Heather Spalding

Dr. Heather L. Spalding

Associate Professor of Marine Biology


Ph.D. in Botany with specialization in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology: University of Hawai´i at Mānoa
M.S. in Marine Science: Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, San Francisco State University
B.S. in Marine Science: Southampton College, Long Island University

Research Interests

Macroalgae occur from the intertidal to the edge of the mesophotic.  This range of environmental conditions makes macroalgae a fascinating subject across gradients of light, temperature, nutrients, and human impact. My research focuses on the ecological and physiological interactions generating and maintaining the distribution, abundance, and biodiversity of marine macroalgae. My research determines how anthropogenic change (e.g. invasive species, increasing turbidity, and eutrophication) impacts native macroalgal assemblages and other benthic communities.


Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology, University of Hawai´i at Mānoa

Courses Taught

BIOL 102: Concepts and Applications in Biology
BIOL 112: Evolution, Form and Function of Organisms
BIOL 303: Phycology
BIOL 435/535: Marine Botany

Selected Publications

Alvarado EA, Cabrera FP, Paiano MO, Fumo JT, Spalding HL, Smith CM, Leonard JC, Lopes KH, Kosaki RK, Sherwood AR (2022) Unveiling mesophotic diversity in Hawai‘i: two new species in the genera Halopeltis and Leptofauchea (Rhodymeniales, Rhodophyta). Algae 37(4): 249-264. doi.org/10.4490/algae.2022.37.10.31

Fraiola K, Miura T, Martinez J, Lopes K, Amidon F, Torres-Pérez J, Spalding HL, Williams T**, So K, Sachs E, Kosaki R (2022) Using commercial high-resolution remote sensing to monitor a nuisance macroalga in the largest marine protected area in the U.S.A. Coral Reefs: 1-7. doi.org/10.1007/s00338-022-02336-6

Cabrera FP, Huisman JM, Spalding HL, Kosaki RK, Smith CM, and Sherwood AR (2022) Further studies on Hawaiian Kallymeniaceae (Rhodophyta) reveal pseudocryptic diversity in the genus Croisettea. Phycologia 61:572-583. doi.org/10.1080/00318884.2022.2096823

Paiano M, Fumo JT, Cabrera F, Kosaki R, Spalding HL, Sherwood A (2022) Calliblepharis yasutakei sp. nov. and Hypnea tsudae sp. nov. (Cystocloniaceae, Rhodophyta): novel diversity from the Hawaiian Islands. Phytotaxa 572:74-86. doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.572.1.5

Cabrera FP, Huisman JM, Spalding HL, Kosaki RK, Smith CM, and Sherwood AR (2022) Cryptic diversity in the genus Croisettea (Kallymeniaceae, Rhodophyta) from Hawaiian mesophotic reefs, Phycologia. doi.org/10.1080/00318884.2022.2096823

Sherwood A, Cabrera F, G’Voni K, Fumo JT, Spalding HL, Kosaki R, Wagner D, Paiano M. (2022) A new species of Gibsmithia (Dumontiaceae, Rhodophyta) from mesophotic depths of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Hawai‘i, USA. Phycologia 61:558-569.  doi.org/10.1080/00318884.2022.2093540

Strait N**, Williams TM**, Sherwood AR, Kosaki RK, Giuseffi L, Smith CM, Spalding HL (2022) Nitrogen stable isotopes (δ15N) and tissue nitrogen in shallow-water and mesophotic macroalgae differ between the Main Hawaiian Islands and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Limnology and Oceanography 67: 1211-1226. doi.org/10.1002/lno.12068 

Cabrera FP, Huisman JM, Spalding HL, Kosaki RK, Sherwood AR (2022) Diversity of Kallymeniaceae (Gigartinales, Rhodophyta) associated with Hawaiian mesophotic reefs. European Journal of Phycology 57: 68-78. doi.org/10.1080/09670262.2021.1891462

Sherwood AR, Cabrera FP, Spalding HL, Alvarado EA, Smith CM, Hauk BB, Matadora S, Kosaki RK, Paiano MO (2021) Biodiversity of Hawaiian Peyssonneliales (Peyssonneliaceae, Rhodophyta): new species in the genera Incendia and Seiria. Phytotaxa 524(1):14-26. doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.524.1.2

Paiano MO, Kosaki RK, Williams T**, Spalding HL, Sherwood AR (2021) Complete chloroplast genome of Chondria tumulosa (Ceramiales, Rhodophyta), a recently described cryptogenic species with invasive traits from Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Hawaiʻi. Mitochondrial DNA Part B: Resources 6 (11): 3119-3121. doi.org/10.1080/23802359.2021.1984327

Kuba GM**, Spalding HL, Hill-Spanik KM, Fullerton H. (2021) Microbiota-macroalgal relationships in a Hawaiian intertidal bench are influenced by macroalgal phyla and associated thallus morphological complexity. mSphere 6(5): e00665-21. doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00665-21

Honors & Awards

2024 Invited Plenary Speaker, Northeast Algal Symposium, Salve Regina University
2023 Invited Speaker, Student Careers Session, Phycological Society of America Conf.
2023 Gordon E. Jones Distinguished Achievement Award, CofC
2018 Invited Speaker, Gordon Research Conference, Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems
2017 Invitee, National Academy of Sciences Indonesian-American Kavli Frontiers in Sci. Symp.
2017 Finalist, Hilda-Canter Lund Annual Photography Award, British Phycological Society
2010 Provasoli Award, Outstanding paper in the Journal of Phycology