My interest in Marine Ecology began in 1992 when I participated in a loggerhead sea turtle research project in Greece. A few years later, I shifted my focus onto cetaceans, first working with minke whales in Scotland, followed by Killer whales, Blue whales and Belugas in Canada and then Northern Bottlenose whale in the Arctic Labrador Sea followed by Sperm whales off the Azores. I also participated in various ocean-crossing surveys: the Atlantic Frontier, Indian Ocean, South China Sea, Southern Ocean and Antarctica, including working with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) and the Pygmy Blue Whale Project (South Australia). These surveys formed the core foundation of my detailed in-depth experience in leading marine mammal surveys using different research platforms (boats, helicopters and small aeroplanes)
Also, during much of this work, I carried out seabird surveys, including penguin colony counts on sub-Antarctic Islands, Heard Island and Macquarie Island as well as systematic seabird surveys at sea according to various internationally recognised protocols (e.g. ESAS, BIOMASS, NERI). During those early years I became more and more aware of the lack of quality data with regard to the emerging conservation needs of cetaceans. With the generally limited resources available for conservation orientated research, I set out to explore the use of flexible survey designs, using Multi-Method approaches and Platforms of Opportunity. These platforms included ferries, oceanographic and fisheries research vessels, oil exploration vessels, supply vessels and wildlife-watching boats. Such vessels typically cross an area of sea for other purposes but the advantage is that manning such vessels yield low-cost approaches of collecting large quantities of scientific data on marine fauna. In November 2013 I achieved my PhD y which was awarded through IMARES/University of Wageningen. Since 2004, I have studied cetacean populations and dynamics occurring off SW England during offshore, inshore and coastal surveys and have published several papers regarding this work. In 2007, I affiliated myself with ‘Marine Discovery’ of Penzance and continue to oversee the data collection and analysis from this valuable research.
The ocean that surrounds Cornwall is very special to me. It’s breath taking in its beauty and diversity and is I believe a very special ecosystem. It never fails to surprise me!