Dan van Hees , PhD

Senior Instructor/ Academic Advisor · he/him


A few facts about my academic life so far:

I don't know when I decided to become a marine biologist.

I went to the University of Wyoming, not for their (non-existent) marine science program, but to continue competitive swimming.

Instead of finding a research lab as an undergraduate, I climbed as many rocks in southeastern Wyoming as possible.

It took me two tries to get into graduate school here at Western Washington University to study marine biology.

I was 100% certain I was done with school after I finished my Master’s degree.

I started my PhD in Western Australia researching seaweed chemical physiology because I didn’t have any other plans for my life. This was, admittedly, a poor reason to start a PhD.

Besides being a parent, getting through my PhD is the hardest thing I’ve done.

I enjoy algae of all sizes, generally the large brown and green ones.


A few facts about my personal life:

I grew up in Alaska. It is a magical place.

I once ate 70 chicken nuggets in one sitting.

I’m doing my best to do less.

Sleeping is my number one hobby.

I take my tea with cream and my coffee without caffeine.

I like to climb things and run around in the woods.

Research Interests

Algal physiology and ecology; chemical acclimation strategies to seasonal conditions; dispersal and population connectivity 

Educational & Professional Experience

University of Western Australia (PhD 2018)

Western Washington University (MSc 2011)

University of Wyoming (BSc 2007)

Recent Publications

van Hees, D., Hanneman, C., Paradis, S., Camara, A. G., Matsumoto, M., Hamilton, T., ... & Kodner, R. B. (2023). Patchy and Pink: Dynamics of a Chlainomonas sp.(Chlamydomonadales, Chlorophyta) algal bloom on Bagley Lake, North Cascades, WA. FEMS Microbiology Ecology

van Hees, D.H., Olsen, Y.S., Wernberg, T., Kendrick, G.A. 2018. Cast adrift: physiology and dispersal of benthic Sargassum spinuligerum in surface rafts. Limnology and Oceanography.

van Hees, D.H., Olsen, Y.S, Wernberg, T. Van Alstyne, K. Kendrick, G. 2017. Phenolic concentrations of brown macroalgae and relationships to nearshore environmental gradients in Western Australia. Marine Biology. 164:74.

van Hees, D., Van Alstyne K. 2013. Effects of emersion, temperature, dopamine and hypoxia on the accumulation of extracellular oxidants surrounding the bloom-forming seaweeds Ulva lactuca and Ulvaria obscura. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 448: 207-213.

Van Alstyne, K. Anderson, K. van Hees, D. Gifford, S. 2013. Dopamine release by Ulvaria obscura (Phylum Chlorophyta): Environmental triggers and impacts on the photosynthesis growth, and survival of the releaser. Journal of Phycology. 49: 719-727.