Georgina Brennan (PhD candidate)

Georgina BrennanPhD Student

I am interested in how climate change will affect adaptation in natural populations.  I am particularly interested in phytoplankton communities which are key drivers of global change responsible for half the photosynthetic carbon uptake on the planet and play a key role in determining atmospheric levels of CO2.   

It is predicted under the framework of global change that many aspects of the ocean (as elsewhere) will change simultaneously and what I want to understand is how complexity in environmental stresses affects an organism’s ability to adapt. 

In order to understand the role of environmental complexity in adaptation I am using Chlamydomonas reihardtii as a model organism to systematically test how increasing the complexity of environmental change affects evolutionary dynamics and outcomes. 

My aim is to use experimental evolutionary biology methodologies to increase our understanding of evolutionary outcomes of global change. 


Brennan, G., Collins, S. (2015). Growth responses of a green alga to multiple environmental drivers. Nature Climate Change, 5, 892–897doi:10.1038/nclimate2682

Brennan, G., Kregting, L., Beatty, G. E., Cole, C., Elsäßer, B., Savidge, G., & Provan, J. (2014). Understanding macroalgal dispersal in a complex hydrodynamic environment: a combined population genetic and physical modelling approach. Journal of the Royal Society, Interface, 11(95), 20140197. doi:10.1098/rsif.2014.0197