My Details

‌‌Alizee MauffreyAlizée Mauffrey
Postgraduate Student



Personal email:

Dynamic Ecology Group

About Me

I graduated from a BSc in Marine Biology with a first class mark. My love for ecology coupled with an exciting undergraduate experience encouraged me to consider postgraduate studies. I have directed my undergraduate work towards several aspects of macroalgal ecology, in an overarching effort to better understand the role that primary producers such as seaweed play in coastal ecosystems. 

I particularly enjoyed my undergraduate research project, during which I focused on functional ecology, applying terrestrial and plant research to macroalgae. My MRes project builds on my undergraduate work, as I explore the potential of functional ecology to quantify and predict the contribution of seaweed to ecosystem processes.

I was awarded the John Hayward Prize in Biological Sciences, and I am thankful I obtained an MRes scholarship from Swansea University. 

I am an experienced diver with a CMAS Level 3 and Nitrox 1. This allowed me to contribute to a subtidal survey on the kelp beds of Pembrokeshire (Wales), when I worked as a paid research assistant with Dr. John Griffin and Dr. Richard Unsworth at Swansea University. I also contributed to the UK-based project of the Zostera Experimental Network (ZEN, by assisting with subtidal sampling, seaweed identification and data entry. 

Research interests

Functional traits of species can be used to predict ecosystem functioning from community composition. In terrestrial systems, functional traits have been shown to effectively explain various ecosystem functions, but trait-function links have rarely been evaluated in the marine realm. The ecosystem function of macroalgal decomposition is an essential step in the recycling of organic matter and sustains secondary production. However, very few studies have related traits to macroalgal decomposition rates following a mechanistic rationale, or have directly compared the suitability of different traits in explaining decomposition rates. 

The aim of my MRes is to identify the macroalgal functional traits predicting decomposition rates across common UK species. I am assessing: (1) whether species show consistent differences in trait values (a requirement for a trait to be reliable at the species level); and (2) the relative power of isolated traits or suites of traits in predicting decomposition rates. The functional traits I measure encompass morphological and chemical traits. Decomposition rates are measured in strandline mesocosms and marine water tanks. This research builds on my undergraduate research project, which identified several morphological traits that were reliable at the species level, but could not explain decomposition rates alone. I suspect that a combination of morphological and chemical traits will capture decomposition rates. 

Testing the applicability of functional traits to macroalgae is the first step towards a functional framework predicting the ecological effects of coastal community changes under climate change.


Areas of Expertise

  • Coastal Ecology
  • Functional Ecology
  • Plant and Algal Ecology
  • Phycology