Academic staff




 Rolf Alto Professor Rolf Aalto
Associate Professor of Physical Geography

I am a geologist and physical geographer who studies the dynamics of river systems, especially larger rivers in the tropics. I have a number of NERC, NSF, and NASA-funded projects that document the controls on fluxes of minerals and carbon within these systems, in response to climate and sea level fluctuations.

Current research is focused on modelling and measuring the discharge of sediment and carbon to the ocean by the Mekong River, the Fly River (Papua New Guinea), and major tributaries of the Amazon River. A recent Nature publication highlights the importance of Tropical Cyclones as a major unstudied source of the mineral flux needed to sustain deltas and shallow marine environments.

Besides fieldwork, my active research includes modelling the response of deltas and shallow marine environments to changes in sea level using custom code developed for bespoke GPU-based computer systems.


Neil Adger

Professor Neil Adger
Professor of Human Geography 
Web profile

I am a social scientist with interests in human use of coastal and marine resources and living space.

I have a number of projects that study how climate change creates social vulnerability in coastal areas and how populations respond to these threats. Some of this work focuses on ecosystem services in coastal areas and on behavioral responses to risk.

Other research looks at migration and links between urban and rural areas as part of wider demographic changes in coasts. These projects are focused at present in Africa and Asia, particularly in delta regions.

I am interested in developing new research and collaborations on health, well-being and place attachment and identity in coasts.

Stuart Bearhop

Professor Stuart Bearhop
Professor of Animal Ecology
Web profile 

I am an animal ecologist with a focus on the causes and consequences (both evolutionary and demographic) of intrapopulation variation in foraging ecology and migration . In doing this I apply a range of tools including GPS tracking, stable isotopes and social network analyses.

With respect to marine work I have a long term study on Brent geese (a keystone species for intertidal eel grass beds) and have worked on seabirds for over 20 years (including ecotoxicology and fisheries interaction work).

Outside these areas I am in the process of setting up a study on urban gulls, which will investigate the use of human waste and risk taking behaviour, particularly around coastal towns and villages.

Annette Broderick

Dr Annette Broderick
Associate Professor of Marine Conservation

I am a conservation biologist with a keen interest in human wildlife conflict, in particular the challenges of protecting wildlife whilst reducing poverty.

My research has primarily focused on marine turtle and shark populations, assessing their status, spatial distribution, behaviour and more recently assessing the drivers of legal and illegal fisheries through biological monitoring and socio-economic techniques.

Much of my research has led to the development of legislation for the protection of marine wildlife but I am particularly interested in expanding my research to investigate the drivers of human behaviour that impact biodiversity.

Katrina Brown

Professor Katrina Brown
Professor of Social Sciences
Web profile

I am a social scientist working on understanding social ecological systems and how they deal with change. I am especially interested in understanding how people recognise, understand, respond to and shape change. 

A core part of my work is focused on coasts, as sites of rapid transformation, including urbanisation, changing livelihoods and resource use, and where climate change impacts are experienced alongside other stressors. Many of these areas, in both developing and developed countries, are currently sites for adaptation and mal-adaptation. I am interested in how people construct resilience and create collective visions and strategies to deal with different kinds of shocks and changes. Current work looks at the intersections of poverty and extreme weather in coastal communities, and the impacts of El Nino on wellbeing and risk perception.


Jo Browse

Dr Jo Browse
Lecturer in Physical Geography

I'm an atmospheric scientist interested in the coupling between ocean, atmospheric and sea-ice systems in the Arctic..

My over-arching research goal is to tackle the challenge of the evolving Arctic, predicting the impact of future climate change, using complex earth system models.

Currently I'm planning projects on diverse topics such as, the effect of Arctic shipping on ocean acidification and ice-albedo, the impact of high-latitude dust storms on the Arctic climate system and the role of ocean biological processes in Arctic cloud formation.

Michael Cant

Professor Michael Cant
Professor of Evolutionary Biology
Web profile 

I study the evolution of cooperation and conflict in animal societies ranging from insects to cetaceans to primates. I have a particular interest in the evolution of life history in long-lived social mammals.

I study the evolution of menopause and longevity in a population of resident killer whales of the North West coast of the USA, and am currently conducting research to understand the evolution of sex-differences in longevity and fertility across cetacean species.

I also run a long-term project studying life history variation in wild banded mongooses in Uganda.

Tomas Chaigneau

Dr Tomas Chaigneau
Lecturer in Social Sciences for our Environment
Web profile

I am an interdisciplinary social scientist interested in the relationship between people’s wellbeing and the natural environment. This entails furthering our understanding of how coastal ecosystem services can contribute to material, social or relational wellbeing to identify opportunities for sustainable poverty alleviation or prevention.

My research also focuses on interpreting and anticipating people’s responses to natural resource management interventions along the coast. In particular this has led me to investigate what predicts the support of individuals and communities towards the use of marine protected areas.

Dan Charman

Professor Dan Charman
Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean
Web profile

My principal expertise is in peat-forming ecosystems, which have a key role in ecosystem services (carbon storage, biodiversity, water supply), but are also unique in recording their own past through the accumulation of layers of peat.

In relation to the marine environment, I most work on reconstructing sea-level change from saltmarsh sediments. Most recently, I led the Lyonesse project, an English Heritage funded project to discover past rates of sea-level change and landscape development during the Mesolithic through to Medieval times on the Isles of Scilly. We are also developing new techniques to reconstruct sea-level change using the remains of testate amoebae.

Mat Collins

Professor Mat Collins
Joint Met Office Chair in Climate Change
Web profile 

My interests are in the role of the ocean in physical aspects climate variability and climate change.

In the tropics, the ocean and atmosphere are tightly coupled together through exchanges of heat and momentum. This coupling produces variability such as the El Nio Southern Oscillation. The ocean also stores part of the excess heat from increased greenhouse gases, slowing the rate of global temperature change. This process can fluctuate on decadal time scales and temporarily slow or accelerate the rate of warming, producing phenomena such as the global warming hiatus.

I use climate models to study these aspects of the ocean.

Peter Connor

Dr Peter Connor
Senior Lecturer in Renewable Energy Policy

I am interested in the wider policy and regulatory environment which can help or hinder the innovation processes to drive marine renewable energy (MRE) devices towards technological and commercial maturity.

This includes factors that impact the economics of MRE at its various stages of development as well as social, technological, institutional, planning and other issues.

I have carried out work to explore the national MRE policy environment in the UK and France and an in-depth assessment of innovation processes in the UK.

Darren Croft

Professor Darren Croft
Associate Professor of Animal Behaviour
Web profile
Video link

I am a behavioural ecologist and my research focuses on the ecology and evolution of group living.

My current research in the marine environment is examining the role of social factors in driving life history evolution in the Northeast Pacific resident killer whales which have the longest post-reproductive lifespan of all non-human animals; females stop reproducing in their 30s-40s but can survive into their 90s.

In my previous work I have examined social behaviour and personality in species of shark in both the tropics (lemon sharks) and in the UK (catsharks).

I am particularly interested in developing new lines of research to examine the evolution of social behaviour and life history in marine vertebrates using comparative approaches.

Michael Depledge

Professor Michael Depledge
Chair of Environment and Human Health, European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School
Web profile 

My research has focused on marine ecotoxicology, examining how environmental chemicals and radiations affect the biology and evolution of marine invertebrates.

I have also conducted a wide range of medical research. I was formerly Chief Scientist of the Environment Agency, working at the science/policy interface with Government.

Since 1990, I have led research programmes in Brazil, Costa Rica, India, China and Vietnam to develop the RAMP (Rapid Assessment of Marine Pollution) programme for UNEPs Global Oceans Observing System (GOOS). I remain an advisor for UNEP and the WHO.

My current interests are in oceans and human health.

Regan Early

Dr Regan Early
Lecturer in Conservation Science
Web profile 

I study the effects of human activity on wildlife in terrestrial and marine environments globally.

I use patterns in species distributions to understand many aspects of species ecology climate tolerances, biotic interactions, population dynamics and how these will be affected by changes in climate and other environmental stressors such as fishing.

I work at large scales, using computer models to study hundreds of species around the world.

Currently Im supervising a PhD project on the Gilt-head bream, one of the most sought after marine fish species in Europe and a model species for studying climate-driven range expansion in marine organisms and the resulting ecological and societal impacts.

Lewis Elliott

Dr Lewis Elliott
Associate Research Fellow in Environment and Human Health
Web profile

I am an environmental psychologist currently working on the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 funded BlueHealth project.

My primary research interest is in how different natural environments affect health and wellbeing. My research to date has examined factors affecting the practice of physical activity in natural, and particularly marine, environments and also how walking in natural environments could be better promoted using behaviour change theories.

In the BlueHealth project, I am responsible for the delivery of a large-scale online survey examining how populations of European countries interact with aquatic environments and the health and wellbeing outcomes this brings about. I will also be contributing to community-level studies examining the health effects to local communities of modifications to marine environments.


Louisa Evans Dr Louisa Evans
Lecturer in Human Geography
Web profile

I am an interdisciplinary social scientist interested in environmental governance and sustainable development, primarily within coastal and marine environments. I have worked in coastal East Africa, the Pacific, Australia and the UK as well as on international comparative research.

My research explores the effectiveness and impacts of different approaches to fisheries, marine and coastal governance. In particular, I focus on issues of leadership, participation, knowledge exchange and power to understand outcomes including wellbeing and resilience.

I welcome new collaborations that take an interdisciplinary approach across natural and social sciences and the arts and humanities.


Richard Ffrench-Constant

Professor Richard Ffrench-Constant
Chair of Molecular Natural History
Web profile 

I am a molecular biologist who is increasingly interested in conservation.

We have been examining the sustainability of the Fal native oyster fishery and the extent to which it is maintained by inefficient fishing. We have been studying the impact of sail driven dredging for oysters and trying to assess the efficacy of current size limits on the estuarine native oyster population.

