Our expertise extends across behavioural, population, community, and evolutionary ecology, engaging with the most pressing conservation issues. Our work is already making a difference to marine protected areas (MPAs), bycatch mitigation, sustainable aquaculture, and renewable energy.
By putting marine conservation at the heart of our research, we are committed to raising the extent of marine protected areas globally as a tool to increase biodiversity, preserve fish populations and fight the global climate crisis.
We have been instrumental in the movement to help create a global network of MPAs, known as the 30x30 campaign. With only 2.7% of the ocean classified as a highly protected zone, 30x30 is calling on governments and world leaders to urgently increase the level of protection for marine environments to preserve life on Earth.
Our work includes on-the-ground, local community engagement to improve understanding of MPA quality and if they are delivering effective conservation.
Our researchers use a range of technologies and innovative methods to fill data gaps and characterise the spatial ecology, distribution, population status and threats to marine vertebrates. In tandem, socio-economic studies considered the needs of user groups and how their needs can be encompassed in marine planning. We are embedded in national agencies to ensure both scientific evidence and international best practice inform new legislation to protect the natural environment.
Over the last decade we’ve helped to create 495,000 km2 of MPAs, - equivalent to 70 million football pitches, in Ascension Island, Gabon, the Republic of Congo and the Ivory Coast and are continually working to build the evidence needed to underpin transformational changes in environmental policy. Specifically, our work with Gabon Bleu has played a significant role in creating nine new national parks and 11 aquatic reserves covering 56,000km². Gabon’s MPAs have become an exemplar model for many other countries.
We’ve worked with industry to drive innovations such as SharkGuard, an exciting technology developed in conjunction with Fishtek Marine to keep sharks and rays away from longline fishing hooks. The study demonstrates that the device can reduce bycatch of blue sharks by 91% and stingrays by 71%. We’ve also successfully demonstrated that LED lights on floating gillnets can cut bycatch of sea turtles by more than 70%. We’re also researching how seabirds in Southern Africa are affected by anthropogenic and environmental changes, studying penguin population dynamics on Robben Island.
Our international collaborations with academics, NGOs such as the Blue Marine Foundation, Marine Conservation Society, Wildlife Conservation Society, Zoological Society of London and the Governments of Ascension Island, Congo, Gabon and the Maldives continue to develop.
It’s a way of working that also generates practical outcomes, working with local communities and NGOs to answer questions and co-create effective solutions.
This is impact-driven marine conservation for a healthier planet.