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I am a marine biologist with interests spanning all aspects of plankton (virus, bacteria, algae, mixotrophs, zooplankton), from experimental physiology, ecology through to (and now especially) modelling.

I have worked on projects ranging from ocean acidification and ocean-scale production, harmful algal blooms, to commercial exploitation of algal growth and aquaculture.

My main interests now are in marine plankton mixotrophy (notably via the MixITiN project; ) and in optimising commercial microalgal production.

A core component of my work is modelling, for which a series of interconnecting acclimative, multi-nutrient, variable stoichiometry models have been developed. The primary applications of these are in studies of trophic dynamics for biogeochemical and ecological analyses. A secondary application is in the guise of systems-biology applications to commercial production of microalgal biomass, cost-benefit analyses and optimization.

A free e-book to guide biologists in using systems dynamic modelling in dynamic ecology is available: please email me, or check

I work with colleagues both within the UK (notably PML, NOCS) and internationally (notably EU, USA and Australia).

Find me at ResearchGate -


MixITiN [MSCA H2020]; 2017-2021 €2.88 (PI A Mitra, Swansea)

EnhanceMicroALgae [INTERREG]; 2017-2020 (Lead ANFACO, Spain)

Pilots4U [H2020]; 2017-2019 (Lead BBEU, Belgium)



SEACAMS [ERDF]; 2010-15; £2.2M (Swansea University component)

EUROBASIN [FP7 Integrated Science]; 2011-14; £100k (Swansea University component)

Improved understanding of the potential population, community and ecosystem impacts of OA for commercially important species [NERC, Defra, DECC]; 2011-14; £700k

Placing marine mixotrophs in context: modelling mixotrophy in a changing world [Leverhulme International Network]; 2011-14; £100k

Energetic Algae (EnAlgae) [ERDF]; 2011-15; £5M

H+ fluxes in phytoplankton - a mechanistic and modelling study of their physiological roles and impact upon community responses to ocean acidification [NERC]; 2012-15; £45k to KJF

MacroBioCrude [EPSRC]; 2013-18; £1.5M

Areas of Expertise

  • plankton modelling
  • plankton physiology
  • commercial algal production
  • ocean acidification


