Growing up in south Florida, I have been in, on or dreaming about the ocean for as long as I can remember. After finishing my undergrad in the US, I moved to Aberdeen where I completed an MRes and PhD in Marine Ecology. My research focused on the geographic distribution, thermal niche and population structure (using novel genomic markers) of the critically endangered flapper skate (Dipturus intermedius) and blue skate (D. flossada), with a focus on spatial planning for conservation measures on the west coast of Scotland. During my PhD, I worked closely with government, NGOs, and local anglers to identify essential skate habitat and population connectivity between resident and transient skates within a Marine Protected Area and the wider western coast of the British Isles.
I am now the Project Co-ordinator for the three-year West of Scotland Herring Hunt (WOSHH) project (11/21- 10/24) that seeks to generate evidence for the identification, conservation, and restoration of herring spawning habitat using historic local ecological knowledge, newly generated (contemporary) ecological data and modelling. During this project, we will conduct habitat/species surveys, together with communities along the west coast of Scotland, organizations, industry and individuals, as well as involving the wider public through participation in ‘herring hunts’ for spotting spawning shoals, eggs and juveniles using citizen science tools.
I am also working to develop a Rapid Assessment Best Practice Protocol for evaluating mangrove restoration/rehabilitation projects in Indonesia. The tool is being co-developed with representatives from various stakeholders across different levels to ensure it will be widely applicable to government, NGOs, and local communities involved in ecological mangrove restoration.