A marine biologist with a focus on tropical coastal management, I have 20 years’ experience of working in integrated coastal zone management with NGOs, public and private agencies in the Caribbean, Eastern Africa and Egypt. I have extensive natural resource management experience as a Manager of a Marine Park and National Park (8 years in the Dutch Caribbean), and project leader for various bilateral research and development projects. Research and monitoring has included environmental, fishery and sea turtle assessments for Protected Areas in the Caribbean, Egypt, Uganda and Nigeria.

As a Researcher and an Environmental Consultant for both the public and private sector, I have produced and coordinated Protected Area Management Plans, targeted Species Monitoring Plans and Environmental Impact Assessments, with an ongoing personal interest in co-management of natural resources, stakeholder engagement within conservation management policies and activities and communication of conservation and research activities to the wider public. My research interests lie in the understanding of spatial and habitat use by marine species, with a focus on sea turtles and reef fisheries, predominantly in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean.

Areas of Expertise

  • Marine biologist with PhD in ecology of sea turtles and MSc in tropical coastal management
  • Coastal zone specific research has focused on Marine Protected Areas in the Chagos Archipelago, Caribbean and Red Sea
  • 15 years working on conservation ecology (from fieldwork to policy writing) around the world including 8 years as the manager of marine and national parks (St Eustatius, Dutch Caribbean)
  • Research on conservation, population size and ecology of hawksbill and green turtles in the Caribbean and British Indian Ocean Territory
  • 20 years’ experience of work in nature conservation and integrated coastal zone management with public and private agencies as well as with NGO’s
  • Development of sustainable management of natural resources on small islands, currently the President of the Council of Advisors of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA)

Publications

  1. & The discovery of deep-water seagrass meadows in a pristine Indian Ocean wilderness revealed by tracking green turtles. Marine Pollution Bulletin
  2. & New Tools to Identify the Location of Seagrass Meadows: Marine Grazers as Habitat Indicators. Frontiers in Marine Science 5
  3. & How numbers of nesting sea turtles can be overestimated by nearly a factor of two. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284(1849), 20162581
  4. & Implications of location accuracy and data volume for home range estimation and fine-scale movement analysis: comparing Argos and Fastloc-GPS tracking data. Marine Biology 164(10)
  5. & Fastloc-GPS reveals daytime departure and arrival during long-distance migration and the use of different resting strategies in sea turtles. Marine Biology 164(9)
  6. & Diel and seasonal patterns in activity and home range size of green turtles on their foraging grounds revealed by extended Fastloc-GPS tracking. Marine Biology 164(1)

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Teaching

  • BIO000 Foundation Biology

    This module will provide the learner with a detailed and holistic overview of life on earth and includes a range of subject matter including evolution, cell biology, anatomy and physiology, as well as behaviour, ecology and conservation. The module is supported by two practicals that aim to build core skills required within the field of biology including identification skills, field based sampling, and numerical skills.

  • BIO229 Tetrapod Evolution

    This module follows on from the introduction to vertebrates in the Level 4 Animal Diversity, Form and Function module, providing detail on form and function in vertebrates that spend all or part of their life cycle on land. Aspects of tetrapod behaviour, morphology and physiology will be considered in terms of adaptation and evolutionary constraint. Practicals will provide an introduction to the anatomy of birds and mammals by means of dissection, inference of the phylogenetic relationships between avian species, and an exploration of how beak morphology affects ecological niche in birds. Overall, students will gain an appreciation of the diversity of tetrapod types and an insight into the fundamental importance of metabolic rate in animals.

  • BIO238 Marine Ecosystems: Threats and conservation

    This module introduces the students to coastal marine ecosystems and the broad ecological concepts that underpin coastal marine community structure. We then focus on the threats faced by these ecosystems from climate change and marine plastics to illegal fishing and tourism. The module then moves onto the conservation of marine ecosystems and the students will learn about the management of tropical marine protected areas (MPAs). The lectures cover the classification of marine biota and marine ecosystems and the ecology of a number of coastal marine habitats including temperate rocky, soft sediment shores, coral reefs, the deep sea and polar ecosystems. There are 3 pieces of coursework associated with this module. Two will have associated fieldtrips to Skomer Island (to observe puffin behaviour and habitat) and one to Crymlyn burrows. The third will be a talk, given to explain the key threats to their designated ecosystem studied in detail during the seminar sessions. All three rely on group collected observations and data with emphasis placed on teamwork and group cooperation.

  • BIO327 Tropical marine ecology field course

    This field based module will provide students with an introduction to the ecology of tropical marine systems and teach students the key practical skills required by tropical marine biologists. Students will obtain training in how to design, implement and report scientifically robust marine research. The module will complement the level three marine field course and help develop key skills in field based marine biology. Students will learn skills in marine ecology and taxonomy, in-water marine sampling and surveys, and impact assessment. This module will be mostly practical based but will also include theory lectures, workshops and feedback sessions. It would be structured around seven days of directed practical activities and a three day small group based mini-project. The field course will utilise snorkeling and intertidal walking as the major means of sampling throughout directed practical¿s.

  • BIO329 Climate Change Biology

    The module examines the intricate connections between air, land and water in regulating the global climate system, and how that in turn affects planetary scale biology and ecology. Major past and present climate events and projected climate change, and their global ecological and environmental consequences will also be covered.

  • BIO330 Tropical marine ecology and conservation

    This module will provide a holistic overview of the ecology and conservation of important marine ecosystems, and will place this information within the context of ecosystem services, and their value to humanity. This module will consist of up to 12 lectures/seminars on the following topics: ¿ Diversity and biology of coral reef communities ¿ Structure and function of seagrass meadows (temperate and tropical) ¿ Mangrove forest ecology ¿ Connectivity across the tropical marine seascape ¿ The ecosystem services of tropical marine systems ¿ Response of coral reef systems to climate change and ocean acidification ¿ Degradation of tropical marine systems ¿ Resilience thinking and the management of tropical marine systems The module also contains a workshop session and additional direct contact with the module lead lecturer.

  • BIO346 Professional Skills in Marine Biology

    The module provides an introduction to the Environmental Impact Assessment process and a range of impacts on the marine environment including energy generation and pollution. Participants in this module will act as a marine environmental consultant and the class will be responsible for producing all aspects of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report and public engagement presentation for a commercial development in Swansea Bay. Additionally, students will receive lectures from marine environmental practitioners from environmental consultancies and regulatory bodies.

  • BIOM22 Environmental Assessment and Management

    This module covers Environmental Assessment & Management skills. Students enrolled in this module will learn to choose suitable environmental management systems to solve environmental problems in the real world, to apply a variety of techniques to environmental evaluation, and to make environmental impact assessments and reports. This module introduces the SPICOSA System Approach Framework through stakeholder interaction and construction of conceptual models of ecosystems followed by delivery of the outcomes of these to stakeholders. It aims to give the students an overview of the full process of developing a generic management strategy for a range of natural ecosystems.