I am also interested in examining the complexity of the microbial population associated with these oysters and in testing the hypothesis that a decline in diversity increases the prevalence of potential pathogens.

Lora Fleming

Professor Lora Fleming
Chair of Oceans, Epidemiology and Human Health, Director of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School
Web profile 

I am a physician and epidemiologist with more than two decades of experience and expertise in the new metadiscipline of Oceans and Human Health.

Oceans and Human Health brings together oceanographic and marine sciences with biomedical, public health and social sciences for truly inter/multi-disciplinary research, training and impact around benefits, as well as risks, of the interactions between humans and the marine environment, to improve both ecosystem and human health.

I have received the 2013 Edouard Delcroix and the 2015 IOC Bruun Prizes for my work in this area.

I hope to make the University of Exeter in Cornwall an international Leader in Oceans and Human Health.

Tamara Galloway

Professor Tamara Galloway
Professor of Ecotoxicology
Web profile 

My research focus is in marine pollution.

My research group studies the biological effects of environmental chemicals in human and wildlife populations. We conduct field and laboratory studies to determine how pollutants enter the food web and their effects on animal and human health.

We study both legacy contaminants (crude oil, dispersants and oil production chemicals) and novel substances of concern (endocrine disruptors, microplastics and nanomaterials).

I am particularly interested in developing new lines of research on marine litter (including microplastics) and other persistent pollutants and their impacts across trophic webs.

William Gaze

Dr William Gaze
Associate Professor in Microbial Ecology
Web profile 

My background is in marine and aquatic biology,.
My current research programme focuses on the evolution of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the natural environment, particularly on how anthropogenic pollution drives selection for antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic residues are present in the aquatic environment and the ability of these low concentrations to drive evolution of resistance is a key question.

My research has shown that waste water treatment plants disseminate resistance on a catchment scale and that transmission from environment to humans is also possible via direct contact with coastal waters.

Further research focuses on the interactions of viral and bacterial pathogens with particulates and how this mediates uptake and bioaccumulation by shellfish.

Brendan Godley

Professor Brendan Godley
Professor of Conservation Science
Web profile 

I am a conservation scientist and have been studying large marine vertebrates for over 25 years involving field projects around the world focusing on long-term population monitoring, studies of migration using satellite tracking and reproductive biology, especially incorporating the likely impacts of climate change.

My research has expanded into the study of marine vertebrates in the UK, interactions with industrial and artisanal fisheries, assessing the possible impacts of marine renewable energy facilities and developing novel methods of assessing marine biodiversity.

I am particularly interested in developing new lines of research on the impacts of climate change and marine litter (including microplastics) and other pollutants.

James Grellier

Dr James Grellier
Research Fellow
Web profile

I am an epidemiologist focusing on the assessment of the effects of the environment, positive and negative, human health and wellbeing. I have a particular interest in the application of epidemiological data to health risk prediction and health impact assessments relating to complex environmental stressors.

At present I am working on the Horizon 2020-funded BlueHealth project, an international programme of research looking at the role Europe’s blue spaces (particularly the coastline) play in shaping the public health and well-being status of European populations.

As well as contributing to the development of a large international survey, which will evaluate health and wellbeing related to blue and green space in a number of European regions, I am also analysing secondary data from national and international databases with a view to understanding how exposure to blue space affects various measures of health.
In parallel to my role as a researcher, I also serve as the Project Manager for the BlueHealth project.


Andrew Griffiths

Dr Andrew Griffiths
Lecturer in Biological Sciences
Web profile 

My research addresses broad questions in ecology and evolution, with a particular focus on utilising molecular approaches to solving problems that are intractable with traditional ecological methods.

Fish have been my biological system of choice, due to the variety of habitats they occupy and the commercial and conservation significance of many species. As a result I have used genetics to track salmon and their movements away from their natal populations, discovered cryptic species of critically endangered elasmobranches, investigated marine connectivity and have current interests in seafood authenticity to uncover mislabelling and illegal sales of listed marine species.

Nick Groom

Professor Nick Groom 
Professor of English
Web profile 

I work in literature and culture, with a focus on identity formation through the environment and intangible cultural heritage, am co-director of ECLIPSE (Exeter Centre for Literatures of Identity, Place, and Sustainability), and a founding member of AARC (Atlantic Archipelagos Research Consortium).

I am particularly interested in integrating culture with research in climate change and ecosystems services.

With Nicholas Allen and Jos Smith I am editor of Coastal Works : Literatures of the Atlantic Edge, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2016; my own contribution examines the politics and folklore of maritime culture through plans to drain the Irish Sea.

Paul Halloran

Dr Paul Halloran
Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

Pauls primary research interests focus on understanding the role of the marine carbon cycle within the Earth system. His multi-disciplinary background allows this to be tacked in a novel way.

Pauls degree and PhD were in the Department of Earth Sciences in Oxford, where working with Ros Rickaby, he examined ENSO change over the Pliocene, developed novel geochemical climate proxy techniques, and investigated the impact of ocean acidification on calcifying phytoplankton.

