Principal investigator

Professor Andrew K. Sweetman

PhD in Deep-Sea Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Germany (2008)
M.Phil in Fisheries Ecology, University of Bergen, Norway (2003)
BSc (Hons) in Oceanography and Marine Biology, University of Southampton, UK (2002)

Andrew K. Sweetman is the leader of the Deep-Sea Ecology and Biogeochemistry research group and a professor of deep-sea ecology at the Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK.  He holds a PhD in deep-sea ecology from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology (Germany), and has held research positions at various world-leading research institutions including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Florida State University, the University of Maine, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and the University of Bergen (Norway).

Andrew is an expert on seafloor biodiversity and ecology and has a strong focus on the impact of anthropogenic stressors on shallow and deep-sea benthic ecosystems.  Over the last 12 years, he has generated approximately 10 million GBP of research funding and led/ co-led a total of 27 research projects (funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [USA], the Norwegian Research Council, the European Union, the Malaysia Research Council, UK Seabed Resources LTD/Lockheed Martin, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation [USA], DeepGreen Metals Inc, Natural Environment Research Council [UK], Engineering and Physical Science Research Council [UK], Global Challenges Research Fund [UK]) on diverse topics including assessing the effects of i) invasive species (and their removal) on benthic biogeochemistry and ecosystem functioning, ii) aquaculture on deep-sea fjord ecosystems, iii) carbon dioxide release from carbon capture and storage (CCS) reservoirs on continental shelf ecosystems, iv) mine-tailings deposition, massive sulfide and polymetallic nodule mining on deep-sea ecosystems, v) global warming on polar ecosystems and vi) synergistic climate change stressors on shallow and deep-ocean systems.  He has also been leading projects to assess the importance of jellyfish blooms in the biological C-pump, and the effect of dead jellyfish (from jellyfish blooms), wood and kelp material on deep-sea benthic environments.

Research projects (since 2016).

  1. 2022-2025:  Cook Islands deep-sea assessment.  1,363,000GBP, CIC. PI: A.K.Sweetman
  2. 2020-2024: SMARTEX – Seabed Mining And Resilience To EXperimental impact. 208,000GBP, UKRI.  PI and Work Package leader: A.K. Sweetman
  3. 2020-2023 DEEP-GREEN – Exploring baseline ecosystem function in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean. 2,195,000GBP. PI: A.K. Sweetman
  4. 2019-2023 iAtlantic: Integrated Assessment of Atlantic Marine Ecosystems in Space and Time. 376,000GBP, EC H2020 programme. PI and Work Package leader: A.K. Sweetman
  5. 2019-2019: Devising solutions to aid coastal ecosystem sustainability – a case study on aquaculture impacts on mangrove systems in Vietnam. 30,000GBP, Heriot-Watt GCRF internal fund. PI: H.L. Burdett
  6. 2018-2019: NEXUSS CTD equipment grant. 35,000GBP, EPSRC. PI: A.K. Sweetman
  7. 2019-2024: One Ocean GCRF hub. 694,000GBP. UKRI. PI: A.K. Sweetman
  8. 2017-2018: Characterisation of biodiversity and quantification of the relative abundances of scavengers at the seafloor in the BGR polymetallic nodule area in the N. Pacific.   52,000GBP. Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR), Germany. PI: A.K. Sweetman
  9. 2017-2021: DEEPCCZ: Ecosystem-wide survey of biodiversity, connectivity and ecosystem function across the deep seafloor biome of the CCZ to help assess and manage the impacts of polymetallic nodule mining.  168,000GBP, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. PI and Work Package leader: A.K. Sweetman
  10. 2016-2020: MERCES: Marine Ecosystem Restoration in Changing European Seas. 254,000GBP. EC H2020 programme. PI and Work Package leader: A.K. Sweetman


Image credit. Richard Baron