Kelsey Archer Barnhill

Kelsey Archer Barnhill, BA, MScKelsey on Nautilus

PhD candidate, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh

I am a deep-sea ecologist researching impacts of multiple stressors on the cold-water coral, Lophelia pertusa. Currently, I also serve as the All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador for the United Kingdom.


My PhD research, Cold-water Coral Reef Growth and Loss in a Changing Ocean, focuses on climate-change induced impacts to deep sea reef ecosystems.  Through using laboratory mesocosms to run year-long experiments on live corals and coral skeletons, my work will allow scientists to better understand physiological and structural responses of Lophelia pertusa to ocean acidification, warming, and deoxygenation. These results will be combined with ROV footage analysis quantifying the ratio of alive to dead corals to create carbonate budget models to predict reef futures in projected ocean scenarios.

My research connects the work of iAtlantic to the Global Challenges Research Fund’s One Ocean Hub.

St Abbs Closeup

Key interests: deep sea ecology; cold-water corals; ocean exploration; multiple stressors in the deep; ocean acidification.


MSc, Ecology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, completed in June 2019. Thesis: Decadal Trends and Coral Acclimatization at Malauka’a Fringing Reef, Kāne‘ohe Bay, O’ahu 

BA, Geological Sciences, Minor in Marine SciencesUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, completed in December 2015.


Barnhill K.A., Roberts J.M., Myers-Smith, I., Williams, M., Dexter, K.G., Ryan, C., Wolfram, U., Hennige, S. (2022). Incorporating dead material in ecosystem assessments and projections. Nature Climate Change.

Barnhill K.A. (2022). The deep sea and me. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 1-7.

Barnhill K.A., Scott J., Clark H.P., Smith A.J. (2022). Human-bottlenose dolphin interactions within wildlife tourism, ocean recreation and fisheries. Coastal Studies and Society, 0(0), 1-16.

Vad J., Barnhill K.A., Kazanidis G., Roberts J.M. (2021). Human impacts on deep-sea sponge grounds: Applying environmental omics to monitoring. Advances in Marine Biology, 89, 53-78.

Barnhill K.A., Jogee N., Brown C., McGowan A., Rodgers K., Bryceson I., Bahr K. (2020). Acclimatization Drives Differences in Reef-Building Coral Calcification Rates. Diversity 12(9), 347.

Carvalho C.O., Barnhill K.A., Ascenso A.C., Dunck B., Teodoro G.S., Michelan T.S. (2020). Morphological and allometric variation due to percentage of cover in Eichhornia azurea (Swart) Kunth (Pontederiaceae). Brazilian Journal of Botany, 43, 389-395.

Barnhill K.A., & Bahr K.D. (2019). Coral Resilience at Malauka’a Fringing Reef, Kāneʻohe Bay, Oʻahu after 18 years. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering7(9), 311.

Cormier M., Bell K.L.C., Sharuga S.M., Castillo C., Conrad C., Amon D., Legg M., Brennan M.L., Barnhill K.A., Lovell L.L., Marranzino A., Klemperer S.L., Kane R. (2017). Exploration of the Southern California Borderland. New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration: The E/V Nautilus, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, and R/V Falkor 2016 Field Season.Oceanography30(1), supplement 40-41.  


  • Research AssistantUniversity of Oslo. Amplified eDNA from water and sediment samples using PCRs and gel electrophoresis.
  • Research AssistantUniversidade Federal do Pará, Brazil. Collected eDNA samples in Amazonian streams to quantify downstream distance target species could be detected. Extracted DNA from water and sediment samples in a molecular lab
  • Research Assistant. Hawai`i Institute of Marine Biology. Snorkeling and boat-based coral reef ecology fieldwork, sediment composition analysis, benthic surveys, and environmental parameter collection. Oversaw/mentored undergraduate and high school interns
  • Mapping Team Member. Ocean Exploration Trust. Sailed aboard the E/V Nautilus for one month mapping off the US Pacific coast. Stood 8-hour watches, acquiring and processing water column and sea floor data. Used QPS Qimera and Fledermaus to create maps of the sea floor. Provided educational outreach through live video interviews and social media posts
  • Research Assistant. South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. Identified, oversaw curation, and entered specimens into a database for the invertebrate fossil collection
  • Ocean Science Intern. Ocean Exploration Trust. Worked aboard E/V Nautilus standing watch for one month during mapping and ROV operations. Logged data, processed ROV samples, collected sub-bottom data, launched XBTs and provided educational outreach via live video feeds back to shore. 
  • Microfossil Intern. American Museum of Natural History. Microfossil collection rehousing, conservation and cataloging. Data entry and updating the online collection database, 3D imaging and 3D printing of Foraminifera CT scans 


  • iMirabilis2 Leg 1: Investigating Deep-Sea Ecosystems around Cabo Verde, R/V Sarmiento de Gamboa, Las Palmas to Las Palmas, Spain, August 2021 – Scientific ROV Team Member and On Board Outreach Liaison
  • iMirabilis2 Leg 0: Investigating Seafloor Spreading Features, R/V Sarmiento de Gamboa, Vigo to Las Palmas, Spain, July 2021 – Scientific ROV Trainee and On Board Outreach Liaison 
  • Seafloor Mapping the National Marine Sanctuaries Cruise, E/V Nautilus, Los Angeles, CA, USA to Victoria, Canada,  May 2017 – Mapping Team Member
  • Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Cruise, E/V Nautilus, Channel Islands, CA, USA, July 2016 – Ocean Sciences Intern
  • Southern California Margin Cruise, E/V Nautilus, Los Angeles to San Diego, CA, USA, July 2016 – Ocean Sciences Intern



  • Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society
  • International Coral Reef Society
  • The Geological Society
  • British Ecological Society
  • Deep-Sea Biology Society
  • Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology