Welcome to

 Mark's Lab
 Marine ecotoxicological biomarkers for a cleaner, healthier ocean environment




19 November 2015: Dr Majed Al-Shaeri (top) and Dr Hassien Alnashiri (bottom) graduated today at the
Edinburgh graduation ceremony. They completed and suiccessfully defended theses on the ecotoxicology
of engineered carbon nanotubes and Copper Oxide nano- and microparticles, repsectively. Papers are still
coming out and can be accessed under publications.


CREW report

10 November: Our CREW funded review on the existing knowlegde of Nanomaterials and Microplastics in Scottish waters is now available online


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02 November: PhD student Johanne Vad presenting her work at the 2nd NERC CDT Annual Confernce Title: Environmental Assessment of Deep-Water Sponge Fields in Relation to Oil and Gas Activity in the West of Shetland Area


29 October: Our latest paper has been accepted in Marine Pollution Bulletin:

Miller, M.A., Bankier, C., Al-Shaeri, M.A.M., Hartl, M.G.J., in press. Neutral Red cytotoxicity assays for assessing in vivo carbon nanotube ecotoxicity in mussels – comparing microscope and microplate methods. Mar Pollut Bull. 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.10.072.

It contains data generated by my PhD, MSc and Honours students and accordingly, they are all co-authors on this paper. I'm proud to be able to offer real research projects to my students and I believe it gives them that extra bit of encouragement to help them excel.




30 September: Dr Hassien Alnassri (below) and PhD student Naif Ashri (above) present their work on the ecotoxicology of Cu nanoparticles and Carbon Nanotubes, respectively, at the 5th MASTS Annual Science Meeting in Glasgow.



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8 September 2015: PhD student Naif Ashri presented our poster on the ecotoxicology of sediment- assoctaied carbon nanotubes at the the 10th ICEENN, Vienna 6-10 September, 2015. Download poster here




8 September 2015: Dr Ana Catarino chaired the microplastics session at the 11th Bienniel SETAC Latin America meeting in Buernos Aires, 7-10 September. She presented our paper "Microplastics pollution in Scotland, a case study: quantification and characterisation of particles in coastal waters" 


Virginia graduation-s

26 June 2015: Great day at Graduation today. Dr Virginia Echavarri Bravo graduated today and now has a Post Doctoral fellowship with Dr Louise Horsefall at University of Edinburgh.

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Also Shea Connell (supervised by Dr Liz Dyrynda and yours truely) graduated with 1st class Honours degree in Applied Marine Biology. He was also awarded the Dr Maia Strachan award for best dissertation and the Prof Martin Wilkinson award for the highest overall class mark.


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16 June: Dr Hassien Alnashiri successfully defended his PhD thesis on the comparative ecotoxicology of different forms of CuO, nano- and microparticles and ionic forms. External examiner: Prof Juliano Blasco, Cadiz University, Spain. Supervisors: Prof Teresa Fernandes and Dr Mark Hartl.                                                                  


15 June: Dr Echavarri Bravo has left my lab to commence a Post Doctoral Fellowship at University of Edinburgh under the direction of Dr Liouse Horsfall. She will be missed and we wish her all the best for the future.


15 May

PhD student Clara Mackenzie announced as runner up at the Marine Foundation Awards for her project on the vulnerability of Modiolus modiolus reefs to climate change


3-7 May



Heriot-Watt contigent at SETAC 2015, representing CMBB and Nano Safety Group.

Mark SETACss

Dr Hartl presenting our Microplastics poster at SETAC2015 - lots of interest registered, suggesting that microplastics in the environment is still a red hot topic. Download our microplastics poster here
Mark  Zuzanna SETAC

L: PhD student Zuzanna Gadja-Meissner presenting her work on acute and chronic toxicity of 
functionalized TiO2 nanoparticles. R: Dr Hartl presenting the work by PhD student Hassien 
Alnashiri on the toxicity of nano- and microsized CuO, and CuSO4


25 Feb

EnvPoll Paper accepted Echavarri-Bravo, V., Paterson, L., Aspray, T. J., Porter, J. S., Winson, M. K., Thornton, B. & Hartl, M. G. J. (2015). Shifts in the metabolic function of a benthic estuarine microbial community following a single pulse of silver nanoparticle exposure. Environ Pollut 201: 91-99.


