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The University of Southampton

Dr Maria Salta BSc, MRes, PhD

Visiting Academic

Dr Maria Salta's photo

Dr Maria Salta is a Visiting Academic within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Current position

Maria Salta is a Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, UK. She is affiliated with the National Centre for Advanced Tribology Southampton (nCATS). Maria is primarily involved in a EU FP7 funded project consisting of a large consortium of both industrial and academic partners in order to discover surfaces/coatings that inhibit biofilm formation on marine installations, especially ship hulls.

Maria’s main role in the project is understanding the effect of novel anti-biofilm technologies on marine biofilms through experimental observations in the laboratory and in the field (immersion tests).

Web links

Research Gate:
Google Scholar:

Honours and distinctions

2007-2008 Research Studentship awarded from the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment towards MRes completion
2009, Reseach travel grant from the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) to attend the 5th ASM Conferences on Biofilms, Cancun, Mexico

Career history

Maria Salta obtained her BSc in Marine Biology with Oceanography, at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), University of Southampton, UK (2004-2007). Research Project title: A morphological approach on the importance of Acropora corals in supporting reef fish populations.

In 2007, Maria obtained a Research Studentship Award from the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment towards the completion of her Masters of Research (MRes) in Ocean Sciences (2008 University of Southampton, UK).
Research Project title: “The effect of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on gamete formation in the bioluminescent dinoflagellate species Lingulodinium polyedrum”.

In 2012, Maria was awarded her PhD on the discovery of novel natural products and biomimetics against marine biofilms (Faculty of Engineering Sciences and The Environment , University of Southampton, UK).
Thesis title: “Method development for enhance antifouling testing using novel natural products against marine biofilms”

Field work experience

2007, Cruise D321 Iceland Basin RRS Discovery, North Atlantic, National Environmental Research Council (NERC)
Maria participated in the research cruise D321 where she was looking at the spatial and temporal distribution of bioluminescence in the North Atlantic as well as the physiological acclimation of phytoplankton populations to high CO2.

2009, Cruise JC031 Drake Passage RRS James Cook, South Atlantic, National Environmental Research Council (NERC)
During the JC031 cruise, Maria conducted incubation experiments to investigate in-situ microbial attachment and biofilm formation over a 28-day interval in the Drake Passage.
In parallel, she conducted analysis of water column chemical properties i.e. phosphates, silicates, and nitrates as well as dissolved oxygen measurements

Research interests

Current research projects: FP7 funded project: Foul-X-Spell (


Maria’s research expertise and interests lie mainly in the field of microbiology with a focus in the marine environment. The multidisciplinary nature of her background (oceanography, biology, engineering, chemistry) over the past few years has given her the ability to undertake and contribute in an array of projects for marine, engineering and medical applications. Maria‘s expertise and interests cover:

  1. Hydrodynamics and Bio-microfluidics through the design and fabrication of both micro (lab-on-a-chip) systems and macro systems to facilitate in situ and high resolution observations of bacterial and biofilm processes (attachment, formation and growth, signalling, adhesion strength, drug reduction).
  2. Biofilm-surface interactions through method development for the assessment of bacterial and diatom attachment, biofilm growth, and DLVO.
  3. Biomimetics and bio-inspired approaches that mimic natural systems with the aim to investigate and replicate their properties (chemistry and topography).
  4. Microbial diversity and gene functionality though in-situ field and laboratory sampling and use of Next-generation sequencing (NGS) approaches.
  5. Bacterial eco-physiology in extreme environments – polar and deep sea.

Maria has extensive experience in EU related projects as she has worked over several years for EU related institutions (EDA, and FP7 funded projects).

Collaborations and contacts

On-campus affiliations

  • National Oceanography Centre (NOCS), Dr Thomas Bibby, Dr Mathew Mowlem
  • Electronics and Computer Sciences (ECS), Dr Maria-Nefeli Tsaloglou
  • Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Dr Jeremy Webb, Prof Bill Keevil
  • Bioengineering Group

Off-campus affiliations:

  • Departments of Microbial Infection and Immunity and Orthopedics Center for Microbial Interface Biology, Ohio State University, USA, Prof Paul Stoodley
  • Department of Ecology Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, Prof Debora Iglesias Rodriguez
  • School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece, Prof Dimitrios Pantelis and Dr Antonios Karantonis
  • Natural Physical Laboratory (NPL), Dr Martin Rides
  • TNO, The Netherlands, Dr Job Klijnstra
  • CNR - Istituto di Scienze Marine (ISMAR) - Sede di Genova, Italy, Dr Marco Faimali, Dr Giuliano Greco


  • Lloyd’s Register, Mr Stuart Downie, Dr Ho-Chun Feng
  • Hempel SA, Dr Diego Yebra, Dr Stefan Olsen
  • Carnival

Research group

national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS)

Research project(s)

FOUL-X-SPEL (Environmentally friendly antifouling technology to optimise the energy efficiency of ships)

Marine antifouling coatings - stopping seaweed, barnacles and bacteria.

SESM6029 Nano and Bio Tribology (MSc Level), Lectures on Biofilms

Training, supervising and overlooking projects of Undergraduate, Masters and PhD students

Dr Maria Salta
National Centre for Advanced Tribology (nCATS) Engineering and the Environment University of Southampton Highfield Campus Southampton SO17 1BJ Room Number: 7/3003 Email:

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