Dr Emma Sheehan

Associate Professor of Marine Ecology, University of Plymouth Marine Institute

Marine ecologist leading a research team that studies human impact on marine ecosystems to inform environmental policy and management. I study benthic systems, which are potentially affected by marine protected areas, fisheries/offshore aquaculture, marine renewable energy and dredging.

Amy Cartwright

Research assistant – CEFOW

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 involves epibenthic assessments to determine the interaction of marine renewable energy installations with seabed ecology. My research interests centre on marine protected area (MPA) management and implementation, marine ecology and conservation (particularly of coastal environments), human impacts and the sustainable use of the marine environment. I have also been involved in the annual Lyme Bay Marine Reserve monitoring project which Emma’s team have been undertaking since the closure of this area in 2008, as well as a project looking at the environmental impact of scallop ranching.
Twitter: @amyycartwright

Dr Luke Holmes

Postdoctoral Research Fellow – SEA Wave

As an environmental scientist with a varied research background including estuarine chemistry, microplastics and benthic ecology, I thrive on the interdisciplinary challenges that working on marine ecology and management presents. I am working on the EMFF-EASME funded SEA Wave project which aims to elucidate the environmental effects of wave energy converters.

Dr Simon Pittman

Project manager – ROPE

Simon has been providing ecological information, training and decision-support tools to support effective marine protected area management and marine spatial planning for more than 20 years. For the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration he has provided scientific information direct to decision makers through close collaboration with the National Park Service, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, NGOs, fishing and SCUBA diving industry, community groups and local government agencies. This work has produced in-depth assessments of MPA ecological performance, helped determine threats to marine ecosystem health and identified priority areas for conservation action, such as vulnerable coastal habitats, diverse coral reefs, and fish spawning areas. Simon has contributed to the development of marine spatial plans for Hawaii, the Gulf of Maine, Oregon and Washington States including planning for offshore renewable energy operations. His current work has become more holistic, with a focus on blue urbanism and the concept of community-led marine parks for coastal cities as a spatial nexus to address multiple sustainable development targets. He is the editor and author of the book Seascape Ecology and serves as a science advisor to the World Commission on Protected Areas’ Specialist Working Group on Marine Connectivity Conservation and the Global Ocean Refuge System and is an active member of the University of Plymouth’s Marine and Coastal Policy Research Unit.

Dr Adam Rees

Postdoctoral researcher with the Blue Marine Foundation & University of Plymouth

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 working with the Blue Marine Foundation coordinating research projects across multiple study sites throughout the UK, with the aim of providing conservation benefits and improving the sustainability of small-scale fisheries.

Thomas Stamp

PhD candidate – Bass nurseries

Supervisory team: Dr Emma Sheehan (DoS), Prof. Martin Attrill, Dr Elizabeth Ross, Tim Robbins, Shaun Plenty

My research interest 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 is 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 will be assessing 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 will be achieved.

Danielle Bridger

PhD candidate – 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.

Samantha Blampied

PhD candidate – No Mobile Gear Zones

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 will be to assess the socio-economic value and biodiversity of key habitats inside and outside these NMGZs to determine their impact. This PhD forms 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.

Bede Ffinian Rowe Davies

PhD candidate – The effectiveness of partially protected areas for ecosystem-based fisheries management

Supervisory team: Dr Emma Sheehan (DoS), Prof. Martin Attrill, Dr Luke Holmes

I recently 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.

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.


University of Plymouth



Twitter: @LluciaMascorda

David Cox

PhD candidate – Scallop ranching

Supervisory team: Prof. Martin Attrill (DoS), Dr Emma Sheehan, Dr Sian Rees