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Dr Joanne Preston

Principal Lecturer

Joanne Preston


I studied Biology at Sussex University (1993-1996) followed by an MSc in Marine Resource Development and Protection at the Orkney based International Centre for Island Technology of Heriot-Watt University (1997-1998).  During my MSc I worked at the Malaysian fisheries department researching the biodiversity of sponges in the Marine Park Pulau Payar. After a brief spell as an environmental consultant for Emu Environmental Ltd (now Fugro ltd) I was awarded a NERC funded PhD at the University of Southampton on the evolutionary history of the gastropod Topshell genus Osilinus (now Phorcus, Donald et al. 2012) in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean. I went on to a post-doctoral research position at the Marine Biological Association of the UK working on a European project investigating anthropogenic impacts on European Genetic Marine Biodiversity (EUMAR) 2002-2005.  After a career break to have children I returned science as a Research Fellow at the University of Portsmouth on a molecular and microbial ecology research project to investigate microbial activity concerned with sulfur and iron cycling in timbers of the Mary Rose under different states of preservation (2010-2012).  After another short career break I returned to a part-time lecturer position in Marine Biology in 2014, and became principal lecturer and Marine Biology BSc Course leader in 2016.

Research Interests

I am a marine biologist with research interests in the ecology and evolution of benthic invertebrates and their microbial symbionts. The goal of my research is to further understand the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function, and relate this to evolutionary and environmental processes.  I am particularly interested in the ecological functions and services provided by filter-feeding invertebrates, and I use a range of molecular tools, from metagenomics to population genetics and phylogenetics, to help answer these research questions. 

  • Restoration of the native oyster in the Solent, UK and Europe
  • Ecology and evolution of the native oyster Ostrea edulis
  • Host-microbiome interactions
  • Genetic biodiversity of Porifera in the UK
  • Evolution of Trochids in the Mediterranean and NE Atlantic, and their relationship to Indo-Pacific species of the same taxonomic family.

I am an associate editor for the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Founder member of:

  • UK Native oyster restoration network
  • European Native Oyster Restoration Alliance 

Teaching Responsibilities

I am course leader for the BSc (Hons) Marine Biology degree. 

I am unit co-ordinator for:

  • Marine Organsism and Ecosystems U20015
  • Marine Ecology and Conservation U30000


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