Dr Kim Last

Co-lead investigator, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)

I am an ecologist interested in the effects of human activities on marine organisms with a particular focus on chronobiology (or how organisms tell the time?).

Over the last few years I have specialised in understanding the daily migrations of zooplankton which constitute one of the biggest daily migrations on the planet. These migrations are important for bringing carbon to the deep ocean floor, thereby buffering the effects of climate change. I apply chronobiological tools to visualise migration behaviours in different environments from fjord to open ocean and have been on many Arctic cruises, mostly during the Polar Night.

I am co-lead investigator of the CHASE project with Bettina Meyer.  I am also involved in two other Changing Arctic Ocean projects (Arctic PRIZE and DIAPOD). In the past I have been co-investigator (with Prof. Finlo Cottier) on the NERC-funded PanArchive project, which led to the publication of the first pan-Arctic assessment of zooplankton responses to moonlight. Recently I have become interested in the underlying molecular mechanisms of migration. Working in collaboration with Prof. Bettina Meyer’s group (at the Alfred Wegner Institute, Germany) and Prof. David Pond (SAMS), we have discovered that the circadian clock (much like our own) appears to be central to zooplankton vertical migrations.

Related Articles

  • Biological clocks keep ticking in the Arctic Ocean

    Marine biologists studying how climate change affects the Arctic found that despite permanent daylight during the Arctic summer internal biological clocks continue to provide the rhythm of life. Read more

    15 July 2020
  • Oban-based scientists in deep sea Arctic life study

    Scottish-based scientists have been involved in a study of how light adversely affects the behaviour of deep sea animals. Read more

    13 March 2020
  • As the Arctic warms, light pollution may pose a new threat to marine life

    Thanks to climate change, more humans are able to pass through the Arctic, and they\'re making the region\'s once black polar night brighter. Read more

    05 March 2020
  • Life in the slow lane: Polar plankton march to their own beat

    The world’s largest daily commute happens in our oceans, as fish and zooplankton – key components in the food web – travel up and down in the water column in response to the sun as it sets and rises. Read more

    19 December 2018
  • UK and Germany combine forces to fund crucial Arctic science

    For the first time, the UK and Germany have joined forces to investigate the impact of climate change on the Arctic Ocean. The UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) have jointly invested almost £8 million in 12 new projects to carry… Read more

    03 July 2018
  • The Scots scientists on a nightshift Arctic expedition

    \"An international group of researchers is setting off on a voyage to unlock the dark secrets of the Arctic.\" News item on BBC website by Ken Macdonald. Read more

    04 January 2018
  • Unexpected Life Found at the Bottom of High Arctic Lakes

    \"Warmer temperatures mean the Canadian High Arctic’s shallow lakes are no longer freezing to the bottom, allowing tiny creatures to thrive. Researchers predict these new conditions will be inhospitable to fish and will produce more greenhouse gases.\" Read more

    01 August 2017