Current Students

Nigel Haywood

PhD Student

Nigel is currently studying for his PhD at the Faculty of Science and technology at the Bournemouth University, where he has three scholarships (Vice-Chancellors, Excel Sports and Shackleton); he also holds various not-for profit roles including Director of the Angling trust, Director of the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum; Trustee of the UK-Falkland Islands Trust, and Chairman of the South West Veterans Athletics Club. Prior to studying for his PHD Nigel spent 31 years in HM Diplomatic Service with his most recent role being Governor of the Falkland Islands and Commissioner of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Jessica Jones

PhD Student

After the completion of a BSc in Marine Biology at Swansea University, Jess studied an MSc in Oceanography at the University of Southampton, finishing with a distinction in 2013. A few months later she successfully obtained a position as a Scientific Fisheries Observer with the Falkland Island Fisheries Department. During her two years as an observer she undertook extensive field work, spending more than 340 days at sea and started a project analysing the morphometry of the commercially targeted Patagonian long-finned squid (Doryteuthis gahi). This project grew and was offered to her as a PhD (in Zoology), funded by the Falkland Island Government and in collaboration with SAERI, at the University of Aberdeen. Her PhD focuses on determining the population connectivity of D.gahi within Falkland Island Waters both geographically and temporally, using a combination of age analysis, Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA ICP-MS) and geometric morphometric analysis.

Jacob Hargreaves

PhD Student

Jacob joined SAERI in September 2015 as a shared PhD student with the University of Aberdeen, funded jointly by EASTBIO BBSRC DTP, SAERI and South Georgia. He is co-supervised by Prof. Pieter van West (University of Aberdeen), Prof. David Johnson (University of Aberdeen), Dr Paul Brickle (SAERI) and Dr Jen Lee (South Georgia). He is in the first year of his Ph.D. project which involves investigating the soil fungal diversity on the Falklands and South Georgia. The primary aim of his project involve investigating the impact that introduced reindeer have had on the fungal communities in Falklands and South Georgia, using targeted metagenomics the aim is to amplify and sequence the fungal ITS region to elucidate the fungal genus/species composition and investigate the impact reindeer have had on the soil fungal biota. Secondary aims involve collecting water samples to look for potentially new oomycete species and investigating their morphology and carrying out infectivity studies. Furthermore he intends to collect macrofungi samples and further expand the fungal database on the Falklands and South Georgia. His general scientific interests include ecology, mycology, metagenomics and bioinformatics.

Before coming to Aberdeen in September 2015, Jacob started his bachelor’s degree in Microbiology at Aberystwyth University in Wales, UK. His undergraduate thesis involved investigating the physiology of two species of slime mould, ‘A Physiological Comparison of Badhamia utricularis and Physarum polycephalum – Thermotaxis, Chemotaxis and Interspecies Interactions’. Upon graduating he was given two awards, one from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University and an award from the Society for General Microbiology for academic achievement. 

Jonathan Handley

PhD Student

Jon​athan completed his BSc in Zoology at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. Staying at Rhodes, he completed his honours year working on the endangered African penguin (Supervisors: Prof Christopher McQuaid, Rhodes, Dr Lorien Pichegru, Percy Fitzpatrick Institute University of Cape Town).

For his PhD thesis, which builds on his MSc thesis, Jonathan is investigating the foraging ecology of Gentoo penguins Pygoscelis papua and their relation to environmental variables at the Falkland Islands. This is a collaborative project amongst Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Falklands Conservation and the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI). It is being supervised by Dr Pierre Pistorius (NMMU) and Dr Paul Brickle (SAERI).  Ecologists look to answer how animals relate to both their biotic and abiotic environment. In order to achieve this, there are now many tools at their disposal. In his project, Jonathan will address distribution through the use of Global Positioning System Loggers (GPS) and Time Depth Recorders (TDR’s), energetics with accelerometers, behaviour with animal-borne camera loggers fitted to the backs of Gentoo penguins and diet through the use of two dietary investigative techniques.

This project is supported by the John Cheeck Trust, Ruffords Small Grants Foundation and Falkland Islands Environmental Planning Department, as well as the scarce skills scholarship from the National Research Foundation and Post Graduate Research Scholarship from NMMU, South Africa. Generous access to field sites was granted by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Johnsons Harbour farm and North Arm farm. The project will be further supported by Dr Norman Ratcliffe of the British Antarctic Survey, Dr Maelle Connan and Dr Andrea Thiebault of NMMU, and the Falkland Islands Fisheries Department. The project will also be contributing to a species management plan for Gentoo penguins at the Falklands Islands. Not only will the technology used in this project lead to a significant increase in the understanding of Gentoo penguin foraging ecology, but it is also hoped that the medium of video will help promote awareness of this species, other marine species and the importance and fun of research in society today.

Niall Fallon

PhD Student (right)

Niall is a member of Dr Paul Fernandes' Fisheries, Ecosystems and Advanced Survey Technologies (FEAST) research group at the University of Aberdeen. He is carrying out research on the Mackerel Icefish (Champsocephalus gunnari) at South Georgia under the supervision of Dr Fernandes and Dr Tara Marshall (also of the University of Aberdeen), in collaboration with Dr Martin Collins (Government of South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands) and Dr Paul Brickle (South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute). The project is funded by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

He completed a BSc in Freshwater & Marine Biology in 2011 at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT, Ireland), and was named as a GMIT scholar and faculty student of the year. It was during his undergraduate studies that he first developed an interest in fisheries, and he completed a research project investigating age and growth of sprat (Sprattus sprattus) in Irish waters under the supervision of Dr Rick Officer and Dr Deirdre Brophy. He won a student bursary at the Irish Marine Institute in June 2011, and worked on the archival pelagic fisheries database and in the fisheries research laboratory under the supervision of Dr Maurice Clarke.

In 2012 he completed his MSc in Applied Marine & Fisheries Ecology at the University of Aberdeen, partially funded by the Scottish Fishermen's Trust. His research project was an iinvestigation of sprat recruitment in the North Sea. His PhD research will focus on the identification of uncertainties in the South Georgia icefish survey through the use of acoustic and video monitoring of trawl operations, extension of acoustic techniques used in the survey, as well as statistical, geostatistical and simulation modelling.