I studied BSc Maths at the University of Leeds (2005) and MSc Global Aquatic Biodiversity Monitoring & Conservation at the University of Hull (2006). I then spent several years working for marine conservation NGOs in Africa and marine environmental management organisations in the UK, before undertaking a PhD in Marine Ecology at Aberystwyth University (2011-2016). I went on to postdoctoral work at the University of Southampton, The Marine Biological Association of the UK and the University of Plymouth before returning to Aberystwyth University as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in 2017.
Through the European-funded Ecostructure Project (www.ecostructureproject.eu), I am researching ways of enhancing biodiversity on artificial structures in the marine environment. Structures for coastal protection, ports and harbours, and marine renewable energy generation are becoming prevalent around our coasts and at sea. These structures cause serious impacts to the natural environment and are poor quality habitats for marine life, supporting low diversity and weedy or invasive species. It is possible to encourage more diverse, natural and valuable biological communities to colonise structures by altering their engineering designs – this is called eco-engineering. We are testing existing and new designs in the Irish Sea, with the aim of producing a catalogue of eco-engineering options for developers and planners to make space for nature in marine construction.