Dr Michael Collins

Dr Michael Collins

Teaching and Research Associate (TARA) (Marine Biology)

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)



I am a marine ecophysiologist interested in how aquatic ectotherms function under natural and anthropogenic environmental change. In particular, I am interested in how organisms deal with the challenge of multiple interacting stressors and apply a multidisciplinary approach combining genomics, biochemistry and physiology to address this question. I am currently a Lecturer in Marine Biology where I teach across all stages of the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. I previously completed a PhD in Marine Sciences at the University of Plymouth investigating integrated response of marine invertebrates to climate-driven hypoxia.


2020. PhD in Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth

2014. BSc(Hons) Marine Biology, University of Plymouth

Professional membership

2021. Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy



Teaching interests


  • Marine Molecular Biology (module leader)
  • Ecophysiology of Marine Animals (module leader)
  • Conservation Physiology



Research interests

I am a marine biologist interested in the ecophysiology of aquatic ectotherms. I aim to integrate responses at different levels of organisation, combining whole organism physiology with -omics approaches, in order to better understand how organisms deal with environmental change. I am particularly interested in how aquatic organisms deal with the challenge of multiple stressors resulting from climate change, such as the combination of rising temperature and hypoxia. 

Google Scholar profile

Current PhD students:

  • Ahmed Abbas "The challenge of securing future food production for aquaculture species: maternal, developmental and adaptational responses to multistressors"

Other research

I have supervised a range of undergraduate and masters students. Examples of project supervision include the following topics:

  • Physiological responses of intertidal organisms to multiple abiotic stressors
  • Transcriptomic mechanisms of development
  • Physiological and biochemical responses to pollutants (e.g. microplastics, metals)
  • Behavioural responses to environmental change

Grants & contracts

2023. Pilot Project Grant (ECR). NERC Environmental Omics Facility, PI

2021. Pump Priming Research Grant, University of Plymouth. Co-PI

2017. Company of Biologists travel grant

2015. Primerdesign Gold sponsorship




  • Collins, M, Clark, MS and Truebano, M 2023 'The environmental cellular stress response: the intertidal as a multistressor model', Cell Stress and Chaperones, DOI:10.1007/s12192-023-01348-7
  • Collins, M, Truebano, M and Spicer, JI 2022 'Consequences of thermal plasticity for hypoxic performance in coastal amphipods', Marine Environmental Research, 177, 105624 DOI:10.1016/j.marenvres.2022.105624
  • McAndry, C, Collins, M, Tills, O, Truebano, M and Spicer, JI 2022 'Regulation of gene expression during ontogeny of physiological function in the brackishwater amphipod Gammarus chevreuxi', Marine Genomics, 177, 105624 DOI:10.1016/j.margen.2022.100948
  • Collins, M, Peck, L and Clark, MS 2021 'Large within, and between, differences in marine cellular responses, Unpredicatability in a changing environment', Science of the Total Environment, 794, 148594 DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.148594
  • Collins M, Truebano M, Verberk WCEP & Spicer JI 2021 'Do aquatic ectotherms perform better under hypoxia following warm acclimation?' Journal of Experimental Biology, 224, jeb232512 DOI:10.1242/jeb.232512

  • Collins M, Clark MS, Spicer JI & Truebano M 2021 'Transcriptional frontloading contributes to cross‐tolerance between stressors' Evolutionary Applications, 14, 577-587 DOI:10.1111/eva.13142
  • Collins M, Tills O, Turner LM, Clark MS, Spicer JI & Truebano M 2019 'Moderate reductions in dissolved oxygen may compromise performance in an ecologically-important estuarine invertebrate' Science of the Total Environment, 693, 133444 DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.07.250
  • Truebano M, Tills O, Collins M, Clarke C, Shipsides E, Wheatley C & Spicer JI 2018 'Short-term acclimation in adults does not predict offspring acclimation potential to hypoxia' Scientific Reports 8, 3174 DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-21490-y 
  • Collins M, Tills O, Spicer JI & Truebano M 2017 'De novo transcriptome assembly of the amphipod Gammarus chevreuxi exposed to chronic hypoxia' Marine Genomics, 33, 17-19 DOI:10.1016/j.margen.2017.01.006