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Professor of Biology, University of St Andrews

After studying economics and working in a Japanese bank for several years, I switched course and attained a PhD from the joint program at MIT / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution - under the supervision of Prof Peter Tyack. During my PhD studying acoustic communication of killer whales, I regularly heard very loud underwater sounds of humans including boats and sonars, which illustrated to me very directly the noisy underwater world we are causing. My primary scientific interest is unravelling the myriad adapations of cetecea to their marine habitat, such as the biomechanical consequences of living in buoyant seawater, and social adaptations to living a fluid medium where sound propogates very well. After being involved in one of the earliest studies of how sonar affects singing male humpback whales, understanding human effects on cetacea has become a central focus of my work. However, we can only understand how we humans might be impacting those animals if we can first understand their natural behaviours and adaptations.

In my personal life, I love to swim and bicycle - and especially to spend time with my teenage kids. Having lived in Seattle for many years in the 90's, I'm still partial to grunge music and play it regularly on my guitar. For holidays I love to go the beach, but never on boats - despite being a marine scientist, I get terribly seasick!


  • 2002–2022
    Professor (previously reader, lecturer, Royal Society research fellow), University of St Andrews
  • 2021–2022
    Visiting Professor, University of Tokyo
  • 2001–2002
    PostDoctoral Researcher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 2001–2002
    PostDoctoral Researcher, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • 1989–1991
    Loan Officer, Chuo Trust & Banking, New York Branch