Professional summary

Research Interests

Keywords: Predator-prey relationships, diet analysis, piscivory, fish, trophic interactions, population and community ecology, field ecology, wildlife and fisheries management, ornithology, ecosystem function, biodiversity, interdisciplinarity, qualitative social methods, science-policy interface, ecosystem services, natural capital public engagement with science and technology.

I am a vertebrate ecologist, specialising in predator-prey relationships, stock assessment, habitat use and sustainable management. Professional experience over more than 25 years has mainly been gained in the UK, but have had working visits to N. America, Japan and most EU countries. Field experience has included a number of predator-prey studies involving amphibians (frogs and toads), fishes (Salmonids, perch, pike, eels, coastal intertidal communities), birds (grey heron, sawbill ducks, osprey, white-tailed eagle but particularly cormorants), and carnivores (otters but also wild and domestic cats).

Much of my work, at a variety of spatial scales, involves biodiversity issues (which can also be considered important elements of such concepts as Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital), particularly in relation to the exploration and management of human/societal relationships with ‘the environment’. Some of this work has involved the development and management of large, multi-national research networks that include the public as well as ‘non-academic’ stakeholders and which address issues and themes from an interdisciplinary perspective. This has allowed my research to collate and synthesise ecological knowledge and to integrate this with social science perspectives in order to explore both human:environment relationships and the interfaces between science and policy‐making.

My interdisciplinary work is undertaken in collaboration with social scientists (anthropologists, sociologists, economists, lawyers) to better understand the relationships between ecological (natural science) and ‘social and institutional’ aspects of environmental management, often with commercial and recreational fisheries as a model case. This also encompasses investigations into the interdisciplinary research process itself, the non‐biological issues affecting human:environment relationships, associated conflicts and their resolution, and includes the ‘non-monetary value’ of natural resources.

Over the years I have reviewed papers for numerous journals, taught/lectured/examined on undergraduate and postgraduate courses, acted as external examiner for PhDs, supervised numerous BSc and Masters students plus two PhDs, and written over 140 scientific papers, commissioned reports and popular articles.

Overall Experience

I have wide knowledge and experience of collecting field data and in the analysis of both environmental and social data. Most of my work is now carried out with both natural and social science researchers, other (often ‘non-academic’) stakeholder groups and/or the general public, often in relatively large groups working in dynamic environments. I have extensive experience in team work, facilitation, motivation and communication. I work hard to communicate and disseminate research and scientific results to as broad an audience as possible, and am highly experienced in communicating through the spoken word, in the popular media, through scientific publications and meetings, and through web-based dissemination platforms.

Recent International Research Projects

  • CormoDist – (2014-2016) Dynamics of Great Cormorant Population in Europe, partnership with Aarhus University – DCE Danish Centre for Environment and Energy. European Commission, DG Environment Service Contract (07.0307/2013/657707/ETU/B3).                                                                                   
  • CorMan – (2011-2014) Sustainable Management of Cormorant Populations, Consortium Partnership with Aarhus University – DCE Danish Centre for Environment and Energy. European Commission, DG Environment Service Contract (07.0307/2013/632544/SER/B3).

For further details, see:

The EC Cormorant Platform is available here:

  • INTERCAFE – (2004-2008) Interdisciplinary Initiative to Reduce pan-European Cormorant-Fishery Conflicts, (60 partners). Co-author and project Coordinator. European Science Foundation/EU RTD Framework Programme, COST Action (635).

For further details, see:

  • REDCAFE – (2000-2001) Reducing the Conflict between Cormorant and Fisheries on a pan-European Scale, (43 partners). Author and project Coordinator. European Commission, DG Fisheries FP5 Concerted Action (Q5CA-2000-31387).

For short summary details, see:

For Final Report, see:

For Summary and National Overviews, see:



MRes (Social Research Methods), School of Social Sciences, University of Aberdeen, 2003-2005. Distinction. Thesis title: Hearing Interdisciplinarity: exploring the narratives of researchers moving beyond disciplines – a qualitative exploration of interdisciplinary working in three pan-European research projects.

PhD Ecological Science, Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, University of Edinburgh, 1984-1987. Thesis title: The Effects of Piscivorous Birds on Fish Farms on the West Coast of Scotland.

BSc Ecological Science: Wildlife and Fisheries Management, Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, University of Edinburgh, 1979-1983. 2:i Hons. Project on intertidal foraging of Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea) on sealoch shores.