I am a statistician based in the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) and School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of St Andrews. My research work is motivated by ecological applications, particularly related to widlife conservation.
Some Recent Research
Deepwater Horizon oil spill damage assessmentAerial view of Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, we worked within the team estimating the short- and long-term effect on marine mammal populations. This research formed part of the Natural Resources Damage Assessment used as a basis for the settlement between BP the US Government. The team's work appeared as a series of papers in a special issue of the journal Endangered Species Research.
We are now in the process of updating our assessments, as part of a research project "Consortium for Advanced Research on Marine Mammal Health Assessment" (CARMMHA). Watch this space!
Does naval sonar disturb whales?Blue whale diving
Experiments designed to answer this question are difficult and expensive. We have been working with the scientists involved to develop methods that make better use of existing data (see MOCHA web site). This paper gives an overview of our work.
We have also coordinated a review of the state of knowledge on sonar effects, with recommendations for future research priorities, available as a review paper in the Journal of Animal Ecology.
Monitoring the critically endangered vaquitaVaquita from fishing line, by Noah Scalin
The vaquita is a small porpoise, found only in the Gulf of California, Mexico. The species is on the brink of extinction because of accidental deaths in illegal fishing nets. Monitoring vaquita population size is hard because so few remain. We have worked as part of an international expert panel, in collaboration with many others, to design visual and acoustic surveys, and analyze the resulting data.
Our most recent published estimate is that only around 30 animals (95% credible interval 8-96) remained as of November 2016.
For more about vaquita conservation, please see the Marine Mammal Commission's vaquita web page.