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Dr Ruth Thurstan

Dr Ruth Thurstan

Lecturer in Biosciences

 The Farmhouse F02/a

 

The Farmhouse, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK

Human induced changes to our coasts and oceans span much greater periods of time (decades to centuries) than even the longest established scientific monitoring programs. This means that, in addition to continuing and extending our monitoring efforts, we need to use alternative approaches and sources of information to better understand the scale and trajectory of changes that have occurred in our marine ecosystems.

Marine historical ecology is an interdisciplinary approach to research that draws upon (among others) 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. My work in the UK and Australia has made use of a variety of sources and techniques to better understand the scale and drivers of ecological change, and the consequences of such change for the users of these ecosystems, with a particular focus on finfish and shellfish fisheries. These include government statistical records, popular media, oral history interviews, maritime charts, and underwater coring and in-situ survey methods.

As well as understanding the scale of past changes, I am also interested in how we can best use this knowledge to inform contemporary management and policy, and have worked with non-governmental and governmental organizations to this effect.  

I also have ongoing projects exploring the social aspects of marine protected areas, reconstruction of marine and coastal ecosystem services, and the quantification of technological innovation and uptake in commercial and recreational fisheries.

Since 2015 I have co-chaired 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.

Please visit my Google Scholar page to view my published research, or contact me directly if you require PDFs.

Qualifications

2012: PhD in Environmental Economics and Management, University of York

2008: MSc in Marine Environmental Management, University of York

2004: BSc in Marine Biology (Hons), University of Liverpool

Research

Research interests

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

During my PhD I examined neglected government archives (annual reports, scientific enquiries, Royal Commissions, maritime charts) published from the 1860s onwards, to document the magnitude of changes in UK fisheries and coastal ecosystems from the industrial revolution to the present day.

In late 2011 I moved to the University of Queensland, Australia, to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship. During this time I used semi-structured interviews and explored popular media articles (books, magazines, newspapers) to quantitatively determine changes in catch rates, fishing technology and the impact of management measures on several east coast Australian fisheries (commercial and recreational).

In 2016 I commenced a research fellowship at Deakin University, Victoria, Australia. During this period I worked with fisheries scientists and stock assessment modellers to provide historical data for integration into fishery stock assessment.

I joined the College of Life and Environmental Sciences as a lecturer in October 2017, and am a member of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation.

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications


Buckley SM, Thurstan RH, Tobin A, Pandolfi JM (2017). Historical spatial reconstruction of a spawning-aggregation fishery. Conservation Biology Full text.
Thurstan RH, Buckley SM, Ortiz JC, Pandolfi JM (2016). Setting the Record Straight: Assessing the Reliability of Retrospective Accounts of Change. Conservation Letters, 9(2), 98-105. Abstract.  Full text.
Thurstan RH, McClenachan L, Crowder LB, Drew JA, Kittinger JN, Levin PS, Roberts CM, Pandolfi JM (2015). Filling historical data gaps to foster solutions in marine conservation. Ocean and Coastal Management, 115, 31-40. Abstract.
Thurstan RH, Campbell AB, Pandolfi JM (2014). Nineteenth century narratives reveal historic catch rates for Australian snapper ( Pagrus auratus ). Fish and Fisheries, 17(1), 210-225. Full text.
Thurstan RH, Hawkins JP, Roberts CM (2014). Origins of the bottom trawling controversy in the British Isles: 19th century witness testimonies reveal evidence of early fishery declines. Fish and Fisheries, 15(3), 506-522. Abstract.
Thurstan RH, Brockington S, Roberts CM (2010). The effects of 118 years of industrial fishing on UK bottom trawl fisheries. Nature Communications, 1(2). Abstract.  Full text.

