Dr Linda Armbrecht is an ARC DECRA Fellow (DE210100929) at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), University of Tasmania. Her research focuses on the reconstruction of marine ecosystems with an emphasis on the Antarctic environment, where research into resilience and sustainability is critical due to climate change. Linda specialises in paleo-genomics techniques, in particular, the analysis of ancient DNA from the seafloor (sedaDNA). These novel approaches allow her to track complex species-level and ecosystem-wide changes over thousands of years, knowledge that can be directly applied to predicting future changes and management of marine ecosystems, fisheries, and keystone species
Before joining IMAS, Linda was a Research Fellow and ARC Research Associate at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide. Here, she investigated past Scotia Sea biodiversity using ancient DNA from sediments collected during International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 382 ‘Iceberg Alley and Subantarctic Ice and Ocean Dynamics’, and harmful algal bloom dynamics off Tasmania spanning the last 9,000 years (DP170102261 ‘Improved management of coastal plankton systems by ancient DNA technology’, lead CI Prof. G. Hallegraeff). Prior to this (2018), she held a prestigious Australian Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to develop sea-ice proxies using marine genomics and transcriptomics with Prof. Chris Bowler at the Institut de Biologie de l'Ecole Normale Superieure (IBENS), Paris, France.
Linda completed a BSc (‘Biology of Organisms’) and MSc (‘Marine Biology’) at the Universities of Osnabrück and Bremen, respectively, in collaboration with the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Germany. Holding an international Macquarie University Excellence Research Scholarship (iMQRES), she undertook a PhD in Biological Sciences (Phytoplankton Biology/Biological Oceanography) in Sydney, Australia.
Linda is currently the Vice Chair of the Australian and New Zealand IODP Consortium (ANZIC) Science Committee, a steering committee member of the PAGES Working Group ‘PaleoEcoGen’, and an advisory board member of the international sedaDNA Society.
PhD Phytoplankton Biology/Biological Oceanography
Phytoplankton and oceanography of the Coffs Harbour region, Eastern Australia
MSc Marine Biology
Effects of nutrient limitation (N, P, Si) of the giant diatom Coscinodiscus wailesii on mucilage and Transparent Exopolymer Particle (TEP) production
University of Bremen
BSc Biology of Organisms
Spartina-invasion of a sandy shore: Sediment accretion and differential effects on associated macrobenthos
University of Osnabrück
Languages (other than English)
- Vice-Chair, Australian and New Zealand International Ocean Discovery Program Consortium (ANZIC) Science Committee
- Steering committee member, PAGES Working Group ‘PaleoEcoGen’
- Advisory board member, international sedaDNA Society
Member, Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA)
Macquarie University Marine Research Centre (MQMarine) Coordinator & Administrator, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia (0.3 FTE, 2015-2017). Responsibilities: planning, reporting, finance, media management, workshops, outreach, stakeholder management.
Paleogenetics, ancient DNA, environmental DNA, marine science, Antarctic science, marine biology, phytoplankton biology, climate change, bioinformatics
Linda has been a guest lecturer in Marine Science and Earth Science units. She has also assisted with tutoring during practicals in marine biology, ecology, evolution, biodiversity, genetics, and zoology subjects.
