Benjamin L. Jones

Researcher at the Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University

I obtained a B.Sc. in Marine Biology at Swansea University where I went on to obtain an M.Res. in Aquatic Ecology and Conservation. My master's thesis focused on the role of seagrasses as indicators of change in the British Isles where multiple characteristics were used to assess how seagrasses responded to varying degrees of anthropogenic stress. During my masters, I co-founded the marine conservation charity Project Seagrass. Project Seagrass aims to conserve seagrass ecosystems through education, influence, research, and action. As a director, I focus on working to enhance understanding of the importance of seagrass using creative design to communicated scientific research to the wider public, as well as communicating this directly through workshops and events.

My current work at the Sustainable Places Research Institute is focused on tropical seagrass meadows where I work closely with Research Fellow Dr Leanne Cullen-Unsworth on an international project investigating drivers of seagrass decline across multiple scales throughout South East Asia. More recently I have been involved as a technical expert in the development of The Dugong and Seagrass Research Toolkit and as a scientific advisor in the development of BBC’s landmark series Blue Planet 2.

I co-developed SeagrassSpotter (www.seagrassspotter.org), an entry-level citizen science project. Established in 2016 in the UK, the project uses a smartphone app and website database as its platform and facilitates a participants’ ability to spot something interesting and upload geo-tagged photographs. Expanding across Europe in late 2016, since its release the project has accumulated over 700 sightings from 93 locations in 21 countries and engaged nearly 350 users.

I am especially interested in developing technologies for seagrass conservation which include citizen-science applications and drones where my work and research has taken me to Mozambique, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Mexico.

Experience

  • 2015–present
    Research Assistant, Cardiff University
  • 2013–present
    Founding Director, Project Seagrass

Publications

  • 2017
    Rocking the boat: damage to eelgrass by swinging boat moorings., Frontiers in Plant Science
  • 2017
    Seagrass science is growing: a report on the 12th International Seagrass Biology Workshop., Marine Pollution Bulletin
  • 2016
    The perilous state of seagrass in the British Isles, Royal Society Open Science
  • 2016
    Seagrass meadows are threatened by expected loss of peatlands in Indonesia, Global Change Biology

Grants and Contracts

  • 2016
    Developing SeagrassSpotter as a global quantitative citizen science programme
    Role:
    Co-Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Multiple Funding Streams
  • 2016
    Mission SEA (Seagrass, Education and Awareness).
    Role:
    Co-Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Big Lottery Fund
  • 2015
    Seagrass education and awareness programme for Wales
    Role:
    Co-Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Big Lottery Fund
  • 2015
    Seagrass education and monitoring programme for Wales
    Role:
    Co-Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Waterloo Foundation

Research Areas

  • Conservation And Biodiversity (050202)
  • Wildlife And Habitat Management (050211)
  • Phycology (Incl. Marine Grasses) (060701)
  • Marine And Estuarine Ecology (Incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205)