Publications by category


Journal articles

Thurstan RH, Brittain Z, Jones DS, Cameron E, Dearnaley J, Bellgrove A (2018). Aboriginal uses of seaweeds in temperate Australia: an archival assessment. Journal of Applied Phycology, 1-12. Abstract.  Full text.
Pendleton L, Ahmadia GN, Browman HI, Thurstan RH, Kaplan DM, Bartolino V (2017). Debating the effectiveness of marine protected areas. ICES Journal of Marine Science
Buckley SM, Thurstan RH, Tobin A, Pandolfi JM (2017). Historical spatial reconstruction of a spawning-aggregation fishery. Conservation Biology Full text.
Thurstan RH, Game E, Pandolfi JM (2017). Popular media records reveal multi-decadal trends in recreational fishing catch rates. PLoS ONE, 12(8). Abstract.  Full text.
Roelfsema C, Thurstan R, Beger M, Dudgeon C, Loder J, Kovacs E, Gallo M, Flower J, Gomez Cabrera K-L, Ortiz J, et al (2016). A Citizen Science Approach: a Detailed Ecological Assessment of Subtropical Reefs at Point Lookout, Australia. PLoS One, 11(10). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Engelhard GH, Thurstan RH, MacKenzie BR, Alleway HK, Bannister RCA, Cardinale M, Clarke MW, Currie JC, Fortibuoni T, Holm P, et al (2016). ICES meets marine historical ecology: Placing the history of fish and fisheries in current policy context. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73(5), 1386-1403. Abstract.
Alleway HK, Thurstan RH, Lauer PR, Connell SD (2016). Incorporating historical data into aquaculture planning. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73(5), 1427-1436. Abstract.
Thurstan RH, Buckley SM, Ortiz JC, Pandolfi JM (2016). Setting the Record Straight: Assessing the Reliability of Retrospective Accounts of Change. Conservation Letters, 9(2), 98-105. Abstract.  Full text.
Thurstan RH, McClenachan L, Crowder LB, Drew JA, Kittinger JN, Levin PS, Roberts CM, Pandolfi JM (2015). Filling historical data gaps to foster solutions in marine conservation. Ocean and Coastal Management, 115, 31-40. Abstract.
Thurstan RH, Campbell AB, Pandolfi JM (2014). Nineteenth century narratives reveal historic catch rates for Australian snapper ( Pagrus auratus ). Fish and Fisheries, 17(1), 210-225. Full text.
Thurstan RH, Hawkins JP, Roberts CM (2014). Origins of the bottom trawling controversy in the British Isles: 19th century witness testimonies reveal evidence of early fishery declines. Fish and Fisheries, 15(3), 506-522. Abstract.
Thurstan RH, Roberts CM (2014). The past and future of fish consumption: can supplies meet healthy eating recommendations?. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 89(1-2), 5-11. Abstract.
Howarth LM, Roberts CM, Thurstan RH, Stewart BD (2014). The unintended consequences of simplifying the sea: Making the case for complexity. Fish and Fisheries, 15(4), 690-711. Abstract.
Thurstan RH, Hawkins JP, Raby L, Roberts CM (2013). Oyster (Ostrea edulis) extirpation and ecosystem transformation in the Firth of Forth, Scotland. Journal for Nature Conservation, 21(5), 253-261. Abstract.
Thurstan RH, Hawkins JP, Neves L, Roberts CM (2012). Are marine reserves and non-consumptive activities compatible? a global analysis of marine reserve regulations. Marine Policy, 36(5), 1096-1104. Abstract.
Thurstan RH, Roberts CM (2010). Ecological meltdown in the firth of clyde, Scotland: Two centuries of change in a coastal marine ecosystem. PLoS ONE, 5(7). Abstract.  Full text.
Thurstan RH, Brockington S, Roberts CM (2010). The effects of 118 years of industrial fishing on UK bottom trawl fisheries. Nature Communications, 1(2). Abstract.  Full text.

Chapters

Thurstan RH, Pandolfi JM, zu Ermgassen PSE (2017). Animal Forests Through Time: Historical Data to Understand Present Changes in Marine Ecosystems. In Rossi S, Bramanti L, Gori A, Orejas C (Eds.) Marine Animal Forests: the Ecology of Benthic Biodiversity Hotspots, Springer International Publishing, 947-963.  Abstract.  Full text.
Klein ES, Thurstan RH (2016). Acknowledging long-term ecological change: the problem of shifting baselines. In  (Ed) Perspectives on Oceans Past, 11-29.  Abstract.  Full text.
Thurstan RH, Buckley SM, Pandolfi JM (2016). Oral histories: Informing natural resource management using perceptions of the past. In  (Ed) Perspectives on Oceans Past, 155-173.  Abstract.  Full text.

Conferences

Clarke B, Thurstan R, Yates K (2016). Stakeholder perceptions of a coastal marine protected area.  Abstract.  Full text.

Internet publications

Thurstan R (2013). Fishing up the past: What historical records can tell us about marine populations today. Significance, 10(4), 30-33. Abstract.

Publications by year


2018

Thurstan RH, Brittain Z, Jones DS, Cameron E, Dearnaley J, Bellgrove A (2018). Aboriginal uses of seaweeds in temperate Australia: an archival assessment. Journal of Applied Phycology, 1-12. Abstract.  Full text.

2017

Thurstan RH, Pandolfi JM, zu Ermgassen PSE (2017). Animal Forests Through Time: Historical Data to Understand Present Changes in Marine Ecosystems. In Rossi S, Bramanti L, Gori A, Orejas C (Eds.) Marine Animal Forests: the Ecology of Benthic Biodiversity Hotspots, Springer International Publishing, 947-963.  Abstract.  Full text.
Pendleton L, Ahmadia GN, Browman HI, Thurstan RH, Kaplan DM, Bartolino V (2017). Debating the effectiveness of marine protected areas. ICES Journal of Marine Science
Buckley SM, Thurstan RH, Tobin A, Pandolfi JM (2017). Historical spatial reconstruction of a spawning-aggregation fishery. Conservation Biology Full text.
Thurstan RH, Game E, Pandolfi JM (2017). Popular media records reveal multi-decadal trends in recreational fishing catch rates. PLoS ONE, 12(8). Abstract.  Full text.