- Adjunct Fellow, Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD), The University of Adelaide
- Vice-Chair, Australian and New Zealand International Ocean Discovery Program Consortium (ANZIC) Science Committee
- External reviewer (e.g., Nature Ecology and Evolution, Frontiers in Earth Sciences, Polar Biology, Journal of Sea Research, Progress in Oceanography, Marine Micropaleontology)
- Member of Follow-up committee to the Belgian HabitAnt (Past and future habitability in Antarctic lakes) project (CI’s Elie Verleyen Annick Wilmotte, University of Liège)
- Invited plenary session speaker, International Conference on Palaeoceanography (ICP13), Sydney, 2019, ‘Reconstructing past marine life using ancient DNA’
- Invited speaker, Sprigg Geobiology Centre, The University of Adelaide, 2019 ‘Using ancient DNA from the seafloor to reconstruct past marine life’
- Invited on-board scientist, IODP Expedition 382 ‘Iceberg Alley and Subantarctic Ice and Ocean Dynamics’, RV Joides Resolution, Scotia Sea, Antarctica, March - May 2019
- Invited on-board scientist, IN2017_V01 ‘Sabrina Seafloor Survey’, RV Investigator, Totten Glacier region, East Antarctica, January - March 2017
- Sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA)
- Biological Oceanography
- Phytoplankton biology and ecology
- Marine Biology
- Antarctic and Southern Ocean research
- Climate change
- Field-work, sediment coring and sampling
Linda’s research aligns to the University’s research theme of Marine, Antarctic and Maritime and Environment, Resources and Sustainability. Her research revolves around improving our understanding of marine organisms, from the smallest plankton to fish and their predators, their interplay, and their evolution in concert with changing environmental conditions. Linda is particularly passionate about the Antarctic environment, where research into resilience and sustainability is critical due to climate change.
The key to pursuing this research is the use of state-of-the-art molecular genetic techniques, including the newest tools for the analysis of ancient DNA from the seafloor. These novel approaches allow her to track complex species-level and ecosystem-wide changes both in a modern context and over tens of thousands of years, knowledge that can be directly applied to predicting future changes and management of marine ecosystems, fisheries, and keystone species.
Currently, Linda applies novel ancient DNA techniques to reconstruct East and West Antarctic ecosystems. Her pioneering work on the optimisation of field, lab and bioinformatic tools allow her to detect the miniscule amounts of genetic material preserved in the seafloor, which has significant implications:
1. the investigation of paleo-records can be extended beyond fossilising species - including a broad range of important eukaryotic plankton organisms - from only a few grams of seafloor sediments – this allows novel correlations between marine biological records and major global warming events, providing the biological equivalent to atmospheric climate records
2. we can now target keystone organisms – commercially important, toxic and/or other important members of the marine food web can be targeted via hybridisation-capture techniques (‘RNA baits’) and the resulting data bioinformatically authenticated.
Support and Partners
Linda’s research is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA21) DE210100929.
Additional support has previously been provided by the ARC (DP170100557), the CSIRO Marine National Facility (MNF IN2017_V01) and the Australian Government’s Australian Antarctic Science Grant Program (AAS #4333) for participation in the 2017 RV Investigator Sabrina Seafloor Survey (Chief Scientist L. Armand), as well as by the Australian and New Zealand IODP Consortium (ANZIC) for participation in IODP Exp. 382 (Co-chief Scientists M. Weber, M. Raymo, V. Peck, Staff Scientist T. Williams) and via ANZIC Post Cruise Analytical Funding (PCAF0120). Pilot studies were supported by an Australian Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (PDR6834_2018), and 2016 ANZIC Special Analytical Funding (CI’s L. Armand, S. George, M. Ostrowski, L. Armbrecht).
Having completed her academic degrees, postdoctoral appointments and training programs at universities and research institutes across the globe (Germany, Australia, France, Hawaii, Japan, Antarctica), Linda has a wide professional network. Currently, she collaborates with researchers at 18 institutions in 7 countries, including Australia, Germany, Norway, France, Belgium, USA, and Japan.
- Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) South Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Award, 2021
- Edith Dornwell Medal for Early Career Research Excellence, Faculty of Sciences Research Awards, The University of Adelaide, 2020
- Antarctica Service Medal of the USA, National Science Foundation, Arlington, 2017
- Using ancient DNA to uncover climate change impacts on Antarctica, Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DE210100929), 2021 – 2024
- Subantarctic marine sedimentary ancient DNA: the influence of environmental variables on preservation and degradation (IODP Expedition 382), Australian and New Zealand International Ocean Discovery Program Consortium (ANZIC), Post-Cruise Funding 2019 - 2021
Fields of Research
- Genomics (310509)
- Phycology (incl. marine grasses) (310801)
- Palaeoecology (310306)
- Biological oceanography (370801)
- Palaeontology (incl. palynology) (370506)
- Organic geochemistry (370304)
- Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) (310305)
- Physical geography and environmental geoscience (370999)
- Microbial genetics (310704)
- Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation (410102)
- Genetics (310599)
- Marine biodiversity (180504)
- Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts) (190503)
- Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments (180404)
- Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems (180201)
- Fisheries - aquaculture (100299)
- Other plant production and plant primary products (269999)
- Antarctic and Southern Ocean ice dynamics (180401)
- Coastal and estuarine systems and management (180299)
- Ecosystem adaptation to climate change (190102)
- Aquaculture oysters (100204)
Linda has published over 25 works; including journal articles expedition and workshop reports, and data contributions promoting public accessibility. Her h-index is 9 with >250 citations, and her publication record spans across top-ranked journals in their respective discipline categories. Linda is the sole author of an invited review on ancient DNA applications to paleoceanography (Oceanography, 2020). Her publications from 2019 onwards in particular describe the sequence of extensive optimisation efforts she has led to establish and implement new standards for the analysis of ancient DNA from the seafloor, across field-work, laboratory and bioinformatic techniques.
Journal Article(10 outputs)
|2021||Armbrecht L, Hallegraeff G, Bolch CJS, Woodward C, Cooper A, 'Hybridisation capture allows DNA damage analysis of ancient marine eukaryotes', Scientific Reports, 11 Article 3220. ISSN 2045-2322 (2021) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors: Hallegraeff G; Bolch CJS
|2020||Armbrecht L, Herrando-Perez S, Eisenhofer R, Hallegraeff GM, Bolch CJS, et al., 'An optimized method for the extraction of ancient eukaryote DNA from marine sediments', Molecular Ecology Resources, 20, (4) pp. 906-919. ISSN 1755-098X (2020) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 4
Co-authors: Hallegraeff GM; Bolch CJS
|2020||Armbrecht LH, 'The potential of sedimentary ancient DNA to reconstruct past ocean ecosystems', Oceanography, 33, (2) pp. 116-123. ISSN 1042-8275 (2020) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
|2019||Armbrecht LH, Coolen MJL, Lejzerowicz F, George SC, Negandhi K, et al., 'Ancient DNA from marine sediments: precautions and considerations for seafloor coring, sample handling and data generation', Earth Science Reviews, 196 Article 102887. ISSN 0012-8252 (2019) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 18Web of Science - 18
|2019||Rontani J-F, Smik L, Belt ST, Vaultier F, Armbrecht L, et al., 'Abiotic degradation of highly branched isoprenoid alkenes and other lipids in the water column off East Antarctica', Marine Chemistry, 210 pp. 34-47. ISSN 0304-4203 (2019) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 6
|2018||Armbrecht LH, Lowe V, Escutia C, Iwai M, McKay R, et al., 'Variability in diatom and silicoflagellate assemblages during mid-Pliocene glacial-interglacial cycles determined in Hole U1361A of IODP Expedition 318, Antarctic Wilkes Land Margin', Marine Micropaleontology, 139 pp. 28-41. ISSN 0377-8398 (2018) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
|2018||Davies CH, Ajani P, Armbrecht L, Atkins N, Baird ME, et al., 'A database of chlorophyll a in Australian waters', Scientific Data, 5 Article 180018. ISSN 2052-4463 (2018) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 4
Co-authors: Atkins N; Beard J; Crawford C; Eriksen R; Hoenner X; Proctor R; Swadling KM; Wright S
