20132021

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Research Interests

I’m a marine ecologist with a research focus on top predator foraging distributions. Using a range of high-resolution acoustics (multibeam sonar, echosounders, ADCPs), in combination with visual survey techniques (e.g. boat/shore/UAV surveys), I investigate the interactions between marine fauna (e.g. sharks, seals, seabirds), their prey (e.g. fish, zooplankton) and fine-scale hydrodynamics. My research in the vicinity of marine renewable energy devices aims to inform the sustainable development of ocean energy.

Appointed as a Bryden Centre Research Fellow in Jan 2019, I am based at the Queen’s University Belfast Marine Laboratory in Portaferry, situated on the shores of the Narrows tidal channel, Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, UK.  

Previous to this post, I was a research fellow funded by the recently completed EU Horizon 2020 Powerkite project, where I was involved in studies relating to tidal device noise assessments and listening space reduction in marine mammals, collision risk modelling, the characterisation of highly energetic sites, and the investigation of fine-scale hydrodynamic features influencing top predator at-sea distributions.   

As a MASTS Prize PhD student, I completed my doctorate at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. I've had a long interest in sharks and worked towards developing hydroacoustic tools to visualise predators, their immediate habitat and underlying hydrodynamics. For instance, during my PhD, I used high-frequency multibeam sonar to detect basking sharks off the West Coast of Scotland. Since then, this has taken me further afield, e.g. the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory; 2016), South Africa (Robben and Dassen Island; 2016) and Ningaloo Reef (Western Australia; 2018) as part of on-going collaborations with the University of St Andrews (Prof Andrew Brierley).

Expertise related to UN SDGs

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

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