Meet the Team

Dr Paul Brickle

Expedition Leader (South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute)

Fig 3 PB_ProfilePaul Brickle has been the director of the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI) since its founding in 2012. Paul’s interests include the ecology and oceanography of the southern Patagonian Shelf, particularly the reproductive biology, age and growth, population dynamics and the population structure of marine species inhabiting the waters of this region. He also has a keen interest in marine parasites and their use as biological tags for investigating the population structure and migration of fish hosts. Paul is a part of a number of trophic studies of marine fish around the Falkland Islands and is interested in the environmental and fisheries impact on trophic structures in communities. His other interests include shallow marine ecology, community ecology and biogeography of small isolated islands particularly those in the South Atlantic including Ascension Island. Paul is an active diving member of the Falkland Islands based Shallow Marine Surveys Group and is also a Reader at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen.

Dr David Barnes

Chief Scientist (British Antarctic Survey)

Dave studies the interactions between benthos (life on the seabed) and their environment.  He mainly focuses on the ecology of continental shelves in polar and remote island regions, working from research vessels (such as RRS James Clark Ross) or research stations (such as Rothera, West Antarctic Peninsula).  Studying the ecology of organisms can aid our understanding of what shapes biodiversity, as well as how to monitor, manage and conserve it, but also how to estimate and harness the ecosystem services it provides.  This involves working in a wider team which includes many different types of biological scientists (such as molecular ecologists, physiologists, biogeographers and foodweb modellers) but also researchers in other disciplines (such as geologists, oceanographers, climatologists and glaciologists).  Dave is based at BAS HQ, Cambridge where he also teaches in the Zoology Department of Cambridge University.

Dr Peter Enderlein

Senior Marine Science Engineer (British Antarctic Survey)

Fig 5 Peter EnderleinPeter is based at BAS HQ, where he works as a Senior Marine Science Engineer, developing, building and maintaining marine science equipment, which we use on our research vessel the RRS James Clark Ross. This includes currently 26 different pieces of equipment – from very simple once like our rebuild N70 plankton nets to very complex systems, like deep water moorings. While on our research vessel he is responsible for the correct setup of the equipment as well as for the safe and successful use of all the different equipment.

Dr Simon Morley

Marine Ecologist (British Antarctic Survey)

Simon_MorleyAs a marine biologist working in the Polar Regions Simon’s research focuses on how the environment experienced by cold blooded marine animals has shaped their vulnerability to future climate. The extremely stable cold of the Southern Ocean has led to the evolution of many adaptations, including a reduced capacity to respond to elevated temperature. He will describe how our work has improved our understanding of the mechanisms underlying thermal tolerance and how this research will lead to better predictions of global patterns of biodiversity into the future.

Simon trained to be a marine biologist (BSc at Uni of Liverpool), fish biologist (MSc at Uni of Plymouth) and then a fish physiologist (PhD Uni of Liverpool). After a postdoc investigating the combined effect of temperature and oxygen on the life history of a bryozoan he moved to the British Antarctic Survey in 2001. Simon then spent 2 full years as a fisheries scientist on the sub-Antarctic Island of South Georgia before concentrating on physiological studies of marine ecotherms on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Dr Elanor Gowland

Scientific Data Manager (Aero- and marine-geophysics) (British Antarctic Survey)

Elanor_GowlandElanor manages the marine- and aero-geophysical data held by BAS. Her role includes supporting marine cruises, collecting these data, as well as processing, archiving, analysis and providing access to these data and products. The bathymetric maps produced by the multibeam instrument are used for a wide variety of science. Marine geologists use the maps to study how the ocean crust formed, how glaciers once moved over coastal areas and as a tool to find sites for sediment coring. Oceanographers can better model how ocean currents will flow with detailed bathymetry maps. Marine biologists can use the data to map wildlife habitats and it can be used as an important tool to define fishing areas.  Much of the Southern Ocean is very poorly surveyed so there is an element of discovery when the ship travels to a new area.

One of the main instruments she looks after is the multibeam echosounder.  Many ships have singlebeam echosounders for navigational purposes. These systems send out one sound pulse at a time and find the depth directly under the ship. A multibeam system sends out an array of sound pulses in a fan shape and returns depths from underneath the ship and from either side as well. This is sometimes referred to as swath bathymetry as it produces a swath of depth information. The multibeam system on the James Clark Ross has 288 beams and can map a swath width of about 4 times the water depth.

