I am a Marine Ecologist based in Swansea, currently employed by the SEACAMS2 research team as a Technician.
I am also studying towards a PhD within the Swansea Laboratory for Animal Movement (SLAM) at Swansea University, supervised by Dr James Bull, Professor Luca Börger, Dr Thomas Stringell and Professor Rory Wilson. I am researching the movement and behavioural ecology of British pinnipeds (grey and harbour seals), and their potential interactions with marine renewable energy (MRE) devices. To do this I deploy biologging devices on seals captured in the wild to track them in their natural habitats. Through my research I aim to provide evidence and advice to industry and policymaking authorities for regulating and licencing new MRE installations.
My broad research interests lie in the spatial and behavioural ecology of marine megafauna and their energy budgets. Some of my previous projects have investigated the foraging ecology of magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) and imperial cormorants (Leucocarbo atriceps), and the diving behaviour of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina). I am also interested in how we can best utilise biologging equipment to maximise its potential and efficiency. In addition to tagging seals and seabirds, I have experience deploying biologging devices on terrestrial vertebrates, including the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and the Galápagos tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra). I have also been involved in interdisciplinary projects involving computer scientists, mathematicians, physicists, and engineers.
While studying at Swansea University I founded Swansea University's Marine Biology Society. This extra-curricular society directly complements the marine biology degree schemes with the aims of (i) improving and inspiring the understanding of marine habitats and their biodiversity, (ii) enhancing employability of Swansea University graduates through theoretical and practical training, and (iii) undertaking community projects that help to restore, conserve and protect the marine environment. As the society's founding member I established the society constitution and gained funding and support from departmental research groups, including from Swansea's Moving Animal Research Team (SMART) - now SLAM. I now support the committee through an advisory role.
I am very interested in, and enthusiastic about, all aspects of policy-making and how academic research can be appropriately translated and presented to enhance its policy impact. In summer 2017 I undertook a Science Policy Internship at the Royal Society in London working within the Data team. I worked on several projects relating to machine learning, data governance and artificial intelligence. Since resuming my PhD studies I continued to undertake CPD activities relating to policymaking. I am passionate about British and international politics and I strive to stay up to date with, and develop a deep understanding of, international and national policy (including for devolved administrations).
I am actively engaged on social media @willpkay.
I am a proud volunteer member of The Mumbles Lifeboat RNLI as an Inshore Lifeboat and All-Weather Lifeboat crewman. This involves me being on emergency call 24/7, 365 days a year to respond to maritime emergencies in Swansea and the Bristol Channel.
In my spare time I like to stay active by regularly exercising by going cycling or walking. I am an experienced recreational SCUBA diver and instructor and teach diving to members of the Swansea University Sub Aqua Club and divers in my local Swansea community. I am also a commercially endorsed RYA Powerboating Instructor and RYA Advanced Powerboat Handler, and a BSAC Diver Coxswain. I enjoy teaching others how to drive powerboats and stay safe at sea.