After his PhD Paul moved to the Met Office Hadley Centre as a scientist, then senior scientist in ocean biogeochemical modeling. In the Hadley Centre Paul was heavily involved in the development, validation and application of the Earth System Model HadGEM2-ES. Working with this model, Paul and colleagues investigated the mechanisms behind novel biogeochemical climate feedbacks, the role of anthropogenic aerosols in recent climate change, reversibility in the earth system and more. In 2013 Paul took up a lectureship in the School of Geography, University of Exeter, becoming a senior lecturer in 2016, where he is working to unite past and future climate research to help improve our understanding of the Earth system.

Stephan Harrison

Dr Stephan Harrison,
Associate Professor of Quaternary Science
Web profile 

I am a climate scientist working on climate change impacts, natural hazards and climate change adaptation.

Most of my work has concentrated on the impact of climate change on mountain glacial systems. Much of this has been focused in the Patagonian Andes where oceanic systems are a major driver of glacier behaviour.

I am particularly interested in the ways in which oceanic processes have combined with the atmosphere to initiate periods of glaciations and deglaciation over geological time periods.

Lucy Hawkes

Dr Lucy Hawkes
Lecturer in Physiological Ecology
Web profile

I am a physiological ecologist, whose work focuses on the costs and drivers of migration in vertebrates using emergent technologies such as satellite telemetry, heart rate logging, accelerometry and metabolic rate measurements.

I use technical approaches including spatial ecology, remote sensing and respirometry to make empirical measurements that help in the understanding of amazing migratory performances. My work has also investigated the impact of external forcing factors, such as climate change and disease ecology on migration and breeding ecology. I have worked on marine turtles, tiger sharks, basking sharks and stingrays.


Alex Haywood

Dr Alexander Hayward
Web profile

I use molecular tools to address a range of ecological and evolutionary questions. I am currently using environmental DNA (eDNA) methods to survey the composition of local fish communities, and in particular, to investigate the presence of seahorses in local seagrass meadows.

Complex multicellular organisms continually shed cells and the DNA they contain is environmentally persistent over short timescales. Environmental DNA methods are based on detecting these small quantities of DNA and they provide a useful option for species that are hard to survey using traditional approaches. Seahorses represent classic ‘hard to find’ taxa, being small, rare, cryptic, and mobile. Information on the presence/absence and relative abundance of seahorses can provide a basis for more targeted conservation work, to help safeguard these charismatic native marine organisms.

I am also interested in community composition and phylgeography more widely, as well as fish parasites and the factors that influence parasite load.'

Nicholas Hill

Dr Nicholas Hill
Web profile 

I started working with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in 2002, first as a field biologist in northern Mozambique, then as an MSc and PhD student, and currently as Conservation for Communities Technical Specialist in the Marine and Freshwater team.

My work focuses on finding innovative and sustainable solutions to this problem in the coastal areas of developing countries.

I co-founded and co-lead the Net-Works initiative ( - an award-winning collaboration with carpet tile company Interface that turns waste fishing nets into a force for social and environmental good. We are further developing this supply chain to incorporate other products that support community-based conservation initiatives. I also established the Our Sea Our Life project, an EU- and UK-funded initiative in northern Mozambique (

Dave Hodgson

Professor Dave Hodgson,
Associate Professor of Ecology
Web profile 

I am a statistical ecologist and demographer with a focus on the impacts of disturbances and perturbations on population dynamics. I use a variety of statistical tools, including Bayesian, frequentist and information theoretic approaches, to tackle real-world problems with associated survey and experimental datasets.

With respect to marine research I work with the demography of migrant waterfowl; aquaculture and mariculture of lobsters; population genetics of lobsters; biodiversity benefits of marine protected areas; marine turtle population dynamics and life histories; ecological impacts of marine renewable energy installations.

Lars Johanning

Professor Lars Johanning
Associate Professor in Ocean Energy
Web profile 

I have leading roles in the international research community in the field of mooring systems, reliability and hydrodynamics for offshore renewable energy devices.

My research activities include loading and dynamic response of mono-towers in steep and breaking waves and hydrodynamic studies on station keeping principles for marine renewable devices within SuperGen UKCMER.

I have led the development of the Falmouth Bay marine energy test site, which has seen the successful deployment of the Fred Olsen wave energy device.

I am providing expert advice within the mooring standard committee to the IEC/TC114, I am also a member of the Research Advisory Group to the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, have core roles in the Industrial Doctorial Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE) and currently advise the European Commission on the development of the EU Ocean Energy Roadmap.

Heather Koldeway

Professor Heather Koldewey
Associate Honorary Professor, University of Exeter, Head of Marine and Freshwater Conservation, ZSL
Web profile 

I started working for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in 1995, initially as a postdoctoral research scientist, then as curator of the ZSL London Zoo Aquarium, and currently as Head of Marine and Freshwater Conservation.

I am also an Associate Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter..

My work focuses on finding solutions through interdisciplinary research and conservation action.

The scale of my work ranges from community-managed mangrove rehabilitation in the Philippines, to open ocean research in remote, near-pristine island archipelagos.