|2017||Armbrecht LH, Eriksen R, Leventer A, Armand LK, 'First observations of living sea-ice diatom agglomeration to tintinnid loricae in East Antarctica', Journal of Plankton Research, 39, (5) pp. 795-802. ISSN 0142-7873 (2017) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 6
Co-authors: Eriksen R
|2016||Davies CH, Coughlan A, Hallegraeff G, Ajani P, Armbrecht L, et al., 'A database of marine phytoplankton abundance, biomass and species composition in Australian waters', Scientific Data, 3 Article 160043. ISSN 2052-4463 (2016) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 23Web of Science - 23
Co-authors: Hallegraeff G; Atkins N; Davies D; Eriksen R; Proctor R; Swadling KM; Tattersall K; Trull TW
|2015||Armbrecht LH, Thompson PA, Wright SW, Schaeffer A, Roughan M, et al., 'Comparison of the cross-shelf phytoplankton distribution of two oceanographically distinct regions off Australia', Journal of Marine Systems, 148 pp. 26-38. ISSN 0924-7963 (2015) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 12
Co-authors: Wright SW
Conference Publication(1 outputs)
|2020||Armbrecht L, Hallegraeff G, Bolch C, Armand L, O'Brien P, et al., 'Reconstructing past Antarctic ecosystems using ancient DNA', Abstract book from the SCAR 2020 Antarctic Science - Global Connections Conference, Australia, pp. 628. ISBN 9780948277597 (2020) [Plenary Presentation]|
Co-authors: Hallegraeff G; Bolch C
Other Public Output(1 outputs)
|2018||Armand LK, O'Brien PE, Armbrecht L, Barker H, Caburlotto A, et al., 'Interactions of the Totten Glacier with the Southern Ocean through multiple glacial cycles (IN2017-V01): Post-survey report', Research School of Earth Sciences, College of Science, ANU, Canberra (2018) [Report Other]|
Co-authors: Lieser JL; Martin T; Noble T; Opdyke B; Thost D
Grants & Funding
To date, Linda has attracted more than 25 research grants with a cumulative value of over AUD$1.3M (cash and in-kind). This includes a 2018 Australian Government Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in marine genomics undertaken in France, direct research grants, fully sponsored participation in international training programs and three Antarctic expeditions (IN2017_V01, IODP Exp. 382), several conference travel and research scholarships, and most recently, an ARC DECRA 2021 Award.
Number of grants
- Transfer of successful DECRA Fellowship, led by Dr Linda Armbrecht, from University of Adelaide to University of Tasmania. Fellowship to be undertaken at IMAS, from ~ August 2021 August 2024This project aims to utilise ancient DNA preserved in the seafloor to investigate how past Antarctic marine ecosystems have responded to past climatic changes, with a focus on the Holocene (last ~11,700 years). The study will generate the first-ever picture of marine community changes across the entire marine food web and unravel adaptation mechanisms of key marine organisms to climate shifts. Expected project outcomes will include significant knowledge advances into the evolution and resilience of Antarctic ecosystems over geological timescales. This will position Australia at the forefront of marine sedimentary ancient DNA research, and also provide valuable guidance for the conservation of Antarctica during ongoing climate change.
- Australian Research Council ($462,948)
- Fellowship-Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
- Administered By
- University of Tasmania
- Research Team
- Armbrecht L
- 2021 - 2023
- Grant Reference
Linda is actively involved in supervising HDR students, and is currently contributing to the supervision of 1 PhD, 1 MPhil and 1 Honours student. Her students’ projects encompass various aspects of ancient genetics, including investigations into Antarctic phytoplankton, zooplankton, and climate history. Previously, Linda has supervised >10 short-term undergraduate research projects and international student exchange research projects (since 2011).
Study opportunities on all levels (Internships, Honours, Masters, PhD) are available with regard to the reconstruction of Antarctic phytoplankton communities and their responses to variations in climate. This research is highly interdisciplinary, spanning across marine science, biological/paleoceanography, and paleogenetics, and a good understanding in at least one of these disciplines is required. Study activities include, for example, marine field-work (topic-dependent), laboratory tasks, bioinformatics and data analysis. If you are interested to commence a degree or conduct an internship in this research area please contact email@example.com, outlining your motivation and relevant research experience, including your CV, and, if applicable, your current transcript.