I am a Marine Ecologist based at Cardiff University, Wales, currently working as a Tutor (in Data Analysis and Statistics) in the School of Biosciences.
For my PhD (Swansea University) I studied at the Swansea Laboratory for Animal Movement (SLAM), supervised by Dr James Bull, Professor Luca Börger, Dr Thomas Stringell and Professor Rory Wilson. In my thesis I investigated the movement and behavioural ecology of seals (grey and harbour seals) in tidal stream environments, and their potential interactions with marine renewable energy (MRE) devices. To study this I deployed biologging devices on seals captured in the wild to track them in their natural habitats. Through this research I was able to provide evidence and advice to the tidal stream energy industry and policymaking authorities for regulating and licencing new developments.
My ecological research interests lie in quantifying the drivers of individual- and population-level animal movement, behaviour, and energetics in order to predict the impact of anthropogenic disturbance and environmental change on animals and thus to derive recommendations for policy and conservation management. I have focused in particular on the study of marine megafauna but I am keen to apply my research across all taxa. 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 whilst minimizing its impact. 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 related interdisciplinary projects involving computer scientists, mathematicians, physicists, and engineers.
Swansea University Marine Biology Society
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 continue to support the committee through an advisory role.
Policy and Politics
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. I have previous experience in this science policy work with the Royal Society's Data team. Here I worked on several projects relating to machine learning, data governance and artificial intelligence. Alongside my current role I continue to undertake CPD activities relating to policymaking, for example as a member of the British Ecological Society's Wales Policy Group. I am passionate about British and international politics and I strive to stay up to date with, and develop an understanding of, international and national policy (including for devolved administrations).
Saving Lives at Sea
I am a trainee crew member of the Newport Lifeboat branch of the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA), and have previously served as a volunteer of The Mumbles Lifeboat RNLI as an Inshore Lifeboat and All-Weather Lifeboat crewman for 3.5 years. This role involves me being on emergency call 24/7, 365 days a year to respond to in-land water emergencies in the River Severn from Newport to Beachley.
In my spare time I like to stay active by cycling or walking. I am an experienced recreational SCUBA diver and instructor and teach diving to divers in my local community. I am also a commercially endorsed skipper, an RYA Powerboating Instructor, and a BSAC Diver Coxswain. I enjoy teaching others how to drive powerboats and stay safe at sea.
I am vegan for the sake of the animals and the environment. This means that I do not buy, consume or use any products that contain or have been prepared using animal products. I have two main justifications for this decision: Firstly, I am against all forms of animal cruelty, including the 𝚑̶𝚞̶𝚖̶𝚊̶𝚗̶𝚎̶ slaughter of animals; there is no humane way to kill an animal that does not wish to die, and the suffering prior to slaughter is horrific, and unnecessary. Second, a vegan diet is responsible for between 99-102% fewer greenhouse-gas emissions than a meat-based diet, thus being substantially more sustainable and environmentally friendly.