Postdoctoral Research Officer, Bangor University

In 2008, Scotland's first marine No-Take Zone to be protected from all fishing was established in Lamlash Bay, off the Isle of Arran. The Scottish Marine Act has set forth a path for the creation of a national network of marine protected areas. How effective the Lamlash Bay No-Take Zone is at promoting the recovery of marine life is therefore of enormous importance and interest both to Scotland and further afield. Through my research, we are beginning to understand the rate, trajectory and nature of recovery of sea life following the cessation of fishing, which is helping further guide policy.

I have worked on the Isle of Arran for the past four years and am now in the final stage of my research. Monitoring Lamlash Bay has involved a number of different survey techniques including, pot sampling, photo quadrats, baited underwater video cameras and diver surveys. These different methodologies have helped me to explore the changes in ecosystem, community, and population structure between areas inside and outside the No-Take Zone.

In addition, my research has also documented the global transformation underway in the ocean at present - from complex ecosystems supporting a range of species, to more simplified ones becoming increasingly dominated by invertebrates. Moreover, it explores why, even though these growing invertebrate fisheries are highly valuable, that such simplification is extremely risky and leaves the fishing industry open to economic catastrophe in future. In a simplified state our oceans will be much less able to continue to function effectively in the face of climate change and escalating human pressures.

Experience

  • 2015–present
    Postdoctoral research officer, Bangor University
  • 2011–2014
    PhD Marine Ecosystems, University of York

Education

  • 2010 
    University of York, MSc Marine Environmental Management
  • 2009 
    University of East Anglia, BSc Ecology

Publications

  • 2015
    Effects of ecosystem protection on scallop populations within a community‑led temperate marine reserve, Marine Biology
  • 2015
    Sessile and mobile components of a benthic ecosystem display mixed trends within a temperate marine reserve, Marine Environmental Research
  • 2013
    The unintended consequences of simplifying the sea: making the case for complexity, Fish and Fisheries
  • 2011
    Complex habitat boosts scallop recruitment in a fully protected marine reserve, Marine Biology

Grants and Contracts

  • 2011
    Scotland's 1st marine reserve
    Role:
    PhD
    Funding Source:
    Fauna and Flora International

Professional Memberships

  • PADI Divemaster
  • RNLI Powerboat II, VHF Radio Operator, Sea Survival