Chester Sands

Molecular Ecologist (British Antarctic Survey)

Fig 7 ChepsCheps moved with my family from Tasmania, Australia, in 2005 to take up a position as Molecular Ecologist for the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge.  During this time he has been involved in 7 Antarctic research cruises led by the UK, USA and Germany, collecting invertebrates from the sea floor using various trawls, grabs and corers.  His research focusses on the inference of processes that underlie the observed spatial and phylogenetic patterns of diversity, principally of invertebrates.  Practically this requires techniques used in biogeography, molecular systematics, phytogeography and population genetics, employing the emerging *omics tools.  Conceptually this requires the teasing apart of contributing forces of adaptation and drive, and how these two forces are affected by environmental and demographic changes.

Oliver Hogg

Biogeographer (British Antarctic Survey)

Fig 8 O_Hogg_profileOliver is interested in the use of multidisciplinary scientific approaches to: (i) increase our understanding of biogeographical and ecological patterns in benthic biodiversity; and (ii) assess how this knowledge can be used to inform on marine conservation and management strategies. His research adopts a trans-disciplinary approach to marine habitat mapping. It integrates biological, geophysical, and ocean productivity data with regional oceanographic models and high-resolution seabed photography. This synthesis of multidisciplinary information enables large-scale biotopic characterisations to be made of marine benthic habitats. This allows us to study the respective influences of local-scale drivers verses large-scale abiotic gradients on biological communities, and model the distributions of potentially rare or endemic fauna and vulnerable marine ecosystems.

Dr Judith Brown

Fisheries Ecologist and Director of Fisheries (Ascension Island Government)

JudeAs a fisheries scientist and marine ecologist Judith is currently the Director of Fisheries for Ascension Island Government. She has a BSc in Applied Marine Biology from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh and following her strong research interest in fisheries ecology her PhD thesis was on the life history of Patagonian toothfish around the Falkland Islands. Employed mainly in fisheries research and on marine biodiversity projects, Judith is working her way around the South Atlantic Islands! She spent two years on South Georgia studying the commercially important fish species in the area for the British Antarctic Survey and then spent six months on Signy Island as a freshwater limnologist. Next she spent 2 ½ years in the UK with Eden Rivers Trust carrying out surveys on the salmonid populations and on river restoration projects. Judith then moved to the Falklands to work for the Falkland Island Government Fisheries Department, researching Patagonian toothfish (ageing, reproduction, diet and migration studies) and then worked for South Georgia Government as their Fisheries Scientist. Joining SMSG in its infancy Judith has been a keen member of the group since 2008 and is involved in the research diving, photography and identifying of marine critters. During her time on Falklands she took part in all the SMSG research trips around the islands as well as to South Georgia and two expeditions to Ascension Island. As the Project manager on a Darwin funded Marine Biodiversity project she then spent two years on St Helena (amongst other things writing a book on the inshore marine life!) before moving to Ascension.

Dr Sam Weber

Senior Scientist (Ascension Island Government)

Fig 10 Sam WeberSam has an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation and a PhD in Ecology, both from the University of Exeter. His PhD thesis, completed in 2010, examined the reproductive ecology of green turtles nesting at Ascension Island. Sam has worked for Ascension Island Government Conservation Department since 2011 on a range of projects, including the development of the National Biodiversity Action Plan and leading a status assessment of the Territory’s globally-important green turtle nesting population. In his current role as Principle Conservation Scientist, Sam is responsible for managing the Government’s environmental research portfolio and is involved in projects on habitat mapping and restoration, data management, seabird and marine turtle monitoring, marine sustainability and invasion ecology. He has wide-ranging interests in island biology, conservation science and biodiversity policy.

