• Craibstone Estate, Bucksburn, SRUC, Ferguson Building

    AB21 9YA Aberdeen

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Marine megafauna ecology, Bioacoustics, Animal behaviour, Human impacts

20122021

Research activity per year

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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. 

Biography

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.

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

Teaching

I contribute to the teaching of several modules, including:

  • Biodiversity Conservation (1st year)
  • Marine Environments - Management and Protection (2nd year)
  • Marine Ecology and Conservation (4th year)
  • Action for Biodiversity (4th year)

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

Supervision

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

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

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

2019-22 Lucy Martin “Marine wood-borer attack viewed from a zoological perspective to inform evaluation of wood modification processes” [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]

Education/Academic qualification

PGCert , University of Portsmouth

Sep 2018Sep 2020

PhD, Curtin University

Jul 2013Jan 2017

Master, University of St Andrews

Sep 2008Sep 2009

Bachelor, University of Aberdeen

Sep 2004Jun 2008

External positions

University of Portsmouth

Sep 2018Sep 2021

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