Planting seagrass as part of the Seagrass Ocean Rescue project
Will Kay headshot

Mr Will Kay

Affiliate, Other

Telephone number

+44 (0) 1792

Welsh language proficiency

Basic Welsh Speaker

Research Links


I am a PhD Candidate, Demonstrator, and Research Technician in the Department of Biosciences, Swansea University.

As a PhD Candidate, I study the movement and behavioural ecology of seals (grey and harbour seals) in tidally energetic environments, and their potential interactions with marine renewable energy (MRE) devices.

As a Demonstrator I teach students from Foundation to Postgraduate level, with experience demonstrating on the following modules: BIO012, BIO013, BIO014, BIO105, BIO106, BIO109, , BIO228, BIO252, BIO318, BIO334, and BIZ300. I have also delivered lectures for BIO318.

As a Research Technician I work on the Seagrass Ocean Rescue project, working to restore seagrass meadows in the UK using our bespoke restoration methods, in conjunction with Project Seagrass, WWF and Sky Ocean Rescue. This project is the first of its kind and currently the largest project restoring seagrass in the UK, with 2 hectares of seagrass meadow planted to date. I contribute expertise in both grant and report writing, and commercial marine fieldwork operations as a commercial skipper and HSE diver, with over 8 years’ experience as a SCUBA diving and powerboating instructor. I also provide support to the SEACAMS team on an ad-hoc basis towards their Marine Benthic Ecology and Open Water Ecology research projects.


Areas Of Expertise

  • Movement Ecology
  • Biologging/Biotelemetry
  • Marine Ecology
  • Seagrass Restoration
  • Data Analysis, Statistics and R Coding
  • Commercial Skipper and HSE SCUBA diver
  • Marine Mammals
  • Science Policy

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests
Delivering a policymaking for ecologists workshop


I am an Associate Fellow of the HEA. I am also a SCUBA diving and powerboating instructor. My teaching interests comprise four broad categories:

Analytical skills

Experimental design, data analysis and visualisation, statistics, R coding, GIS.

Movement Ecology

Teaching and providing supervision and mentorship in movement ecology, including the design and deployment of animal tracking devices and the techniques to analyse the data obtained (e.g. state-space models)

Practical marine field skills

SCUBA diving and powerboating, chatwork and navigation, intertidal sampling, marine taxonomic ID skills, marine mammal and seabird survey methods

Employability skills

CVs, cover letters, job applications and interview techniques. Scientific presentations and posters.

General research interests


My research interests lie in quantifying the drivers of individual- and population-level animal movement, behaviour and energetics to predict the impact of anthropogenic disturbance and environmental change on animals. Also, to develop new tools and methods to study this, and thus to derive recommendations for policy and conservation management.

Award Highlights


Sep 2020 Associate Fellow of the HEA 
Feb 2020 Nominated for PG Research and Innovation Rising Star
Jan 2019 Best Poster – UKIRSC 13th Annual Conference
Jan 2019 Erasmus+ Mobility Award for FIELD Workshop (CERES International Project)
Nov 2018 Best Oral Presentation – WEEN Annual Conference
Jul 2018 Best Poster – BES Move SIG Annual Meeting
May 2018 3rd Place Poster – Swansea University PGR Poster Competition
Apr 2018 Best Short Oral Talk – ECS 32nd Annual Meeting
Nov 2017 Ede and Ravenscroft Student Prize 2016/17 for Outstanding Contribution
May 2017 RIEL Essay Competition - 3rd Place
Apr 2017 Poster Prize Finalist – SU PGR Poster Competition 
Apr 2017 Honorary Lifetime Membership - SUSU
May 2016 Best Poster – KESS II Transnational Graduate School Poster Competition
May 2016 Best Poster – SU PGR Poster Competition
Sep 2013 City and Guilds Professional Development Award 
Jul 2013 Graham Ralston Memorial Prize in Marine Biology
Jun 2012 SU Employability Academy Award 
Jun 2011 SU Environment and Society Award
Jun 2010 University Scholarship (Bangor University)
On board the catching vessel with research collaborators in Germany


I relish collaborative work and currently work together with individuals from the UK and Europe, including interdisciplinary collaborations; with ecologists, statisticians, engineers, and policy makers.

My main academic collaborators are based in the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) in Scotland, the Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife (ITAW) in Germany, and the Zienkiewicz Centre for Computational Engineering (ZCCE) in Swansea. Of course I also work closely with other colleagues here in the Department of Biosciences at Swansea University, especially individuals from the Spatial Ecology and Population Dynamics research group (SpacePop), the Swansea Laboratory for Animal Movement (SLAM) and the Movement Ecology and Biodiversity Dynamics Lab (MovEcol).

The NGOs and charities I currently work with include Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Project Seagrass.