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17 December: Congratulations to Dr Virginia Echavarri Bravo successfully defends her PhD thesis on the ecotoxicology of silver nanopatricles  on microbial community function in estuarine sediments.
16 October: PhD student Clara MacKenzie secures £3,000 from the MASTS Coastal Zone Forum in support of her work on Vulnerability of M. modiolus biogenic reefs to climate change: a population-based approach for effective marine management.
19 September: Blažka Smiljanic, MSc graduate Marine Biodiversity & Biotechnology (2013) presented our work at the 4th Colloquim of Genetics, 19 September, 2014 in Piran, Slovenia. The work was conducted in collaboration between Dr Hartl and Dr Andreja Ramsak of the National Institute of Biology, Marine Biology Station, Piran. The title of Blažka's talk was "Comparitive stress response of two mussel species (M.edulis and M.galloprovincialis) in response to temperature change" and discusses the effect of climate change on the use of biomarkers used in ecotoxicology. Download abstract book here.
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10 September: Congratulations to Dr Majed Al-Shaeri for successfully defending his PhD thesis. His external examiner was Dr Brian Quinn (UWS).
September 2014: The first SLS-CMBB PhD project from the Oil and Gas Collaborative Doctoral Training Centre led by Heriot-Watt has commenced with the appointment of PhD student Johanne Vad under the supervision of Professor Murray Roberts and in collaboration with Drs Tony Gutierrez, Mark Hartl, Leanne Henry and Theodore Henry. The aim is to assess the potential impact of the in situ use of dispersants on deep-sea sponges in case of a well leak during West of Shetland oil production.
PhD student Hassein Alnashiri, supervised by Prof Teresa Fernandes and Dr Mark Hartl, presenting his research on cooper oxide micro- and nanoparticles.
PhD student Majed Al-Shaeri (left), supervised by Dr Mark Hartl, presenting his research on carbon nanotube interactions with marine microalgae. Intern Chris McCabe, supervised by Drs Theodore Henry and Mark Hartl, presenting his workon the optimization of the Comet assay for zebrafish larvae.
PhD student Clara MacKenzie, supervised by Drs Bill Sanderson, Joanne Porter and Mark Hartl, presenting her work on the impact of climate change on Modiolus biogenic reefs.
Dr Mark Hartl presenting his research on microplastic contamination in sediments of the Firth of Forth - with thanks to MSc students Shanna Paterson and Neil Mearns.

International Congress on the Biology of Fish 3-7 August, 2014 The 11th International Congress on the Biology of Fish, the biannual meeting of the Physiology Section of the American Fisheries Society, was held at Heriot-Watt University on 3-7 August 2014, and hosted by Dr Mark Hartl, Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences. The ICBF has become the world's foremost gathering of fish physiologists, covering topics as diverse as the physiology of fish aquaculture (nutrition, parasites and disease), swimming and migratory physiology, ecological physiology, environmental stress and toxicology, in both fresh and seawater environments. Over 450 delegates from 44 countries attended the congress, many of whom leaders in their respective specialisms of fish physiology, delivering over 350 oral presentations in 27 symposia, and presenting over 190 posters. 
The feedback from delegates has been tremendous: 
"This was a world-class meeting!" Sebastien Plante, Canada  "It is this type of meetings which are the  motivation highlights in our job." Helmut Segner, Switzerland                                            

Dr Hartl giving the welcome address at the plenary session of the ICBF2014.
ICBF2014 Plenary Session all set to go.
Dr Hartl addressing the delegates at the welcome reception (left); Chris McCabe, supervised by Drs Hartl, Henry and Theodorakis discusses our work on DNA damage and repair in zebrafish larvea at one of the two poster sessions.
Dr Hartl is inducted into the Congressional Legion of Honour for his services to the AFS Physiology  Section's International Congress on the Biology of Fish.
Dr Hartl receives a standing ovation at the closing ceremony of the ICBF2014.
All this would not have been possible without the help of very enthusiastic students - Thanks!!
May 2014: Representatives of the Heriot-Watt Environmental Nanosafety group attended SETAC2014 in Basel, Switzerland. Top: Group photo at SETAC Square; Middle: Dr Hartl's PhD students, Hassein Alnashiri and Majed Al-Shaeri busy discussing their respective posters with interested delegates; Bottom: Hassein Alnashiri, supervised by Prof Fernandes and Dr Hartl, presenting his work in session NANO06: Mechanistic toxicity of engineered nanomaterials.
February 2014: Alumnus news: Dr Omar Alharbi, PhD in my lab from 2009-2012, is now the Saudi Government Representative for environmentally sustainable development at the UN.
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January 2014: Paper accepted in PFT: Stone, V., Pozzi-Mucelli, S., Tran, L., Aschberger, K., Sabella, S., Vogel, U. B., Poland, C., Balharry, D., Fernandes, T., Gottardo, S., Hankin, S., Hartl, M. G. J., Hartmann, N., Hristozov, D., Hund-Rinke, K., Johnston, H., Marcomini, A., Panzer, O., Roncato, D., Saber, A. T., Wallin, H. & Scott-Fordsmand, J. J. (in press). ITS-NANO - Prioritising nanosafety research to develop a stakeholder driven intelligent testing strategy Part Fibre Toxicol.














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MSc programmes in Marine, Environment and Climate Change




ICBF2021: 14th International Congress on the Biology of Fish, 06 July - 09 July 2021, 2021, Montepelier, France. More.....