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 Billy Heaney

Billy Heaney

MRes student

 Environment and Sustainability Institute 


Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK

My research interests revolve around how technology can aid marine conservation strategies, with particular emphasis on monitoring marine vertebrate populations. My research focuses on the ecology and conservation of grey seals, the UK’s largest pinniped, using remote sensing techniques such as thermal imagery.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Exeter, I volunteered with the Atlantic Whale Foundation and the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust on offshore surveys collecting observational and acoustical data on cetaceans.  Here I gained experience in the marine conservation field which I have utilised as part of my research in Cornwall alongside my part time job working with AK Wildlife cruises.

Broad research specialisms:

  • Marine Conservation
  • Marine Mammal Ecology
  • Pinniped haul-out behavior


BSc Hons Zoology (University of Exeter)


Research projects

Project Title: The ecology and conservation of grey seals using remote sensing techniques.

Supervisors: Dr Matthew Witt (University of Exeter) and Dr Lucy Hawkes (University of Exeter).

Project Description:
This project will take place at Godrevy, in conjunction with the National Trust and the Cornwall Seal group, to assess the potential impacts of human disturbance imposed on grey seals (Halichoerus grypus). This field site provides an opportunity to undertake night time surveys using thermal imaging to determine night time haul-out patterns of grey seals. A calibrative study will also be carried out at the Cornwall Seal Sanctuary, to investigate the thermal physiology of grey seals.

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