Dr Emma Sheehan
Associate Professor of Marine Ecology, University of Plymouth Marine Institute
Over-exploitation of our oceans has degraded biogenic habitats. These habitats act as important nursery and feeding areas for species of conservation and fisheries importance, and provide important ecological and environmental functions including filtering water, binding sediments and capturing carbon. Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and emerging blue industry such as marine renewables and offshore shellfish aquaculture, if managed to exclude destructive human practices, have the potential to restore the health and functionality of biogenic habitats. To inspire and inform ambitious marine policy and management, I lead the applied Marine Ecosystems Research unit that utilises non-destructive techniques, such as underwater video and acoustic telemetry, to assess the effectiveness of spatial management for species and habitats over large spatial and temporal scales.
Project Support Officer
I started working as a research assistant on Dr. Emma Sheehan’s team in December 2015 as part of the Clean Energy From Ocean Waves (CEFOW) project, which involved epibenthic assessments to determine the interaction of marine renewable energy installations with seabed ecology. I have since been involved with different projects including the annual Lyme Bay monitoring project, which Emma’s team have been undertaking since the closure of this area to bottom towed fishing gear in 2008, and a scallop ranching project in South West England. I am now helping to deliver our largest project to date, FISH INTEL, which aims to inform and implement Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) across the Channel region. My research interests centre on marine protected area (MPA) implementation and management, marine ecology and conservation, human impacts and the sustainable use of the marine environment.
Dr Thomas Stamp
My research interests are focused on assessing human impacts on marine habitats and species, and exploring ways in which we can limit human impacts or restore habitats and the species which use them. My PhD focused on assessing the ecology and distribution of European Seabass in the UK. Several elements of the life history of this fascinating species increase its vulnerability from, and interactions with, human activities and fishing practices. Specifically, my research assessed the nursery function of estuarine habitats for Seabass, and the effectiveness of current management and conservation measures. Take a look at the I-BASS project for more information on how this was achieved.
Dr Pete Davies
I am interested in how, where and when animals move, and applying this knowledge to inform their conservation. For my PhD I used telemetry to understand how habitat fragmentation affects the movements of threatened migratory fish, and how fish populations respond when habitats are reconnected. My current work spans two of the aMER group’s major projects: FISH INTEL, a cross-channel effort to broaden our understanding of the movements of marine species to inform ecosystem-based fisheries management; and SEAWave in which we are exploring the effects of marine renewable energy devices on marine ecosystems.
Dr Alice Hall
Project Support Officer
I am a marine biologist with extensive experience of marine monitoring including scientific dive surveys, baited remote underwater video (BRUV) and remotely operated vehicles (ROV). My previous research has focused on investigating the impacts of artificial structures on marine environments and exploring ways to enhance biodiversity. I am currently working on the Interreg FISH INTEL project which aims to support ecosystem based fisheries management across the Channel.
Llucia Mascorda Cabre
PhD candidate – Oceanographic and ecological interactions with an offshore, longline mussel farm
Supervisory team: Dr Emma Sheehan (DoS), Dr Phil Hosegood, Prof. Martin Attrill
As a new PhD Candidate on Dr Emma Sheehan’s research group, I am looking forward to being part of this renowned research team and expand upon Danielle Bridger’s offshore mussel farm study. During this 4 year PhD, Funded by Offshore Shellfish Ltd., I will embark into the study of ecological and oceanographic environmental impacts of this novel large-scale offshore mussel farm in Lyme Bay. Both my academic and professional experience have always involved a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to marine conservation and resource management, and this project is a great opportunity to build on this. I believe that studying and understanding the links between biodiversity and its function within the ecosystem is crucial, thus I am eager to start assessing the physical and biological processes associated with mussel ropes in a highly diverse and dynamic area like Lyme Bay.
Dr Martha Hall
FISH INTEL Project Manager
I currently deliver project management of the FISH INTEL project, an international partnership aimed at influencing fisheries management, supported by the ERDF via the EU Interreg FCE programme). I am responsible for communications management across the partnership, budget monitoring and management, reporting to Interreg, document control and modification (contract) management. I became qualified in Project Management (PRINCE2 Practitioner) in 2021. I gained a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Biogeology (Earth Sciences) from Utrecht University (NL) in 2006 and 2008, respectively. I obtained a PhD in Geological Sciences (marine vertebrate paleontology) from the University of Plymouth in 2013.
Shion Onuki Reynell
Project Support Assistant
As a recent graduate from a Master’s in Marine Conservation, I joined aMER in January 2022. As part of the research team I will be providing assistance with the ongoing Lyme Bay monitoring project, as well as, supporting a potting study in the Lundy No Take Zone. My current research interest lies in understanding how humans interact with the environment and how these interactions are shaped by differences in knowledge, perceptions and cultural values. I am interested in coupling ecological data with social data, taking an interdisciplinary approach towards conservation studies. My previous experience includes fish behaviour studies and baseline assessments of coral and fish biodiversity mainly in tropical reef ecosystems.