Tetsu Kudoh

Dr Tetsu Kudoh
Senior Lecturer in Developmental Biology
Web profile 

I am a developmental biologist who studies embryo and larval development of fish and molluscs. The species I study include marine species such as the mangrove killifish, Arabian killifish, sea snails and bivalves.

I also study freshwater fish including zebrafish and South American knifefish. I study mechanisms of normal larval development, as well as the effects of water pollution and endocrine disrupting chemicals on the development of embryos and larvae.

Tim Lenton

Professor Tim Lenton
Chair in Climate Change/Earth System Science
Web profile 

My research focuses on understanding the behaviour of the Earth as a whole system through the development and use of Earth system models.

I have an interest in what regulates the nutrient balance of the ocean and the oxygen content of the atmosphere.

My research group is currently developing an evolutionary ecosystem model of the marine microbial biosphere to better understand the role of the marine ecosystem in the Earth system, past, present and future.

I am particularly interested in how life has reshaped the planet in the past, and what lessons we can draw from this as we proceed to reshape the planet now.

Ceri Lewis

Dr Ceri Lewis
Marine Biology Lecturer
Web profile 

My research focuses on the biological impacts of climate change, ocean acidification and pollution on the health and reproductive biology of marine invertebrates.

My research group work in a range of marine habitats including the High Canadian Arctic, the North Atlantic Grye and UK rocky shores using a combination of field based sampling and laboratory exposure techniques.

We work on a range of environmental stressors including ocean acidification, microplastics, metals and pharmaceuticals.

I am particularly interested in developing new lines of research into the impacts of multiple stressors and determining both the current health and the adaptation potential of marine organisms to the rapid changes occurring in the marine environment.

Catherine Leyshon

Professor Catherine Leyshon
Associate Professor of Human Geography
Web profile 

I have 20 years of research experience on identity, place and landscapes. I bring qualitative social sciences and humanities-led approaches to: understanding and communicating climate change at the landscape scale; examining risk, uncertainty and ambiguity in decision-making and management of landscapes of high ecological value; and greater inclusion of non-expert or lay knowledge in the search for local and community-led adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Although this work has been conducted in Cornwalls landscapes and catchments, I am interested in developing research that is more specifically focused on coastal and estuarine communities and environments.

Chris Lowe

Dr Chris Lowe
Lecturer in Ecology and Evolution
Web profile 

I am a molecular ecologist and specialise in understanding how environmental gradients shape population structure, physiological diversity, and species interactions.

My work focuses on marine microorganisms (in particular algae and protozoa) and I combine field studies, lab experimentation, and molecular biology to understand how these organisms, and the processes they influence (eg, rates of primary production and consumption), respond to variation in the abiotic environment.

Increasingly my research is focused on endosymbioses (eg, those between algae and sea anemones) and how these important associations are likely to adapt in changes in light and temperature regimes and increases in environmental pollutants.

Illya Maclean

Dr Ilya Maclean
Lecture in Natural Environment
Web profile  

My research interests are diverse, but mostly entail attempting to devise means of reducing the impacts of environmental change and human activities on biodiversity. I work closely with local, national and international policy-makers and practitioners to achieve this.

In the marine environment, I specialise in assessing the effects of renewable energy devices on wildlife and improving the ecological impact assessment of these.

I am particularly interested in developing new lines of research on climate change impacts and human-wildlife conflicts in marine protected areas.

Karyn Morrissey

Dr Karyn Morrissey
Senior Lecturer in the European Centre for Environment and Human Health
Web profile

An economist by background that specializes in the science-policy-industry interface, I am a senior lecturer in the European Centre for Environment and Human Health in the University of Exeter. My book The Economics of the Marine: Modelling Natural Resources’ has been published by Rowman & Littlefield (2017).

On completing my PhD (University of Leeds, 2008), I undertook a research role at the Social Economic Marine Research Unit in NUI, Galway where I produced the first economic valuation of Ireland’s ocean economy in 2010. This report provided the baseline estimates for Ireland’s current marine strategy, ‘Harnessing our Ocean Wealth: An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland’.

More recent research involved a report on the ‘Economic Study of the Job Creation Potential for Ireland’s Maritime Cluster, IMERC’ and a report on the ‘Future of MSP and Ocean monitoring: What potential for Economic Tools and Satellite Technology’ for the OECD.

I have published over 40 publications in peer reviewed international journals ranging from developing an appropriate method for analyzing the ocean economy, to input-output tables of the Irish marine economy. I have been a rapporteur for an OECD Workshop on the Future of Maritime Spatial Planning and Ocean Monitoring. She was an invited speaker at the Second Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster Annual Conference in Cork in 2013, and an invited keynote speaker at the National Ocean Forum in Mauritius in 2012.

Karyn is membership secretary of the British and Irish Regional Science Association, and an editorial board member of the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics and Marine Policy.

Chris Perry

Professor Chris Perry
Professor in Physical Geography
Web profile 

My research focuses on understanding the response of coral reefs and low-lying coral reef islands to environmental change. This includes work that uses records from the recent past as a context to understand contemporary ecological and geomorphological reef states, and work based around projecting the response of reefs and islands to future change, including sea-level rise.

