• Craibstone Estate, Bucksburn, SRUC, Ferguson Building

    AB21 9YA Aberdeen

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Marine megafauna ecology, Bioacoustics, Animal behaviour, Human impacts


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Personal profile

I am an ecologist focusing on animal behaviour, bioacoustics, and human impacts. My research has primarily focused on marine megafauna, such as whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, turtles, and seabirds. However, I have a wide range of ecological interests, regardless of species or habitat! I am also very interested in citizen science, science communication, and public engagement. 


Originally from Scotland, I completed an BSc (Hons) Zoology at the University of Aberdeen followed by an MRes Marine Mammal Science at the University of St Andrews. In 2010, I travelled to Australia to work on various marine mammal research projects “for a few months” - which turned into eight years!

During my time in Australia, I completed a PhD in Marine Bioacoustics with the Centre for Marine Science and Technology (CMST) at Curtin University. My doctoral thesis examined coastal dolphins and noisy environments, focusing on bottlenose dolphins and snubfin dolphins in Western Australia. Following my PhD, I worked on research projects studying marine megafauna, anthropogenic disturbance, and animal movement at Curtin University and the University of Western Australia. I also gained industry experience as an environmental consultant working on marine impact assessments in both Australia and South-East Asia.

In 2018, I returned to the UK to begin work at the University of Portsmouth as a Lecturer in Marine Biology and simultaneously completed my PGCert Higher Education. In Sept 2021, I moved back north to join SRUC Aberdeen as a Lecturer in Ecology. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Aug 2023.

In addition to conducting research, I have also spent several years working as a science communicator and educator. I am a strong supporter of both public engagement and citizen science.

I am an Associate Editor for Methods in Ecology and Evolution. I also sit on the Media Committee for the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life conference. and am a Committee Member for the British Ecological Society (BES) Quantitative Ecology Special Interest Group.

Research interests

My research focuses primarily on marine megafauna, including cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), pinnipeds (seals, sea lions), birds, and fish. I am particularly interested in aspects of:

  • Animal behaviour
  • Bioacoustics
  • Citizen science
  • Habitat-use
  • Human impacts
  • Marine ecology
  • Movement patterns
  • Soundscape ecology
  • Underwater acoustics


I contribute to the teaching of several modules, including:

  • Biodiversity Conservation (1st year)
  • Marine Environments - Management & Protection (2nd year)
  • Data Collection & Handling Methods (2nd year)
  • Research Skills & Data Analysis (3rd year)
  • Marine Ecology & Conservation (4th year)
  • Action for Biodiversity (4th year)
  • Statistics (MSc)

I also supervise a number of Honours, Masters, and PhD students. 


I supervise a number of Honours, Masters, and PhD students, as well as post-doctoral researchers and interns. These include:

2023-2027 Claire Stainfield "Sustainablilty of seal tourism in the Ythan Estuary" [PhD]

2023-2027 Keir Beaton "Life in the belly of a whale: Genomic and population genetic approaches to disentangle the adaptations of the parasitic liver fluke Campula oblonga and how it interacts with its cetacean host." [PhD]

2022-2026 Vicky Graves "Interactive effects of moorland management and rewilding on predator prey interactions" [PhD]

2021-22 Michael Scales “Understand the socio-economic value, and tourists perceptions of blue shark tourism in the UK” [MRes]

2021-22 Gemma Scotts “Understand the socio-cultural relationship of anglers with blue sharks in the UK” [MRes]

2020-21 Gonzalo Araujo "Ecology of whale sharks in the Philippines" [PhD by Publication]

2019-23 Lucy Martin “Marine wood-borer attack viewed from a zoological perspective to inform evaluation of wood modification processes” [PhD]

2019-22 James Robbins “Vessel collisions with large whales – behavioural responses and areas of risk” [PhD]

2018-22 Diana Rocha “Sustainability of a dolphin-swim program inside a marine protected area” [PhD]



Education/Academic qualification

PGCert , PGCert Higher Education, University of Portsmouth

Sept 2018Sept 2020

PhD, Behavioural and acoustical responses of coastal dolphins to noisy environments, Curtin University

Jul 2013Jan 2017

Master, MRes Marine Mammal Science, University of St Andrews

Sept 2008Sept 2009

Bachelor, BSc (Hons) Zoology, University of Aberdeen

Sept 2004Jun 2008

External positions

University of Portsmouth

Sept 2018Sept 2021


Dive into the research topics where Sarah Marley is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or