I am particularly interested in the different research methodologies created for understanding marine mega-fauna and how we can use these to aid the conservation of species around the globe. During my undergraduate degree I explored the biodiversity and spatial ecology of shark and ray populations, and how anthropogenic activities are inflicting huge pressure on many species around the globe. Understanding how these factors can influence and interact with shark and ray ecology and life history e.g. size and sex is essential for implementing successful management action plans that can improve conservation.
To further my ecological knowledge of predatory species, I continued with academic studies and a chose a Master’s thesis topic that involved analysing tagging data to assess the spatial ecology of an upper level predator, at two remote pristine reefs in the Pacific Ocean. Succeeding my Master’s degree, and after undertaking short research trips involving predator research and skill training, I gained a position as a research assistant on a Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) project. This position was with Large Marine Vertebrate Research Institute Philippines (LAMAVE), the largest NGO in the Philippines, focused on marine mega-fauna conservation.
During my two years with LAMAVE I worked with local communities and local government units assisting with the tagging and photo-identification of many species. However, my main role was to document the presence of elasmobranchs at different sites across the Philippines using BRUV technologies. I was able to work with many different species during this time, including sharks, manta rays, turtles and many species of coral reef fish and sea birds. After the first year of BRUV surveys, we used advanced stereo camera technology, which performs 3D measurements of marine fauna to quantify the population structure of sharks and other fish. Such technologies can be crucial for the protection of species as they can identify hotspots and critical habitats e.g. birthing, mating or nursery grounds.
Since returning to the UK I have continued with written projects for LAMAVE, signed up to volunteer for the Sharks, Skates and Rays In the Offshore Region of Scotland (SIORC) program and been allocated a dream position with SharkStuff researching sharks using non-invasive stereo technologies on the south coast of the UK. After all, the UK is an underrepresented shark hotspot, being home to over 20 different species.
You can read about the Porbeagle project that I’m working on here and keep an eye on the news feed for updates!Previous Page