My group seeks to tackles these issues through empirical (largely field-based) studies and we have particular on-going interests in quantifying coral reef growth potential, in understanding reef development within more marginal marine settings, in constraining rates and timescales of reef island formation, and in quantify rates of carbonate sand generation within reef and reef-related settings.

Wiebke Schmidt Dr Wiebke Schmidt
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Web profile

I am a marine biologist and environmental toxicologist with an interest in coastal water quality, and the occurrence and potential biological effects of anthropogenic pollutants, such as heavy metals and human pharmaceuticals. Further research interests includes how climate change impacts fisheries and aquaculture (eg ocean acidification).

In my work I have used a variety of techniques (eg biomarker, proteomics) in laboratory experiments and field studies. Currently, I am modelling environmental factors to investigate what drives the water quality in different shellfish waters. This information will be used to support shellfish farmers in their management decisions.


Katy Sheen

Dr Katy Sheen
Lecturer in Physical Geography

I am a climate scientist and study the physical processes that drive our oceans and atmosphere, and how they may respond to a changing climate.

My research has largely been focused in the remote Southern Ocean, where I have spent many months in the field collecting information about abyssal turbulent mixing processes. These measurements are important because they ultimately influence the uptake of heat and carbon by the oceans.

I am also developing an autonomous acoustic method of sampling temperature and salinity horizons in the oceans. Because these measurements have high spatial resolutions, they will help to answer fundamental questions about important smaller-scale oceanic processes, otherwise very difficult to capture.

I have expanded my research to atmospheric physics and climate modelling. I have been looking at how well climate models can predict summer rainfall levels in the Sahel region of Africa, an area particularly vulnerable to persistent and devastating droughts.

I am particularly interested in the mechanisms that drive Sahel rainfall variability on different timescales, and how they are modulated by changes in the global oceans.


Jamie Shutler

Dr Jamie Shutler
Senior Lecturer in Ocean Science
Web profile 

I am an oceanographer with a wide range of interests that exploit in situ observations, satellite Earth observation, remote sensing and models to study and monitor the marine environment, particularly in relation to climate and water quality. This includes studying atmosphere-ocean gas exchange of climatically important gases, the distribution of calcium carbonate in the ocean, evaluating the quality of model and Earth observation data, and developing approaches for water quality monitoring of bathing waters and aquaculture sites.

I also have interests in developing and exploiting computer vision techniques for biometrics (gait), medical imaging (breast cancer) and surface ocean currents.

Steve Simpson Professor Steve Simpson
Associate Professor in Marine Biology & Global Change
Web profile

I am a marine ecologist with particular interests in fish life cycles, dispersal and connectivity of populations, bioacoustics, natural soundscapes and population dynamics. But the world is changing in unprecedented ways, so much of my attention now focuses on effects of global warming, ocean acidification and anthropogenic noise on fish and marine invertebrates, and impacts of these pollutants alongside fishing on marine populations and ecosystems. Despite these challenges, I am an optimist and a bioengineer, and so much of my research is conducted alongside industrial partners to develop technological solutions, improve management, and educate and inspire future generations of problem-solvers.

Nick Smirnoff

Professor Nick Smirnoff
Professor of Plant Biochemistry
Web profile 

One of my research areas is algal and cyanobacterial metabolism and biochemistry.

I am particularly interested in photosynthesis, temperature responses and the function/evolution of antioxidant systems in marine and freshwater algae.

We have also been exploring the use of metabolite profiling to detect changes in species composition/function of phytoplankton communities.

Helen Smith

Dr Helen Smith
Lecturer in Renewable Energy
Web profile 

My research is primarily focused on resource assessment for offshore energy developments, assessing the availability of wave and tidal energy and its spatial and temporal variability.

I am particularly interested in the application and development of numerical models for both resource prediction and assessment of potential impacts due to marine energy devices.

I am also interested in the wider applicability of these tools to other marine industries which face similar challenges in dealing with extreme wave events.

My research has expanded into aquaculture, developing models to support the offshore testing of a new farming system for the European lobster.

Jamie Stevens

Professor Jamie Stevens
Associate Professor of Molecular Systematics
Web profile 

My research utilises population genetic methods (microsatellites, Rad-seq, SNPs) to explore questions of movement and connectivity in the marine environment.

I conduct research into the at-sea movements and migrations of anadromous species including Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), trout (Salmo trutta) and shad (Alosa sp.).

My laboratory has been a partner in several major European Union-funded projects, focused on these species.

I also work on genetic connectivity in marine invertebrates and has studied patterns of genetic connectivity in the Caribbean coral, Orbicella annularis, and their associated zooxanthellae populations. I have also explored connectivity in temperate octocorals (seafans); data is now being used by Natural England/JNCC/Defra to inform decisions on the designation of candidate UK marine protected areas.

Martin Stevens

Professor Martin Stevens
Associate Professor in Sensory and Evolutionary Ecology
Web profile

My research focuses on sensory and evolutionary ecology, with a particular interest in animal vision, coloration, and behaviour.

