Saving Our Blue Planet:
the work of Exeter Marine


Professor Brendan Godley is a conservation scientist with wide ranging interests in biodiversity conservation. His research largely focuses on the study of marine vertebrates (turtles, mammals, birds and sharks). In the last few years, Brendan has spent ever more efforts on interdisciplinary approaches to conservation research, including focussing on the issue of microplastics in our oceans.

Dr Ajit Pillai's research is focused on the development and deployment of optimization algorithms to aid in the design of offshore renewable energy devices and arrays. He is currently working as part of the EPSRC SuperGen UK Centre for Marine Energy Research (UKCMER) on the integration of multi-objective optimization approaches in the design of offshore renewable energy devices allowing design trade-offs to be characterized and quantified.

Dr Emily Duncan s a post-doctoral research associate working on two projects focusing on plastic pollution.

1. INDICIT II developing standardised tools for monitoring impacts on marine fauna as bio-indicators using loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean

2. National Geographic Plastic: Sea to Source, river expeditions to better understand and document how plastic pollution travels from sources on land to the marine environment.


Emily is particularly interested in what impacts the current levels of marine pollution is having upon threatened marine fauna. Her research focuses on plastics pollution, an ever growing issue for marine ecosystems and threatened species including marine turtles.

Dr Ross Brown is a Senior Research Fellow in the Ecotoxicology and Aquatic Biology Research Group. Ross has 25 years of experience in the chemical/pharmaceutical industry, in environmental risk and impact assessment where his work spanned the prospective assessment of pharmaceutical effects on wild fish populations.


His current research interests are refining and improving the practicality of environmental risk assessments to identify species, populations and assemblages which are most susceptible to chemical exposures and effects.

Dr Carly Daniels has over 15 years’ experience in the field of marine conservation and Aquaculture having recently left National Lobster Hatchery where she ran there rapidly growing research sector. Carly has expertise in funding and managing collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects which generate impact in fisheries conservation and the aquaculture industry. Carly was principle investigator on Lobster Grower, a collaborative project including the UoE and lead by The National lobster Hatchery (Europe’s largest lobster research project jointly funded by Innovate UK and BBSRC), which helped spearhead the development of a novel aquaculture sector.


Carly is now working for the University of Exeter on a project lead by Dr Ian Ashton under CEMPS looking at Establishing environmentally and commercially sustainable techniques for farming seaweed. Carly is looking to drive the Universities involvement in Novel aquaculture developments by securing on industry driven collaborative projects.

Dr Sarah Nelms is a post-doctoral researcher who has recently returned from field research with the National Geographic Plastic: Sea to Source expedition. The team followed the course of the River Ganges, monitoring plastic pollution and waste streams along the way.


Sarah is also involved in the INIDICT II project and the ExeMPlaR project, working towards a circular economy for plastic. Here Sarah’s work focusses on the plastics collected by Citizen Scientists on Beach Cleans.


Her broad research interests focus on the issue of plastic pollution within marine and coastal environments, and it's impact on marine vertebrates such as turtles, seabirds and marine mammals.

Dr Ruth Thurstan is a marine historical ecologist. Her research draws upon the ecological, historical and social disciplines to understand what our marine and coastal ecosystems looked like and how they functioned in the past, how humans have interacted with these ecosystems over time, and the extent to which our interactions have affected and altered these systems.


Ruth’s broad research interests are improving fisheries sustainability and informing marine conservation goals. Her core research examines the magnitude, direction and drivers of changes that have occurred in marine social-ecological systems over decadal to centennial scales.


She is the co-chair of the International Council for Exploration of the Seas’ Working Group on the History of Fish and Fisheries (ICES WGHIST), which brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines to explore trends in social-ecological systems through time, and how we can apply these findings and perspectives to contemporary management.