS 106(40), 17071–6), and that a range of siderophores can bind significant levels of borate (effectively extending the classical paradigm of siderophores being merely iron chelators). In recent years, he has developed particular interests in the use of X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) as a non-invasive probe for biological iodine and bromine (and trace metals), and the atmospheric impact of algal halogen emissions. The latter has resulted in the finding of iodide serving the role of an inorganic antioxidant in kelp, the first described from a living system, with implications for atmospheric and marine chemistry (PNAS 105(19), 6954-8). This work was selected as one of the 100 Science Stories of the Year 2008 by DISCOVER Magazine and received substantial media coverage. Furthermore, Frithjof Küpper is particularly interested in algal pathologies – in particular, the most basal oomycete known to this date, Eurychasma. Frithjof’s group was involved in the annotation of the genome of the first multicellular alga, Ectocarpus (Nature 465, 617-21). Ectocarpus- / Eurychasma-related work in his group has received a substantial amount of funding from NERC (NE/D521522/1; M&FMB International Opportunities Fund; Oceans 2025 WP 4.5; MGF 211; NE/F012578/ ) and other funding sources (German Academic Merit Foundation; two doctoral and one post-doctoral Marie Curie Fellowships of the European Commission).- Frithjof has conducted expeditions and field trips with a scope in phycological / marine research throughout the world, including Malaysia, Chile, Argentina, the Falkland Islands, Ascension Island, Japan, California, Greece and, most recently, the Canadian Arctic (summer 2009) and, in December-January 2010-2011, the Antarctic. Most of these expeditions – but in particular the Arctic and Antarctic – have included scientific diving. Indeed, he is a keen scuba diver and has been certified for scientific diving in the USA (AAUS), UK (HSE Scuba IV) and Europe (European Research Diver Certificate). In this context, he has developed an interest in scientific cinematography, recently resulting in the production of a short documentary, Immersed in the Arctic (Director: Alexandros Giannios, Athens).- Frithjof is a member of the Editorial Boards of Algae and Marine Biotechnology, the Peer Review College of the UK Natural Environment Research Council,the council of the Hellenic Phycological Society, and he was a member of the Council of the British Phycological Society from 2004-2007. Frithjof is fluent in English, French, Modern Greek and German (native language).

External Memberships

Member of the NERC Peer Review College (2009-2012)


Reviewer for the following funding agencies:

British Council; Caribbean Coral Reef Institute; Enterprise Ireland; European Science Foundation; German-Israeli Foundation; Icelandic Research Fund; Marine Biological Association UK; Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs (Greece); National Science Foundation (NSF) USA; Natural Environment Research Council (NERC; Peer Review College Member, 2009-2012); National Research Foundation (NRF) South Africa


Reviewer for the following journals:

Algae; Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics; Environmental Science & Technology; Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science; European Journal of Phycology; Functional Plant Biology; International Review of Hydrobiology; Journal of Applied Phycology; Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry; Journal of Phycology; Malaysian Journal of Science; Marine Biotechnology; Marine Chemistry; Mycological Research; New Phytologist; Phycological Research; Plant Biology; Polar Research; Science


Society and Editorial Board Memberships

British Phycological Society (2004- present; member of scientific council: Jan. 2004 - 2007)

Ελληνικη Φυκολογικη Εταιρια (Greek Phycological Society; 2009 – present; member of governing council: Dec. 2011 - present)

Deutsche Botanische Gesellschaft (German Botanical Society; 1998 - present)

Sektion Phykologie der Deutschen Botanischen Gesellschaft (Phycological Section of the German Botanical Society; 2006 - present)

Malaysian Society for Marine Science (lifetime member since Nov. 2008)

Naturschutzbund Deutschland (German Wildlife Federation; 1990 - present)

Editorial Board member, Marine Biotechnology (Jan. 2005 – present)

OTEC (Ocean Technology & Environmental Consulting, member of Board of Advisors)


Research Overview

Biochemistry and biodiversity of marine algae and microbes

Current Research

Oomycete pathogens of marine algae


Iodine and defense metabolism in marine brown algae


Trace metal uptake and storage in marine algae


Biodiversity and taxonomy of marine brown algae (especially of polar regions and the Mediterranean Sea)


Dr. Pieter van West (Aberdeen Oomycete Laboratory, University of Aberdeen)


Prof. Carl J. Carrano (Bioinorganic Chemistry, San Diego State University)


Prof. Christos Katsaros (Phycology, University of Athens)


Dr. Martin C. Feiters (Radboud University Nijmegen)


Prof. Lucy J. Carpenter (University of York)


Prof. George W. Luther III (University of Delaware, Lewes)


Unité de Recherche Végétaux Marins et Biomolécules (CNRS-UPMC Station Biologique de Roscoff)

(Dr. Philippe Potin, Dr. Akira F. Peters, Dr. J. Mark Cock, Dr. Catherine Leblanc)


Dr. Claire M.M. Gachon (Scottish Association for Marine Science)


Prof. Hendrik Küpper (University of Konstanz)


Dr. Martin D.J. Sayer & UK National Facility for Scientific Diving (Scottish Association for Marine Science)

Funding and Grants

(only currently active grants listed)


Algal and oomycete diversity in the Canadian Marine Arctic (2009-)

(TOTAL Foundation)



Brown Algal Ecology and Biodiversity in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea (2010-)

(TOTAL Foundation)


Teaching Responsibilities

ZO4808: Marine Benthic Ecology

(Coordinator; lectures mostly on phycological subjects)


BI 25Z2: Ocean Biology
(lectures: Introduction to Phycology; Bioinorganic Chemistry of Marine Organisms)



Page 1 of 10 Results 1 to 10 of 92

Show 10 | 25 | 50 | 100 results per page


Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals