Personal profile

Research interests

I am a marine biologist and fish ecologist, with particular interests in the behaviour of coral reef fishes, bioacoustics, effects of climate change on marine ecosystems, conservation and management. I lead a dynamic research group of ~10 postdocs, PhD and Masters students. Following a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship I have ongoing links with industry and policy on the themes of European Fisheries and Climate Change, and Anthropogenic Noise and Marine Ecosystems. I work closely with Cefas and the Met Office, am co-chair of the IQOE Science Committee, and was an Academic Advisor and featured scientist in Blue Planet 2.

My work combines fieldwork, often through expeditions to remote and challenging environments, with laboratory-based behaviour experiments, data-mining, and computer modelling.

My research focuses on:

  • The impact of anthropogenic noise on marine ecosystems
  • The effects of climate change on fish and fisheries
  • Sensory and orientation behaviour of marine organisms
  • Dispersal, connectivity and biogeography
  • Management

My recent TEDx 2019 Talk: Changing the Soundtrack of the Ocean

BBC Earth film on my underwater acoustics work

Publications and Research Profiles

Currrent opportunities for postgraduate study

  • I welcome discussions with potential Masters by Research students interested in undertaking a 12–24 month research project associated with current funded research programmes.


Short films on my research and knowledge exchange activities


Impact Case Studies from my Research


Recent activites linking Research with Impact

-> Impacts of Marine Noise

-> Fisheries and Climate Change


Research Findings and News Stories



2000–2004 PhD, University of York, UK
1998–1999 MRes Marine & Coastal Ecology & Environmental Management, University of York, UK
1995–1998 BSc Marine Biology, University of Liverpool, UK


2021–present Professor of Marine Biology & Global Change, University of Bristol
2019–2021 Professor of Marine Biology & Global Change, University of Exeter
2016–2019 Associate Professor in Marine Biology & Global Change, University of Exeter
2012–2016 Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology & Global Change, University of Exeter
2011–2014 NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Universities of Bristol & Exeter
2011 Postdoctoral Researcher, Defra-funded Anthropogenic Noise project, University of Bristol, UK
2008–2011 Postdoctoral Researcher, NERC Sustainable Marine Bioresources Initiative, University of Bristol, UK
2007–2008 Royal Society International Fellow and EPHE Postdoctoral Fellow, Université de Perpignan
2004–2007 NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh, UK



Research interests


My first degree was in Marine Biology at the University of Liverpool (BSc Hons, 1998), during which I worked in Mozambique assessing the Quirimba Archipelago for Marine Protected Area status. Inspired by my time in the tropics, I followed this with a Masters degree at the University of York in Marine & Coastal Ecology & Environmental Management (MRes, 1999) where, under the guidance of Profs Rupert Ormond and Callum Roberts, I completed an Internship in the British Virgin Islands designing fisheries management tools for the developing world. I then spent a year working with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Western Australia, Raleigh International in Belize and with a UK environmental consultancy (CMACS). I completed my PhD (2000–2004) at the University of York supervised by Dr Calvin Dytham and Dr Mark Meekan (AIMS), focusing on the influence of behaviour of larval coral reef fish on dispersal and implications for population connectivity. I continued this line of study, combining field studies, electrophysiology, choice experiments and individual-based modelling, with a NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship which I held at the University of Edinburgh (2004–2008, working with Prof Victoria Braithwaite). I moved to Bristol in 2008 to work with Dr Martin Genner on the effects of climate change on European fish communities and implications for effective fisheries and conservation management under the NERC Sustainable Marine Bioresources theme. In parallel I developed some strong collaborations to study impacts of marine anthropogenic noise (shipping, pile-driving, drilling, etc.), and was Co-Investigator on a major Defra-funded project with Prof Andy Radford (Bristol). I also held a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow (2011–2014) which enabled me to develop strong links between the research community and industry and policy on the themes of European Fisheries and Climate Change, and Anthropogenic Noise and Marine Ecosystems. I joined the University of Exeter as a Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology and Global Change in Sept 2012, where I now have a thriving research group working on effects of climate change on European fisheries, and impacts of anthropogenic noise on marine ecosystems.


Research networks

Main Collaborators

Prof Andy Radford & Dr Martin Genner (University of Bristol)

Prof Simon Jennings (ICES)

Dr John Pinnegar (Cefas/University of East Anglia)

Dr Mark Meekan (Australian Institute of Marine Science)

Prof Phillip Munday & Prof Mark McCormick (James Cook University)

Prof Ivan Nagelkerken & Dr Tullio Rossi (University of Adelaide)

Dr Suzie Mills & Dr Ricardo Beldade (CRIOBE Moorea French Polynesia)

Dr Annie Linley (National Oceanographic Centre)

Dr Jonathan Tinker (Met Office Hadley Centre)

Additional Recent Collaborators

Dr Marc Holderied, Prof Daniel Robert, Prof Andy Ridgwell, Dr Erica Hendy (University of Bristol)

Dr Andrew Jeffs & Dr Craig Radford (University of Auckland New Zealand)

Prof Edd Codling & Prof David Smith (University of Essex UK)

Prof Calvin Dytham (University of York UK)

Dr Maud Ferrari & Prof Doug Chivers (University of Saskatchewan Canada)

Dr David Lecchini (CRIOBE Moorea French Polynesia)

Prof Mark Johnson (National University Ireland Galway)

Prof David Sims (Marine Biological Association UK)

Dr Julia Blanchard (University of Tasmania Australia)

Dr Serge Planes (Université de Perpignan France)

Dr Monica Gagliano (University of Western Australia)

Dr Hong Yan (Academia Sinica Taiwan)

Dr Matt Wittenrich (Florida Institute of Technology)

Dr Claire Paris (Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Florida)

Dr Jen McIlwain & Dr Andrew Halford (Curtin University)

Dr Michel Claereboudt (Sultan Qaboos University Oman)

Dr Mark Vermeij (Carmabi Foundation Curacao)


External Engagement and Impact

Awards/Honorary fellowships

2019 - ZSL Science Medal Winner

2016 – FSBI Medal Winner

2013/14, 2014/15 – Ranked by Exeter students as top lecturer in Biosciences

2015 – Runner up for Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation

2008 – Duke of Edinburgh Prize for Oman Expedition

2003 – Runner up for Royal Institution / L’Oreal Graduate of the Year

2002 – Best Presentation, Ecology & Evolutionary Ethology of Fishes conference, Québec

2001 – Winner, Daily Telegraph (20-27) Young Science Writer Award: “Solo’s Odyssey”


Committee/panel activities

Science Committee Member: International Quiet Ocean Experiment (IQOE)

NERC College

UK Representative: ICES Working Group for Fish Ecology

Committee Member: Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) - Coral Reef Acoustics

Academic Representative: Underwater Sound Forum

Academic Representative: SeaFish Risk Assessment for Sustainable Seafood

I was the lead author for UK Parliament 2013 Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) report on climate change and fish, and co-author of 2017 MCCIP Report on Impacts of Climte Change on Fisheries

I was a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow (Cabot Institute Fellows Page / Blog), so alongside my research I develped lasting collaborations with research end-users (aka the real world), including policy makers, marine industries, fisheries scientists and conservation groups. I have a diverse range of partners, including Defra, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas, the IUCN, the UK Underwater Sound Forum, the fishing industry, the offshore renewable energy sector and the Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology, with whom I organise workshops, develop policy documents and policy briefings and build science-industry links to ensure the science we produce is of real value to society.

I am committed to developing a sustainable, productive, prosperous, and aesthetically inspiring marine environment from which future generations can draw economic benefit and enjoyment in equal measures.


Editorial responsibilities

I have reviewed for >15 funding agencies, >50 journals and >5 books and examined >15 postgraduate theses.


Invited lectures

I have given >10 Invited conference talks, >40 Conference Presentations, >40 University Seminars, >20 student/collaborator talks at conferences, >20 public lectures and >10 invited talks to policy makers


Media Coverage

I am an experienced communicator (Daily Telegraph Science Writer 2001) with a passion for delivering science to the public and to children. I have provided expert interviews (e.g. BBC News, BBC Countryfile, BBC Radio 4, New Scientist), given public lectures (e.g. TEDx (twice), Edinburgh Filmhouse, Southbank Centre), organised ecotourism events (e.g. Sea & Learn on Saba), and led biodiversity initiatives in secondary and primary schools.

My research has been widely covered by:

Television: BBC1 "David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef" documentary

Radio: BBC R4 “Sound of Life” documentary, CBC “Quirks & Quarks” features, NPR interview, ABC Australia Interviews, Deutschland Radio interview, Radio Sweden Interview, NERC podcasts

Newspapers: Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, New York Times, LA Times, Herald Tribune, Seattle Times, The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald

Science/Specialist publications: Science Random Samples, Science Online, Nature Online, New Scientist News, Scientific American, The Scientist, NERC Planet Earth, National Geographic

For hyperlinks, please see Research Page


Research funding

Recent Funding

2018 - EMFF - Scientists and small-scale fisheries creating quality and sustainability standard (£35k)
2018 – Ecocean-Exeter-Bristol – Habitat and fisheries restoration (£80k)
2017 – EMFF / Natural England funded project to assess the Live Wrasse Fishery (£80k)
2017 – Vice-Chancellor PhD award for Kieran McCloskey - Effects of noise on nesting fish
2016 – Royal Society Research Grant (£15k)
2016 – NERC Standard Grant - Motorboat and fish reproduction project (£636k)
​2016 – Exeter-Bristol-AIMS-Cefas GW4+ Studentship (£50k)
2015 – Bristol-Exeter-Cefas GW4+ Studentship (£50k)
2014 – NERC MREKEP, GW4+ and Exeter-NERC Impact Accelerator funding (>£50k)
2014 – Marine Scotland-Exeter-Bristol Marine Noise project (£50k)
2014 – Exeter-Bristol-Cefas GW4+ Studentship (£50k)
2014 – 2 x Exeter GW4+ Studentships (£50k)
2014 – Ecocean-Exeter-Bristol Marine Noise project (€300k)
2013 – Cefas-CASE PhD studentship (£50k)
2013 – NERC/TSB Knowledge Transfer Partnership with HR Wallingford (£300k) - Academic Lead
2012 – WUN Research Development Fund (£14k)
2012 – FCT Portugal – Ocean acidification and fish (€122k)
2012 – Marine Scotland – Hearing in salmonids (£10k)
2012 – NERC-CASE PhD Studentship (£50k)
2012 – ARC funding to work with Mark McCormick at Lizard Island (£4k)
2012 – NERC KE Fellowship Extension (£30k)
2012 – NERC Impact Case Study Grant Exeter (£5k)
2012 – NERC Impact Case Study Grant Bristol (£10k)
2011 – FSBI Travel Grant (£1000)
2011 – Bristol Marine Noise Workshop: SOFI fund (£7650), MREKE (£7650), USF (£500)
2011 – NERC KE Fellowship (£103k)
2011 – ANNiMs otolith grant (A$300k)
2010 – NERC PhD studentship (£60k)
2010 – Bristol Research Committee grant (£2,000)
2010 – Defra Anthropogenic Sound (£600k)
2010 – London Fisheries Symposium Grant (£200)
2010 – BBSRC Public Engagement Award for Biodiversity Week (£4,647)
2010 – PISCES International Travel Grant to attend International Symposium of Climate Change Effects on Fish and Fisheries in Sendai, Japan (£1,066)
2010 – ARC funding to work with Phil Munday at James Cook University (£769)
2009 – AIMS Visiting Academic Grant (£2,500)
2008 – CRISP Grant for work in Moorea (€87,780)

Additional Grants with my students, postdocs and collaborators

2019 – Exeter Education Incubator for undergraduate participation in reef restoration project (£2k)
2019 – FSBI Summer Bursary for undergraduate participation in Live Wrasse Fishery project (£2k)
2019 – Mars Sustanability Solutions funding for Indonesia reef restoration expedition (8k)
2016 – Exeter Annual Fund grant for student Sustainable Fisheries project (£2k)
2013 – Society of Biology/British Ecological Society and Fishmongers Company Internship (£2k)
2012 – NERC Business Internship for my PhD Student Irene Voellmy (£16k)
2012 – NERC Business Internship for my postdoc Rick Bruintjes (£16k)
2012 – Royal Society Newton Fellowship and AXA Fellowship for Cosima Porteus (with Rod Wilson; £400k)
2012 – UWA Travel Grant for Adam Roundtry (with Mark Meekan; £2k)
2009 – EU studentship for Irene Voellmy (with Andy Radford) (£49k)
2009 – Research Committee Summer studentship for Julius Piercy (with Andy Radford)


Workshops/Conferences organised

I was lead convener for the 2017 50th Anniversary Symposium of the Fisheries Society of the British Isles

I have convened symposia at international conferences, including:

2017 – Convener, Acoustic Ecology of Coral Reefs, Indo-Pacific Fish Conference, Tahiti
2012 – Convener, Larval ecology symposium, International Coral Reef Symposium, Cairns
2010 – Convener, Larval behaviour symposium, Larval Biology conference, Wellington
2006 – Convener, Marine bioacoustics symposium, Ocean Sciences conference, Honolulu

I have organised conferences and workshops, including

2015 – Convener, Marine Anthropogenic Noise Knowledge Exchange, Newcastle
2015 – Convener, Sustainable Fisheries in 2050 ThinkTank, London
2012 – Convener, Biological Effects of Marine Noise Knowledge Exchange, Bristol
2007 – Scottish Tropical Biology Meeting, Edinburgh
2006 – Scottish Fish Symposium, Millport

Teaching (during time in Exeter)

1st Year: Academic tutorials, Marine Biology (Penryn)

2nd Year: Marine Biology; Coral Reef Field Course; Practical Skills in Field Ecology; Academic tutorials

3rd Year: Current Issues in Marine Biology; Academic tutorials

3rd Year Dissertations: Global Fisheries and Climate Change; Anthropogenic Noise and Marine Ecosystems; Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification

MRes: Masters By Research, MSc Food Security & Sustainable Agriculture, MSc Conservation and Biodiversity, MSc Global Sustainability Solutions (Blue Planet module), MSci Biosciences (Creating a Better Anthropocene for Marine Life module)

Postgraduate Supervision:

  • Lead supervisor for 8 PhD studentships (Exeter, Cefas, AIMS and Edinburgh, incl. 4 CASE)
  • Co-supervisor for 13 PhD studentships (5 x Exeter, 4 x Bristol, JCU, York, Essex, Liège, Nijmegen and Adelaide)
  • Supervised/co-supervised 25 Masters and 41 Honours students around the world

I have a diverse range of previous teaching experience:

  • Postgraduate training modules in Knowledge Exchange, Science & the Media, Public Engagement in Science, Universities of Exeter & Bristol
  • Marine Biology lectures for Certificate in Wildlife Biology, University of Bristol
  • Field Zoology - 2rd Year module, University of Edinburgh
  • Behavioural Ecology - 3rd Year module, University of Edinburgh
  • undergraduate lectures (Edinburgh & St Andrews), tutoring & demonstrating
  • chalk boards on Belizean beaches (marine scientist, Raleigh International)
  • eco-restaurants and community centres in the Caribbean (lecturer, Sea & Learn on Saba)
  • primary school assemblies (coordinator, Biodiversity Weeks)
  • secondary school classrooms (Researcher in Residence, York and Cornwall)
  • on stage at the Bristol M-Shed (TEDx), the Edinburgh Filmhouse and Bristol Tobacco Factory (Cafe Scientifique) & Edinburgh Traverse Theatre (Underground Talent)
  • Dive instructor (27 trained divers)


Supervision / Group

Postdoctoral researchers

Postgraduate researchers


  • Tom Alpe - now DFID (MSc Food Security 2013-14)
  • Emily Armstrong-Smith Now managing marine conservation programme in Maldives
  • Fiona Birch - now with Client Earth (BSc 2014–15)
  • Zara Botterell - now PhD at Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • Kirsty Everley - now a practicing Solicitor (MRes Aquatic Biosciences and Resource Management 2012-13)
  • Harry Harding - now University of Bristol PhD (MRes Aquatic Biosciences and Resource Management 2012-13)
  • Hugo Harrison - now Postdoctoral Research Fellow, James Cook University (Royal Society RA 2016)
  • Adel Heenan - now NOAA Hawai'i (PhD 2005-8)
  • Emma Kennedy - now University of Queensland Postdoctoral Research Fellow (MSc Heriot Watt 2004-5)
  • Jess Lister - now 3rd year Exeter (FSBI summer bursary)
  • Sophie Nedelec Bristol PhD student (2010–2015)
  • Julius Piercy Current Essex PhD Student
  • Mark Priest - now PhD student at the University of Queensland (BSc 2002)
  • Bryony Uglow Now Tutor with Field Studies Council
  • Irene Voellmy - now NERC KE Associate (PhD 2009-13)
  • Matt Wale - now Edinburgh Napier University PhD (MbyRes 2011-12)


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