Much off the work in my lab uses marine animals, especially from the intertidal zone, including rock pool gobies, shore crabs, chameleon prawns and others. The work focuses on the mechanisms and functions of colour change, from the physiological processes involved to the adaptive value in terms of achieving camouflage in different habitats. We use digital image analysis and vision modelling, as well as colour change experiments in the lab and field.

More recently, we have also started projects on how climate change (ocean temperature and acidification) and light pollution impact on colour change and anti-predator behaviour, and on other applied questions. We work with organisations such as Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Zoological Lighting Institute, and National Lobster Hatchery.


David Studholme Professor David Studholme
Associate Professor in Bioinformatics
Web profile

My research focuses on genomics of a broad range of microbes and plants and my main area of expertise is in computational analysis of large molecular sequence datasets.

My research activities encompass collaborations with Dr Mark van Der Giezen at Exeter and Dr Birgit Oidtmann at Cefas on marine pathogens and on thermal acclimation in diatoms with Professor Gabriel Yvon-Durocher at the Environmental  and Sustainability Institute.


Tim Taylor

Dr Tim Taylor
Senior Lecturer in Environmental and Public Health Economics
Web profile 

I am an economist, with interests in the management and economic valuation of the marine environment.

In the FP6 Thresholds project , I led the work on the valuation of algal blooms in three countries (Belgium, Spain and Bulgaria).

I have worked on coastal zone management, including the use of economic instruments in the marine environment, and issues relating to the impact of climate change in coastal and marine environments.

I would be interested in developing projects around the valuation of environmental risks and ecosystem services in marine and coastal environments.

Ben Temperton

Dr Ben Temperton
Lecturer in Bioinformatics
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My research team combines bioinformatic analyses of metagenomic and metaproteomic data with experiments in model systems to understand how marine microbial communities impact carbon flux between the oceans and the atmosphere.

I am particularly interested in the metabolism of organisms with streamlined genomes, such as the dominant SAR11 clade .

We are currently investigating the interactions of this group with its recently discovered bacteriophages (called the pelagiphages), which are the most abundant viruses on Earth. Given the dominance of SAR11 and its viruses, this research is of major importance to our understanding of marine carbon biogeochemistry.

Richard Titball

Professor Richard Titball
Professor of Molecular Microbiology
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I am interested in the human pathogen Vibrio parahaemolyticus; a leading cause of seafood-associated gastroenteritis worldwide. My work involves investigating the molecular basis of infection by this pathogen as well as understanding the epidemiological significance of this bacterium in the environment.

V. parahaemolyticus can naturally accumulate in filter-feeding bivalve molluscs and in crustacea. As the presence of this bacterium in the environment is dependent on temperature and salinity, it is likely that climate change will increase the presence of V. parahaemolyticus in the environment and consequently the incidence of disease in humans.

Rachel Turner

Dr Rachel Turner
Lecturer in Environmental Social Science
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I am an environmental social scientist focusing on marine resource governance and coastal communities. My research focuses on understanding how socio-economic and environmental contexts drive resource-use behaviour, how resource users respond to change, and the implications of these dynamics for management and governance systems.

I am committed to interdisciplinary research that addresses real world challenges of sustainable natural resource management.

My research has explored supportive governance structures for Caribbean coral reef management. In the UK, I have been working with local partners in Cornwall to investigate how cumulative change has implications for the health and wellbeing of fishing communities.

 Charles R Tyler Professor Charles R Tyler
Professor of Ecotoxicology and Environmental Biology
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My teams research is focused is predominantly on the impacts of pollution on wildlife, but with studies also into disease. We focus on developing and applying novel molecular approaches, including the development of transgenic fish models, for understanding pollution mechanisms and disease processes. A major aim of our work is to seek solutions to problems with pollution and disease.

Our work spans field studies on wild animal populations, to laboratory based chemical and disease exposures, to studies on intensive and extensive aquaculture systems.

In our pollution work, we study a wide range of contaminants spanning endocrine disrupting chemicals, nanomaterials, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and metals.

Our work on disease centres on the most problematic pathogens in world aquaculture, including white spot disease in shrimp and includes work with overseas partners in India, Bangladesh and Malawi.

I also coordinate the Exeter-Cefas strategic alliance which funds 20 PhD studentships principally focused in the area of food security and disease in marine aquaculture (algae to bivalves, crustaceans and fish).

Mark van der Giezen

Dr Mark van der Giezen
Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Biochemistry
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My research interest focuses on molecular adaptation to life without oxygen. In practice this means intestinal microbes and parasites.

I am a molecular biologist and apply next-generation sequencing methods and cell biology to various animal parasites including major human ones but also those affecting fish.

A new research line correlates the microbial metagenome of lobster intestines with lobster health. This is work in collaboration with the National Lobster Hatchery and the centre for fisheries management, environmental protection and aquaculture.

Frank Van Veen

Dr Frank van Veen
Senior Lecturer in Climate Change Biology
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I am interested in the processes that determine the structure and dynamics of networks of interacting species (food webs).