  1. Wells, M., Karlson, B., Wulff, A., Kudela, R., Trick, C., Asnaghi, V., Berdalet, E., Cochlan, W., Davidson, K., Rijcke, M., Dutkiewicz, S., Hallegraeff, G., Flynn, K., Legrand, C., Paerl, H., Silke, J., Suikkanen, S., Thompson, P., & Trainer, V. Future HAB science: Directions and challenges in a changing climate. Harmful Algae, 91, 101632
  2. Chrachri, A., Hopkinson, B., Flynn, K., Brownlee, C., & Wheeler, G. Dynamic changes in carbonate chemistry in the microenvironment around single marine phytoplankton cells. Nature Communications, 9(1)
  3. Lin, C., Flynn, K., Mitra, A., & Glibert, P. Simulating Effects of Variable Stoichiometry and Temperature on Mixotrophy in the Harmful Dinoflagellate Karlodinium veneficum. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5
  4. Flynn, K. Dynamic Ecology - an introduction to the art of simulating trophic dynamics. Swansea University.
  5. Flynn, K., Mitra, A., & Bode, A. Toward a mechanistic understanding of trophic structure: inferences from simulating stable isotope ratios. Marine Biology, 165(9)
  6. Ghyoot, C., Lancelot, C., Flynn, K., Mitra, A., & Gypens, N. Introducing mixotrophy into a biogeochemical model describing an eutrophied coastal ecosystem: The Southern North Sea. Progress in Oceanography, 157, 1-11.
  7. Mayers, J., Ekman Nilsson, A., Albers, E., & Flynn, K. Nutrients from anaerobic digestion effluents for cultivation of the microalga Nannochloropsis sp. — Impact on growth, biochemical composition and the potential for cost and environmental impact savings. Algal Research, 26, 275-286.
  8. Leles, S., Mitra, A., Flynn, K., Stoecker, D., Hansen, P., Calbet, A., McManus, G., Sanders, R., Caron, D., Not, F., Hallegraeff, G., Pitta, P., Raven, J., Johnson, M., Glibert, P., & Våge, S. Oceanic protists with different forms of acquired phototrophy display contrasting biogeographies and abundance. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1860), 20170664
  9. Flynn, K., Kenny, P., & Mitra, A. Minimising losses to predation during microalgae cultivation. Journal of Applied Phycology, 29(4), 1829-1840.
  10. Kenny, P. & Flynn, K. Physiology limits commercially viable photoautotrophic production of microalgal biofuels. Journal of Applied Phycology, 29
  11. Flynn, K. & Mitra, A. Why Plankton Modelers Should Reconsider Using Rectangular Hyperbolic (Michaelis-Menten, Monod) Descriptions of Predator-Prey Interactions. Frontiers in Marine Science, 3
  12. Flynn, K., Clark, D., & Wheeler, G. The role of coccolithophore calcification in bioengineering their environment. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283(1833), 20161099
  13. Cripps, G., Flynn, K., & Lindeque, P. Ocean Acidification Affects the Phyto-Zoo Plankton Trophic Transfer Efficiency. PLOS ONE, 11(4), e0151739
    not available yet
  14. Flynn, K. & Raven, J. What is the limit for photoautotrophic plankton growth rates?. Journal of Plankton Research
  15. Fernandes, J., Papathanasopoulou, E., Hattam, C., Queirós, A., Cheung, W., Yool, A., Artioli, Y., Pope, E., Flynn, K., Merino, G., Calosi, P., Beaumont, N., Austen, M., Widdicombe, S., Barange, M., & Pope, E. Estimating the ecological, economic and social impacts of ocean acidification and warming on UK fisheries. Fish and Fisheries
  16. Kenny, P. & Flynn, K. Coupling a simple irradiance description to a mechanistic growth model to predict algal production in industrial-scale solar-powered photobioreactors. Journal of Applied Phycology, 28
  17. Kenny, P. & Flynn, K. In silico optimization for production of biomass and biofuel feedstocks from microalgae. Journal of Applied Phycology, 27(1), 33-48.
  18. Anderson, T., Christian, J., & Flynn, K. Modeling DOM Biogeochemistry. Biogeochemistry of Marine Dissolved Organic Matter (pp. 635-667).
  19. Flynn, K., Clark, D., Mitra, A., Fabian, H., Hansen, P., Glibert, P., Wheeler, G., Stoecker, D., Blackford, J., Brownlee, C., Flynn, K., & Mitra, A. Ocean acidification with (de)eutrophication will alter future phytoplankton growth and succession. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1804), 20142604-20142604.
  20. Flynn, K., St John, M., Raven, J., Skibinski, D., Allen, J., Mitra, A., & Hofmann, E. Acclimation, adaptation, traits and trade-offs in plankton functional type models: reconciling terminology for biology and modelling. Journal of Plankton Research, 37(4), 683-691.
  21. Ghyoot, C., Gypens, N., Flynn, K., & Lancelot, C. Modelling alkaline phosphatase activity in microalgae under orthophosphate limitation: the case ofPhaeocystis globosa. Journal of Plankton Research, 37(5), 869-885.
  22. Cripps, G., Lindeque, P., & Flynn, K. Have we been underestimating the effects of ocean acidification in zooplankton?. Global Change Biology, 20(11), 3377-3385.
  23. Cripps, G., Lindeque, P., Flynn, K., & Flynn, K. Parental exposure to elevated pCO2 influences the reproductive success of copepods. Journal of Plankton Research, 36(5), 1165-1174.
  24. Mayers, J., Flynn, K., & Shields, R. Influence of the N:P supply ratio on biomass productivity and time-resolved changes in elemental and bulk biochemical composition of Nannochloropsis sp.. Bioresource Technology, 169, 588-595.
  25. Clark, D., Flynn, K., Fabian, H., & Mock, T. Variation in elemental stoichiometry of the marine diatomThalassiosira weissflogii(Bacillariophyceae) in response to combined nutrient stress and changes in carbonate chemistry. Journal of Phycology, 50(4), 640-651.
