Marine Ecology and Conservation Research Group

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Marine Ecology and Research Group
About the Group

We are a dynamic multidisciplinary team with an interest in addressing contemporary marine challenges. The team investigates and visualises the patterns of ocean life and the drivers of these patterns within the context of a changing world. All our research objectives are co-developed and co-created with stakeholders in the countries we work, to ensure that the questions we ask and how we ask them are relevant for application to local conservation and ocean management.

This lab works in collaboration with Nekton and manages the ocean data visualisation and tool development portal OCTOPUS.

We are a diverse team and value this diversity. We actively encourage students and visitors to the lab and we look forward to hearing how we can work together. Some programmes that could be useful for funding are below.

Group Members

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The Ocean Tool for Public Understanding and Science (OcToPUS) provides a platform for spatial data and applications related to the state of the oceans globally and how they are changing over time. These data and tools can support scientific study, monitoring, policy and decision-making for the management of the oceans. The team are currently collaborating with NGOs and other academics to further develop the utility of the platform.


  • Lucy
  • Gwilym Rowlands

Development Team

  • Trevor
  • Jan

In 2016 the team conducted research in Bermuda and NW Atlantic with partners from Bermuda Institute of Ocean Studies LINK LINK and the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, to investigate the zooplankton, demersal fish and benthic communities down to 300 m, and their environmental drivers. The team discovered vast black coral forest habitats in the rariphotic zone and confirmed a difference between seamount and island benthic communities. To date the expedition has resulted in 16 papers, and data has fed into Marine Spatial Planning in Bermuda and helped to increase the protected area in recognised by The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization.


A collaboration starting in 2018 between WildOceans LINK LINK, Coastal Ocean and Research and Development- Indian Ocean (CORDIO) LINK LINK and in country partners such as the University of Comoros and Comoros Directorate of Fisheries conducted an expedition to Comoros. Interns in South Africa, students in Oxford and academics in Comoros are working together to analyse the data that is focus on understanding fish and benthic communities down to 100m. Initial data were shared with the Comorian fishing communities and Government of Comoros in December 2019.


  • Lucy
  • Kaveh
  • Paris
  • UG - Rosalie Wright- completed
  • UG -  Jessica Chalkley

This expedition was co-developed in 2019 by the Oxford team and eight different Seychellois NGOs, institutions and Government Ministries to explore the Outer Islands of the Seychelles from surface to 350 m. The team is currently engaged in data analysis and initial results will be shared at a symposium with partners and stakeholders in Seychelles in May 2020.


Working with Maldives and Seychelles an expedition to the seamounts of the region will conducted in 2020 in collaboration with the Waitt Institute. Focusing on the seamount summits to 2000m, the team will explore the pelagic predators, demersal fish, zooplankton and benthic communities, and their associated environmental parameters through seabed mapping surveys and water chemistry analysis.