By gaining a mechanistic understanding of these complex ecological systems, I hope to be able to make predictions on how they will respond to environmental change and human impact.

For example, we have recently demonstrated how exploitation of one species can lead to the extinction of others. Research, which I would like to expand, focuses on predicting the spread of range expanding fish (Sparus aurata and others) and their impact on native estuarine and inshore food webs.

Michiel Vos

Dr Michiel Vos,
Lecturer in microbiology
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I research antimicrobial resistance and virulence in the environment, using microbiology-, genomics- and experimental evolution approaches.

My research focuses on natural antimicrobials, ie, compounds produced by organisms such as seaweeds that could be beneficial when developed as novel antibiotics or detrimental in case they co-select for antimicrobial resistance in the environment.

I am a keen observer of Cornish marine natural history through diving and rock pooling.

Stephen Votier

Dr Stephen Votier,
Senior Lecturer Natural Environment
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I am an ecologist primarily interested in pure and applied marine research.

My research has focused on understanding how top predators like seabirds use the marine environment and how they are responding to a rapidly changing world.

My interests span a variety of disciplines including movement ecology, foraging ecology and population dynamics. I employ a variety of techniques including bio-logging, stable isotopes, alongside more conventional techniques such as dietary assessment and censusing, to understand the interactive and additive effects of climate change, pollution, renewables and fisheries.

Andrew Watson

Professor Andrew Watson
Royal Society Research Professor
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Im an Earth System scientist, with a special interest in the processes controlling atmospheric CO2 and oxygen concentrations, and their connection to the Earths climate.

I have contributed to a wide variety of topics, including the atmospheres of other planets, physics and biogeochemistry of the oceans, paleoclimatology and astrobiology.

I lead the atmospheres and oceans research group , which specialises in making and interpreting ocean and atmosphere measurements to high accuracy.

Benedict Wheeler

Dr Benedict Wheeler,
Senior Research Fellow
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I am a health geographer and environmental epidemiologist at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, in the University of Exeter Medical School.

I have been researching the interconnections between the environment and human health for more than 15 years, primarily applying statistical and geographical analysis methods to large secondary datasets. This frequently involves the use of GIS to link data on individual and population health to the characteristics of the environments in which they live.

For the last few years I have been part of the team at the European Centre investigating the health and wellbeing impacts of living near and visiting coastal environments, such as improved mental health and increased physical activity.

I am interested in developing research on all aspects of how peoples health may be affected positively and negatively by interacting with marine environments, including connections with socio-economic health inequalities.

Matthew White

Dr Mathew White
Senior Lecturer
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I am an environmental psychologist with an interest in how natural environments influence peoples health and well-being.

I have coordinate the Blue Gym project at the Medical School, which is looking particularly how aquatic environments (coastal and inland waters) influence health and well-being.

Our approach to these questions is broad, including systematic reviews, analysis of large cross-sectional and longitudinal panel surveys, lab experiments and field studies. Much of our work has looked at environmental features but increasingly we are looking at the role of aquatic biodiversity.

Our most current work attempts to put monetary values on the benefits to health and well-being from marine and inland waters to aid policy decisions.

Alastair Wilson

Dr Alastair Wilson
Associate Professor of Evolutionary Biology
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I am an evolutionary biologist who studies the evolution of traits by natural selection in animal populations.

In my group we use genetic, ecological, and statistical approaches to understand how genes and environments act and interact to shape the diversity of life we see around us.

This research includes studies of many different organisms, but at present we are focusing particularly on behavioural and life history evolution in fishes.

We are also working with marine invertebrates, studying the role of personality in prawns and the genetics of aggressive behaviour in sea anemones.

Rod Wilson

Professor Rod W Wilson
Associate Professor of Integrative Animal Physiology
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I am an integrative animal physiologist (ie, I study how animals work) and I use molecular to whole animal approaches, with fish and invertebrates, to understand: How whole animal functions and populations are influenced by environmental change, particularly those linked to climate (temperature, CO2, O2) and anthropogenic contaminants (eg, metals, nutrients, pharmaceuticals); and the reverse viewpoint, ie, how animals can influence their environment (eg, the surprising and major role of fish in the global marine inorganic carbon cycle);, and how physiology can be used to improve the efficiency, sustainability and environmental impact of aquaculture.

Matthew Witt

Dr Matthew Witt
Senior Lecturer in Natural Environment
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I am a marine scientist and conservationist, whose interests focus on improving stewardship of the environment using science and technology.

The work of my research group addresses fundamental and applied aspects of marine ecology, including habitat-use, population assessment and human-wildlife space conflict.

Acquiring knowledge on the distribution and behaviour of marine species and habitats is often challenging, therefore, our work uses a variety of remote data collection technologies, such as satellite tracking, video, thermal IR, and active and passive acoustics for underwater noise assessment, habitat discrimination and fisheries biomass estimation.

We place a strong focus on computation biology, earth observation remote sensing and modelling to improve understanding and capacity to manage human activities at sea.