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Research at St Andrews

Debbie JF Russell

Person

Debbie JF Russell
Postal address:
School of Biology
Scottish Oceans Institute
St Andrews
Fife
United Kingdom

Email: dr60@st-andrews.ac.uk

Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 467281

Research overview

I am interested in the marine ecosystem and species at the interface between the marine and terrestrial environments, namely seals and seabirds which are dependent on the marine ecosystem for food but on the terrestrial environment for breeding. I am particularly interested in interactions on various levels: among different taxa, between species and humans, and between species and their changing environment.

 

Key research topics

  • Investigation of seal population trends and their drivers.
  • Using a mixture of Bayesian and frequentist methods to analyse harbour and grey seal telemetry data to answer both pure and applied research questions.
  • Investigation of the impact of anthropogenic structures, their construction, operation and decommisioning, on marine predators.
  • Using movement and behavioural data within a state-space modelling framework to define activity budgets.
  • Modelling interactions between seals and fisheries in a spatial context, using state space models.
  • Modelling the effect of climate variation on British seabirds.

 

Current Group

  • Post Docs

- Matt Carter, “Comparative Habitat preference of seals around UK”.
- Theoni Photopoulou, "Estimating grey seal population size"

  • PhD students

- Katherine Whyte, “Behavioural responses by seals to offshore energy activities”.
- Lauren Arkoosh, "Seals as sentinels of antimicrobial resistance: mapping antimicrobial resistance genes in UK waters" (based at University of Abertay)
- Izzy Langley, "Inter-specific Interactions: investigating the role of grey seals in the harbour seal decline."

 

Alumni

  • Post doc

- James Grecian (2017), "Man-made structures and Apex Predators: Spatial interactions and overlap"

  • PhD

- J. Chris McKnight (2018). Counting the Cost of Tagging: Quantifying and Reducing the Behavioural and Energetic Impacts of Tags in a Large Marine Vertebrate.

- Matt Carter (2018). From pup to predator: Ontogeny of foraging behaviour in grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) pups

  • Masters

- Hannah Wyles: A novel method for classifying habitat use by grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) using seabed geomorphology.
- Lauren Himmelreich: What can rehabilitation seals tell us about wild populations?
- Sara Young: Potential Effects of Captivity on Dive Behaviour and Movement Patterns of Juvenile Grey Seals
- Raquel Soley Calvet: Living among giants: Habitat modelling of Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence
- J. Chris McKnight: Short-term effects of capture and tag attachment in common seals, Phoca vitulina.

 

Teaching

  • 2nd year interdisciplinary module "Science Methods"
  • Marine Mammal Biology and Environmental Biology Masters.
  • Quantitative Methods for Ecology
  • Research Methods in Marine Mammal Science

 

 

 

 

 

 

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