  26. Hansen, P., Nielsen, L., Johnson, M., Berge, T., & Flynn, K. Acquired phototrophy in Mesodinium and Dinophysis – A review of cellular organization, prey selectivity, nutrient uptake and bioenergetics. Harmful Algae, 28, 126-139.
  27. Mayers, J., Flynn, K., & Shields, R. Rapid determination of bulk microalgal biochemical composition by Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy. Bioresource Technology, 148, 215-220.
  28. Flynn, K. & Hansen, P. Cutting the Canopy to Defeat the “Selfish Gene”; Conflicting Selection Pressures for the Integration of Phototrophy in Mixotrophic Protists. Protist, 164(6), 811-823.
  29. Flynn, K., Mitra, A., Greenwell, H., Sui, J., Flynn, K., & Mitra, A. Monster potential meets potential monster: pros and cons of deploying genetically modified microalgae for biofuels production. Interface Focus, 3(1), 20120037-20120037.
  30. Flynn, K., Blackford, J., Baird, M., Raven, J., Clark, D., Beardall, J., Brownlee, C., Fabian, H., & Wheeler, G. Erratum: Changes in pH at the exterior surface of plankton with ocean acidification. Nature Climate Change, 2(10), 760-760.
  31. Rose, K., Allen, J., Artioli, Y., Barange, M., Blackford, J., Carlotti, F., Cropp, R., Daewel, U., Edwards, K., Flynn, K., Hill, S., HilleRisLambers, R., Huse, G., Mackinson, S., Megrey, B., Moll, A., Rivkin, R., Salihoglu, B., Schrum, C...., & Zhou, M. End-To-End Models for the Analysis of Marine Ecosystems: Challenges, Issues, and Next Steps. Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 2(1), 115-130.
  32. Greenwell, H., Laurens, L., Shields, R., Lovitt, R., Flynn, K., Flynn, K., Lovitt, R., & Shields, R. Placing microalgae on the biofuels priority list: a review of the technological challenges. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 7(46), 703-726.
  33. Glibert, P., Allen, J., Bouwman, A., Brown, C., Flynn, K., Lewitus, A., & Madden, C. Modeling of HABs and eutrophication: Status, advances, challenges. Journal of Marine Systems, 83(3-4), 262-275.
  34. Flynn, K. Ecological modelling in a sea of variable stoichiometry: Dysfunctionality and the legacy of Redfield and Monod. Progress In Oceanography, 84(1-2), 52-65.
  35. Finkel, Z., Beardall, J., Flynn, K., Quigg, A., Rees, T., Raven, J., & Flynn, K. Phytoplankton in a changing world: cell size and elemental stoichiometry. Journal of Plankton Research, 32(1), 119-137.
  36. Mitra, A. & Flynn, K. Modelling mixotrophy in harmful algal blooms: More or less the sum of the parts?. Journal of Marine Systems, 83(3-4), 158-169.
  37. Flynn, K., Raven, J., Rees, T., Finkel, Z., Quigg, A., & Beardall, J. Is the Growth Rate Hypothesis Applicable to Microalgae?. Journal of Phycology, 46(1), 1-12.
  38. Flynn, K. Do external resource ratios matter?: Implications for modelling eutrophication events and controlling harmful algal blooms. Journal of Marine Systems, 83(3-4), 170-180.
  39. Flynn, K., Irigoien, X., & Flynn, K. Aldehyde-induced insidious effects cannot be considered as a diatom defence mechanism against copepods. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 377, 79-89.
  40. Flynn, K. Food-density-dependent inefficiency in animals with a gut as a stabilizing mechanism in trophic dynamics. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276(1659), 1147-1152.
  41. Flynn, K., Mitra, A., Flynn, K., & Mitra, A. Building the "perfect beast": modelling mixotrophic plankton. Journal of Plankton Research, 31(9), 965-992.
  42. Raven, J., Beardall, J., Flynn, K., Maberly, S., & Flynn, K. Phagotrophy in the origins of photosynthesis in eukaryotes and as a complementary mode of nutrition in phototrophs: relation to Darwin's insectivorous plants. Journal of Experimental Botany, 60(14), 3975-3987.
  43. Mitra, A., Flynn, K., & Flynn, K. Importance of interactions between food quality, quantity, and gut transit time on consumer feeding, growth, and trophic dynamics. , 632-646.
  44. Flynn, K. Incorporating plankton respiration in models of aquatic ecosystem function. Incorporating plankton respiration in models of aquatic ecosystem function (pp. 248-266). Oxford University Press
  45. Flynn, K. & Flynn, K. ... and goodbye for now!. Journal of Plankton Research, 29(12), 1021-1021.
  46. Flynn, K. Corrigendum. New Phytologist, 169(4), 841-842.
  47. Kruskopf, M. & Flynn, K. Chlorophyll content and fluorescence responses cannot be used to gauge reliably phytoplankton biomass, nutrient status or growth rate. , 525-536.
  48. Fasham, M., Flynn, K., Pondaven, P., Anderson, T., Boyd, P., & Flynn, K. Development of a robust marine ecosystem model to predict the role of iron in biogeochemical cycles: A comparison of results for iron-replete and iron-limited areas, and the SOIREE iron-enrichment experiment. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 53(2), 333-366.
  49. Flynn, K. Reply to Horizons Article ‘Plankton functional type modelling: running before we can walk’ Anderson (2005): II. Putting trophic functionality into plankton functional types. Journal of Plankton Research, 28(9), 873-875.
  50. Flynn, K. & Flynn, K. Castles built on sand: dysfunctionality in plankton models and the inadequacy of dialogue between biologists and modellers. Journal of Plankton Research, 27(12), 1205-1210.

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  • Macroalgae as Biomass (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Darren Oatley-Radcliffe
  • Microbial methane production in oxic water (awarded 2020)

    Other supervisor: Prof Kam Tang
  • Accounting for mixotrophy in marine microbial food webs (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Dr Aditee Mitra