School of Earth and Environmental Sciences


Photo of Dr Michelle Hale

Dr Michelle Hale

  • Qualifications: PhD
  • Role Title: Head of School
  • Address: School of Earth and Environmental Sciences University of Portsmouth Burnaby Building Burnaby Road Portsmouth PO1 3QL
  • Telephone: 023 92 842290
  • Email:
  • Department: Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Faculty: Science


I am a biological oceanographer interested in the role of microbial trophic pathways in regulating the cycling of carbon and other climatically important elements in the World Ocean. I completed my honours degree and PhD in Marine Science, looking at sea surface microlayer and neuston spreading dynamics, and the functional morphology of diatom frustule microstructures, respectively, under the supervision of Dr Jim Mitchell at Flinders University of South Australia. I have been at the University of Portsmouth since September 2006, before which I worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr Richard Rivkin at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

Teaching Responsibilities

I currently lecture and contribute to:

  • Level 1: Introduction to Oceanography (2GS138)
  • Level 1: Quantitative Methods (1GS134)
  • Level 1: Planet Earth (1GS141)
  • Level 2: Environmental Conservation (1GS251)
  • Level 2: Oceanography (BGS273) and Oceanography for Marine Biologists (1GS283)
  • Level 2: Scientific Techniques for Environmental Scientists (BGS257)
  • Level 3: Coastal Navigation (1GS356)
  • Level 3: Environmental Science Study Tour (Belize) (2GS359)
  • Level 3: Research Proprosal Preparation (1GS382)
  • Level X: Basic Diving Skills (2GS117)
  • Level X: Scientific and Technical Diving Skills (2GS274)


My main research interests include:

  • The role of microbial trophic pathways in regulating the cycling of biogenic carbon.
  • Regulation of growth and loss processes of marine bacteria in contrasting biogeochemical provinces.
  • Effects of grazing and nutrient limitation on microbial community structure.
  •  Importance of microbial diversity to ecosystem function in marine systems.

Current research projects:

The regulation of the growth of marine heterotrophic bacteria is ecologically and biogeochemically important to the cycling of energy and materials in the ocean. Working in collaboration with Dr. Richard Rivkin from Memorial University of Newfoundland, my research seeks to understand the spatial and seasonal variation in the processes determining microbial dynamics and community composition in different biogeochemical provinces.

I was involved in two field programs for the Canadian Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study (C-SOLAS) Research Network, for which data are currently being analysed and prepared for publication:

Subarctic Ecosystem Response to Iron Enrichment Study (SERIES) Iron Enrichment Experiment: Response of bacteria, picophytoplankton, nanophytoplankton, and microzooplankton to a mesoscale in situ iron enrichment experiment in the NE subarctic Pacific. Study of Air-Sea Biogeochemical Interactions in the Northwestern Atlantic (SABINA): Seasonal variations in microbial dynamics in different biogeochemical provinces in the NW Atlantic.

I participated in two Atlantic Meridional Transect Program expeditions (AMT16 & AMT17) on the RRS Discovery, for which data are currently being analysed and prepared for publication. For more information please see my research pages.


Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

View profile