Dr Johanne Vad




Current research interests

I am a marine biologist, working within the ATLAS European project (https://www.eu-atlas.org/). I am interested in understanding how key benthic organisms such as coral-water sponges and corals function and how human activities can impact the habitats they form. I use a wide range of techniques including seabed image analysis, RNA sequencing, gene expression and histology to determine the effects of oil and gas and fishing activities have at very different biological scales (from the habitat to the individual). Recently, my work is taken me towards the Arctic where we see an increase in human activities since the opening of the Northeast Passage. In all aspect of my research, I try to work in collaborations with relevant companies to close the gap between academia and industry.


After receiving a Bachelor in Biology in 2011, I obtained a Master in Ecology and Evolutionnary Biology in 2014 from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, and the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris (France). While completing my Master, I also studied towards the Ecole Normale Supérieure Diploma with a major in Environmental Sciences. I then carried out a PhD in Marine biology at Heriot-Watt University studying how oil and gas production affects cold-water sponges and the habitats they form in the North East Atlantic. As part of my PhD, I successfully completed the training required by the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Oil and Gas, during which I gained a better understanding of the oil and gas industry activities and requirements. Throughout my studies, I had the opportunity to conduct internships at a range of academic institutions including the Ocean Sciences Centre of the Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada), the Institute of Biology of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (France), the Oceanographic Centre of the Balearic Islands (Spain) and the IMAR Centre of the University of the Azores (Portugal). I have also had the chance to participate in a range of fieldtrips, research cruises and diving expeditions.

For further information, please see my ResearchGate profile.

Contact Information

Dr Johanne Vad

Grant Institute

The King’s Buildings

School of Geosciences

James Hutton Road, Edinburgh EH9 3FE

Email: johanne.vad[at]ed.ac.uk