Biography

I am a marine ecologist, with a specialism in benthic ecology. I studied for a bachelors in environmental biology at Napier University, then went on to take a masters degree in ecology and environmental management at the University of York and a PhD in benthic ecosystem functioning at Newcastle University. I worked as a post-doc at the University of Liverpool and then at the Univeristy of Oslo. I've worked at Cefas since 2008.

My research focusses on marine and coastal biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, with an emphasis on the effects of human activities on the marine environment. A large part of my work is on species' biological traits, using them to examine links between species and ecosystem function, to establish how these links might vary across environments and to investigate how human activities such as fishing or management practices impact on ecological function.

I am the ecology science leader for a large programme of marine ecosystem assessment for new nuclear developments. In this programme we use physical, chemical and biological data to develop understanding of coastal ecosystem and foodweb dynamics, we investigate the pathways by which nuclear power stations could impact on the marine environment and how these impacts can be avoided or mitigated. We use both empirical studies and predictive models and our work focusses specifically on species of societal importance; that is, species of conservation or commercial importance or those with a particularly important role in coastal ecosystems.

One of my other key research interests is in developing new approaches for surveying and assessing coastal ecosystems and I am particularly interested in the application of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) for gathering high-resolution vegetation and fauna data from intertidal and shallow subtidal areas. This is a developing research field and there are a number of exciting possibilites to explore.

I have collaborated with colleagues in a variety of organisations, including Abo Akademi in Finland, the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research in Greece, the Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences at the Univeristy of Hull, the Environment Agency, AZTI-Technalia in Spain, the University of Antofagasta in Chile and the University of Coimbra in Portugal, among others.

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