Melody Clark

Professor Melody Clark


Melody Clark is a molecular biologist, leading the Adaptations group at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Melody’s research interests are in understanding how polar marine species have adapted to life in freezing seas and their responses to climate change.

Melody Clark

Melody Clark read Genetics at Queen Mary University of London, followed by a PhD in Genetics at Imperial College, London. She is the Project Leader for the Adaptations Group at the British Antarctic Survey. She is an Honorary Professor in the School of Biological and Marine Sciences, in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Plymouth and holds a Visiting Chair at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland, where she teaches on the Polar Seas Masters course. She also holds an Honorary Researcher position at CNR in Naples, Italy.

Melody has 30 years experience in comparative genomics. She started her molecular career working on the Fugu (Japanese pufferfish) genome project and in her subsequent move to BAS has played a major role in the development of cross-disciplinary studies into the Environmental Genomics of Antarctic organisms (ranging from microbes, through marine invertebrates to fish). Melody leads molecular investigations into Antarctic organisms’ adaptation to the cold and responses to environmental change with a strong emphasis on technology transfer from model species. She has also played a significant role in breaking the glass ceiling in Antarctic science (often thought of as dominated by bearded men in snowstorms). She was the first woman promoted to Individual Merit Promotion level (IMP3) within BAS and is one of only 21 women awarded the Polar Medal for her contribution to the Polar Sciences.

Recognitions & achievements

  • Awarded the Polar Medal (Arctic and Antarctic) January 2022
  • Senior award for Outstanding Women in Marine Biological Sciences, awarded by the EU-FP6 Network of Excellence, Marine Genomics Europe.

Melody’s research interests are in understanding how polar marine species have adapted to life in the cold and how this predicates their responses to climate change. She uses transcriptomic analyses to decipher Antarctic marine species' responses to changing environmental conditions and their environmental stress response, with a particular interest in heat shock proteins. Most recent research interests include how life history traits, and in particular epigenetics, impact Antarctic organisms’ responses to change and the use of gene network analyses to uncover the function of “unknown” genes. She is also interested in developing Antarctic fish cell culture as a resource to understand how proteins, organelles and cells function at 0°C. This involves the transfer of technologies from model organisms, including high-resolution microscopy and fluorescent labelling techniques in collaboration with the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. She is also working with the Department of Genetics and The Computer Laboratory to exploit Machine Learning techniques to analyse Antarctic fish genomes and proteins. Her most recent PhD studentship project involves investigating AMR (antimicrobial resistance) in Antarctica and identification of novel antimicrobials from Antarctic bacteria. Recently her team has also explored the potential consequences of ocean acidification with fundamental analyses of shell construction and shell variability in bivalve molluscs in the natural environment in both polar and temperate regions.

What's on

Two nature photographs, one of someone hiking and one of a hare.

Open Call: Wolf Words Poetry Anthology 2024

27/11/2023 at 09.00

We are excited to launch an open call for the second edition of our Wolf Words Poetry Anthology; this year our theme is Wild. 

WRE 2023 - an audience member asking a question

Writing an abstract workshop

30/11/2023 at 19.00

This workshop is organised to help students prepare to be part of the Wolfson Research Event 2024.


A photo of a pocket watch open for repair

A Duty to Repair?

01/12/2023 at 18.00

How can you introduce protection of the environment into consumer contract law when this is detrimental to the protection of the consumer?

Artwork of white tree with an orange sky in the background by Tim Head.

Art Exhibition: 'How It Is'

02/12/2023 at 10.00

Visit Wolfson's latest exhibition 'How It Is' featuring work by the influential British artist Tim Head.

Hand holding a lightbulb in front of the sky

Entrepreneurship Workshop for Students

02/12/2023 at 13.00

An interactive session during which students can gain insight into the sphere of entrepreneurship.