Dr Emma Sheehan

Senior Research Fellow, Plymouth University 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
Research Gate:


Chloe Game

Research Assistant – BIOTA


My background is centred on Marine Ecology with past research focusing on understanding distribution drivers of deep sea benthic communities, and how this links with marine spatial planning. This has largely focused on cold-water corals and sponges with the use of predictive modelling, habitat mapping and video analysis. I am also interested in disturbance to benthic communities, which led me to join the Lyme Bay MPA Monitoring Project in October 2016, investigating the recovery of benthic communities to the exclusion of towed demersal fishing gear and additionally recovery from extreme storm events. In March 2017, I began working on a project to characterise the ecology of British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) atolls in the western Indian Ocean. The BIOTA project involves the study of planktonic communities across these atolls and investigates the environmental drivers shaping communities.


Dr Luke Holmes

Research Assistant – RETURN

LH Grab

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 funded RETURN project which will provide the longest-running ecological dataset of recovery in any temperate reef system globally. I also love rope splicing and duct tape.


Dr Adam Rees

Post doctoral researcher with the Blue Marine Foundation and Plymouth University


 I am a marine ecologist undertaking research focussing on the impacts of various anthropogenic activities on protected marine habitats. My primary focus is 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 have recently 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: (DoS) Dr Emma Sheehan, Prof. Martin Attrill, Dr Elizabeth Ross, Tim Robbins, Shaun Plenty

Tom Stamp

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

Dani and ROV

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.


David Cox

PhD candidate – Scallop ranching

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



Samantha Blampied

PhD candidate – No Mobile Gear Zones

Supervisory Team: (DoS) Dr Emma Sheehan, 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 marine areas for ecosystem based fisheries management

Supervisory Team: (DoS) Dr Emma Sheehan, Prof. Martin Attrill


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.