Dr Andy Richardson

Senior Fisheries and Marine Scientist (Ascension Island Government)

Andy_RichardsonAndy works on and manages the Ascension Island Marine Sustainability project funded by Darwin Plus, originally arriving on Ascension Island in May 2014. He gained his undergraduate degree and PhD from the University of Hull, studying animal communities found within intertidal mussel beds. Andy has a general interest in marine ecology, having conducted research in northern and southern hemispheres, including the UK, Falkland Islands and South Georgia. He has also been involved in fisheries research, particularly the biology of European shellfish. Andy also has significant experience in research diving and boat operations, gaining qualifications and commercial endorsements in the UK and working around the world in both tropical and cold-water environments.

Kate Downes

Marine and Fisheries Scientist (Ascension Island Government)

Fig 12 KateKate is working on the Darwin Initiative funded ‘Ascension Island Marine Sustainability (AIMS) project’. Kate studied Marine Science at Falmouth Marine School which led to a BSc Environmental Science at Plymouth University. She is currently completing an MSc by Research in Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology at University of Aberdeen, investigating life history parameters (growth, age and reproductive biology) and seasonal variation in diet of yellowfin tuna that utilise Ascension’s waters.

Prior to moving to Ascension Island in October 2014, Kate has gained a vast amount of experience in the field of marine conservation, research diving and marine fauna identification, taking her all over the world from Cornwall, UK to much warmer climes such as Tanzania, Cambodia and the Seychelles. Kate qualified as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor in 2011 and gained her RYA II Powerboat the following year. She has also led marine education and awareness programmes for both children and adults, and is particularly passionate about building awareness, and support for, marine conservation and responsible fishing practices within local communities.

Emma Nolan

Marine and Fisheries Scientist (Ascension Island Government)

Fig 13 EmmaEmma has a first class BSc (Hons) in Environmental Biology from University College Dublin, and a Masters in Sustainable Aquaculture and Inshore Fisheries from Queens University Belfast. Her MSc and BSc projects focused on the invasion ecology of the Zebra mussel and the Pacific oyster respectively. During her time at University she became a keen diver, volunteering on conservation projects abroad and at home and gaining a PADI Divemaster qualification. She then went on to work for the Environment Agency’s ‘National Fisheries Services’ (UK), investigating diseases associated with introduced pathogens and parasites in inland fisheries and providing advice to fishery owners, it was in this role where she developed a particular interest in fish pathology and life history. She is currently working as a marine and fisheries scientist on the Darwin funded Ascension Island Marine Sustainability project, where she gets to combine her love of diving (through underwater scientific surveys and collections) with her passion for fisheries and marine science, all while raising awareness and support for marine conservation on Ascension.

Dr Vladimir Laptikhovsky

Marine Ecologist (Shallow Marine Surveys Group and Cefas)

VladVlad was born in 1962 in Russia and graduated the Kaliningrad State Institute of Fishing Industry. Between 1985 and 1999 he has been working in Atlantic Research Institute of Fisheries (Russia) studying cephalopods (primarily commercial squids) and small pelagic fishes of the Atlantic. Since 1999 Vlad worked in the Falkland Islands Government Fisheries Department, and has been a diver and research scientist with SMSG. In 2013 he moved to the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas, Lowestoft) where he is involved in stock assessment of different marine fish and invertebrates of the Atlantic Ocean and Antarctic. He is an official scientific expert of the European Commission’s Directorate-General on Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG-MARE) working for the Joint Scientific Committee within the EU-Morocco Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement.  He is a member of two ICES working groups (on cephalopods and on Celtic Seas ecosystem) as well as working intensively on methods of shellfish stock assessment, primarily scallops and whelks. He is also an Associate editor of the Journal of Marine Biological Association of the U.K. and a member of Cephalopod International Advisory Council. Despite being away from the Falklands, Vlad still joins SMSG on expeditions to Ascension, and beyond.


Charles Clover

National Geographic film maker and photographer

Charles Clover, taken by Mattias Klum, Nat Geo filmmaker and photographer, in the Pelagos whale sanctuary, MediterraneanAs an environment journalist with 30 years’ experience, Charles has covered virtually every issue that arises out of man’s treatment of nature. It was his powerful and revealing book The End of The Lineand the award-winning documentary film that it inspired which brought the problems of overfishing and the impact it is having on life in the oceans into public focus. He is a columnist for the Sunday Times and was Environment Editor of The Daily Telegraph for 20 years. He also co-founded Fish2Fork, an online sustainable restaurant guide.