I am interested in understanding how the marine sedimentary carbon (blue carbon) store on Scotland’s continental shelf has developed and what factors affect the inputs, including sequestration, and burial rates of this carbon store. National and international targets for reducing carbon emissions are becoming increasingly prescriptive and non-negotiable. This is driving research into better understanding the cycling of carbon in our environment and more robust techniques for accounting this carbon to allow governments implement appropriate strategy and policy. The marine environment is generally considered a sink for carbon; however it is unclear whether this is true across the marine environment and what the factors which determine the fate of carbon might be.
Broad areas of research interest: Blue carbon; Carbon cycle; Scottish continental shelf; Sediment analysis / geochronology; GIS / spatial analysis
I graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2003 with an Honours degree in Oceanography with Chemistry. I have since worked in multiple sectors outside of academia. I was a marine data scientist at the British Oceanographic Data Centre between 2004 and 2012 where I managed complex marine and environmental datasets, using best practice and software to transform raw data into standardised formats for long-term re-use. After re-locating to the UAE between 2012-2015, I subsequently worked for the United Nations Environmental Programme Convention of Migratory Species, facilitating conservation projects for dugongs across their range. I have most recently worked for Natural England on the national Government Advice Team where I was part of the Marine Conservation Zones project. I was responsible for managing the vulnerability assessment data that formed the advice to government on conservation objectives for the recommended sites and features.
Active research projects:
A national inventory of sedimentary blue carbon for Scotland
My PhD will seek to produce the first, first-order quantitative assessment of sedimentary marine carbon stocks across Scotland’s continental shelf. The many ecosystems of the coastal ocean play a significant, yet poorly understood role in the marine carbon cycle and in their potential capacity as a combined net-sink and long-term store for carbon. I will explore the existing datasets and cores to build a spatial picture of the sedimentary carbon stores on the Scottish continental shelf and attempt to quantify them. I also hope to address additional questions about the development of this store, the sources, inputs and likely fates of the carbon as well as assessing its vulnerabilities. Better understanding of Scotland’s marine carbon budget will form an important component of national marine planning and climate mitigation strategy.