Project Support Officer & Masters Student – Assessing the effect of temperate MPAs on elasmobranch communities
Supervisory team: Dr Ben Ciotti (DoS), Dr Emma Sheehan
I’ve been working with Emma Sheehan’s research group as a master’s student since April 2021 and recently joined the team as a project support officer in July 2022. I am particularly interested in the spatial ecology of elasmobranchs and exploring the potential conservation benefits afforded by MPAs. Through my master’s research, I’ve been able to study the effect of Lyme Bay MPA on elasmobranch populations, using data from the annual BRUV survey
to elucidate changes in abundance and assemblage composition over time. I’ve also had the exciting opportunity to develop and test a cost-effective novel pelagic baited video technique, through the Marine Giants project. Alongside my master’s research I have been assisting the team to deliver the annual video survey in Lyme Bay and the Plymouth Marine Park, deploying BRUVs and TUVs to characterise changes in seafloor communities.
Technical Project Support Officer
I am a marine biologist with a keen interest in the development and management of sustainable marine protection areas, that are supported by an ecosystem-based approach. I have extensive marine monitoring experience having worked on several research projects around the world, researching human-impacts on marine habitats. I have previously worked in the field to assess MPA efficacy along the Portuguese coastline as an IAESTE candidate, using a variety of diving, BRUV and plankton surveys. I joined the aMER team in July 2022 and will be assisting across all the teams projects, providing support in the field and with the maintenance and development of survey equipment.
PhD candidate – Scallop ranching
Supervisory team: Prof. Martin Attrill (DoS), Dr Emma Sheehan, Dr Sian Rees
External Research Associates
Dr Danielle Bridger
PhD – Offshore mussel farm
Supervisory team: Dr Emma Sheehan (DoS), Prof. Martin Attrill, Dr Sian Rees
I joined the team in 2012 and started working on the Falmouth Harbour maerl dredging mitigation experimental study. I then worked on a variety of projects including the long term Lyme Bay monitoring project and have contributed to research in seagrass, maerl beds, ocean sprawl and marine litter. In 2013 I became involved with the offshore mussel farm project which evolved into my PhD. I am now halfway through my 4 year PhD funded by Offshore Shellfish Ltd. assessing the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of a new large-scale offshore mussel farm in Lyme Bay.
Dr Adam Rees
Visiting Researcher, University of Plymouth. Consultant, Blue Marine Foundation
I am a marine ecologist undertaking research focussing on the impacts of various anthropogenic activities on protected marine habitats. My primary focus is the impact of commercial fisheries, having been involved with the Lyme Bay reef recovery monitoring since 2010. I have also contributed to research on the impacts of marine renewable installations and marine litter. I completed my PhD which assessed the impacts of commercial potting on reef habitats and the associated commercially important fauna within the Lyme Bay MPA. Currently I am a Visiting Researcher with the University of Plymouth and a Marine Consultant for the Blue Marine Foundation, coordinating research projects across multiple study sites throughout the UK with the aim of providing conservation benefits from, and improving the sustainability of, small-scale fisheries.
Dr Bede Ffinian Rowe Davies
PhD – The effectiveness of partially protected areas for ecosystem-based fisheries management
Supervisory team: Dr Emma Sheehan (DoS), Prof. Martin Attrill, Dr Luke Holmes
I joined Dr Emma Sheehan’s research group as a PhD Candidate. My research interests are primarily focused around the effects of human activities on ecosystem dynamics, with specific relevance to fragile ecosystems or habitats. I have worked on on research projects worldwide, along the South Coast of England, mainland coast of Ecuador and Galapagos Archipelago. The themes of these projects all come within the topic of anthropogenic effects on habitats from overfishing, artisanal fishing practises to plastic pollution and Invasive Species. This interest in anthropogenic effects feeds perfectly into my PhD subject which focuses on benthic assemblage dynamics in the long term Marine Protected Area at Lyme Bay, a high traffic fishery area.
Dr Samantha Blampied
Supervisory team: Dr Emma Sheehan (DoS), Prof. Martin Attrill, Dr Sian Rees, Francis Binney, Dr Paul Chambers
I live on a small island where fisheries provide a high source of income and I am interested in finding ways to best manage our marine resources and protect key habitats to allow a sustainable fishery to thrive into the future. Two No Mobile Gear Zones (NMGZs) have recently been designated around offshore reefs within Jersey’s territorial waters and the main focus of my PhD assessing the socio-economic value and biodiversity of key habitats inside and outside these NMGZs to determine their impact. This PhD formed a central part of a wider project being run by Blue Marine Foundation and I will be working with them to increase awareness of our offshore habitats and to involve local fishermen in marine science.