I have been employed as a postdoctoral fisheries researcher since 2019, and have been an Honorary Research Fellow since 2015. I gained my undergraduate degree in Marine Sciences (Southampton, 1995) and an MSc in Ecosystems Analysis and Governance (Warwick, 2000), where I undertook novel research on the potential use of parasites to identify populations of a coastal benthic shark. Ten years later (2009-12), while working in consultancy, I undertook a PhD by Published Works at Bangor on the taxonomy, diversity and fisheries of the elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) of the Persian Gulf. I have been an invited member of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group (Indian Ocean region) since 2007, where I contribute to Red List Assessments and conservation initiatives for highly threatened groups like sawfishes, guitarfishes and angel sharks. At Bangor I provide guest teaching, lab practicals, and student project supervision on elasmobranch biodiversity, ecology, fisheries, and conservation.
Prior to recent employment in research, I worked as a marine biologist outside of academia for nearly 20 years, in two main phases. The first of these was centred on fieldwork from the intertidal to the high seas aboard commercial fishing and survey vessels, sampling and identifying fish, shellfish, benthos and habitats (inc. UK, Ireland, Kuwait, UAE, Caspian, Falkland Islands); from 2001-2003 I set up and ran a benthic monitoring program of Gulf War oil spills in Kuwait. The second phase was as a desk-based consultant assessing the environmental impacts (EIA) of major coastal and marine developments (inc. renewables, cables, oil & gas, harbours) on fish, fisheries, benthos and nature conservation (e.g. Marine Protected Areas, Critical Habitat) in the UK and further afield (e.g. Ireland, Mediterranean, Africa, the Caspian, The Gulf). I also worked on alien invasive species and researched and wrote the guidance on this subject for the global oil and gas industry (IPIECA). Between 2018-2019 I undertook a sabbatical as a marine ecologist at Natural Resources Wales (Welsh Government body) where I was involved with a number of projects, including invasive species.
As a postdoctoral scientist I currently work on EMFF-funded projects on commercially important fish (bass and thornback rays) and shellfish (edible crab) in Welsh & neighbouring English waters. Working closely with the inshore small-scale fishing industry, I research aspects such as population biology, reproductive migrations, and bycatch with the aim of informing sustainable fisheries.
Sharks and rays (elasmobranchs) are the subject of my previous and ongoing research - specifically their biodiversity, biology, ecology, artisanal fisheries and conversation in poorly-known regions (Arabia, Africa). Working voluntarily, I have necessarily relied on low-cost, opportunistic and remote approaches to data collection - such as in fish markets, in museums, and from historical documentary sources - to help fill some of the many data gaps in these areas. This has yielded exciting results - including new ray species and the rediscovery of a 'lost' shark - as well as providing information for conservation, such as highlighting the regional human-driven disappearance of sawfishes. I have practical field experience of working with elasmobranchs on six continents, and have worked or collaborated on a wide range of elasmobranch projects including taxonomy, historical ecology, molecular biology, fishers’ ecological knowledge, community-based monitoring, BRUVS, reproduction, diet, parasites, and pollution.