2016

Roelfsema C, Thurstan R, Beger M, Dudgeon C, Loder J, Kovacs E, Gallo M, Flower J, Gomez Cabrera K-L, Ortiz J, et al (2016). A Citizen Science Approach: a Detailed Ecological Assessment of Subtropical Reefs at Point Lookout, Australia. PLoS One, 11(10). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Klein ES, Thurstan RH (2016). Acknowledging long-term ecological change: the problem of shifting baselines. In  (Ed) Perspectives on Oceans Past, 11-29.  Abstract.  Full text.
Engelhard GH, Thurstan RH, MacKenzie BR, Alleway HK, Bannister RCA, Cardinale M, Clarke MW, Currie JC, Fortibuoni T, Holm P, et al (2016). ICES meets marine historical ecology: Placing the history of fish and fisheries in current policy context. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73(5), 1386-1403. Abstract.
Alleway HK, Thurstan RH, Lauer PR, Connell SD (2016). Incorporating historical data into aquaculture planning. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73(5), 1427-1436. Abstract.
Thurstan RH, Buckley SM, Pandolfi JM (2016). Oral histories: Informing natural resource management using perceptions of the past. In  (Ed) Perspectives on Oceans Past, 155-173.  Abstract.  Full text.
Thurstan RH, Buckley SM, Ortiz JC, Pandolfi JM (2016). Setting the Record Straight: Assessing the Reliability of Retrospective Accounts of Change. Conservation Letters, 9(2), 98-105. Abstract.  Full text.
Clarke B, Thurstan R, Yates K (2016). Stakeholder perceptions of a coastal marine protected area.  Abstract.  Full text.

2015

Thurstan RH, McClenachan L, Crowder LB, Drew JA, Kittinger JN, Levin PS, Roberts CM, Pandolfi JM (2015). Filling historical data gaps to foster solutions in marine conservation. Ocean and Coastal Management, 115, 31-40. Abstract.

2014

Thurstan RH, Campbell AB, Pandolfi JM (2014). Nineteenth century narratives reveal historic catch rates for Australian snapper ( Pagrus auratus ). Fish and Fisheries, 17(1), 210-225. Full text.
Thurstan RH, Hawkins JP, Roberts CM (2014). Origins of the bottom trawling controversy in the British Isles: 19th century witness testimonies reveal evidence of early fishery declines. Fish and Fisheries, 15(3), 506-522. Abstract.
Thurstan RH, Roberts CM (2014). The past and future of fish consumption: can supplies meet healthy eating recommendations?. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 89(1-2), 5-11. Abstract.
Howarth LM, Roberts CM, Thurstan RH, Stewart BD (2014). The unintended consequences of simplifying the sea: Making the case for complexity. Fish and Fisheries, 15(4), 690-711. Abstract.

2013

Thurstan R (2013). Fishing up the past: What historical records can tell us about marine populations today. Significance, 10(4), 30-33. Abstract.
Thurstan RH, Hawkins JP, Raby L, Roberts CM (2013). Oyster (Ostrea edulis) extirpation and ecosystem transformation in the Firth of Forth, Scotland. Journal for Nature Conservation, 21(5), 253-261. Abstract.

2012

Thurstan RH, Hawkins JP, Neves L, Roberts CM (2012). Are marine reserves and non-consumptive activities compatible? a global analysis of marine reserve regulations. Marine Policy, 36(5), 1096-1104. Abstract.

2010

Thurstan RH, Roberts CM (2010). Ecological meltdown in the firth of clyde, Scotland: Two centuries of change in a coastal marine ecosystem. PLoS ONE, 5(7). Abstract.  Full text.
Thurstan RH, Brockington S, Roberts CM (2010). The effects of 118 years of industrial fishing on UK bottom trawl fisheries. Nature Communications, 1(2). Abstract.  Full text.

Ruth_Thurstan Details from cache as at 2018-05-23 14:55:44

Refresh publications

Committee/panel activities

ICES Working Group on the History of Fish and Fisheries (WGHIST): Chair. Website.


Editorial responsibilities

Editorial Board Member for ICES Journal of Marine Science. Website.


Media Coverage

ICES, 4 May 2016: Feature article – Changing Perceptions.

Fish & Boat Magazine, 7 Jan 2015: QLD snapper catch rates down.

The Guardian, 20 Nov 2014: Queensland snapper catch rate has fallen nearly 90% since 1870s.

Nature World News, 14 Oct 2014: Health experts say, ‘Eat more fish’, despite dwindling supplies

The Guardian, 10 Feb 2014: Bottom trawling: how to empty the seas in just 150 years.

Nature News, 9 Apr 2013: Fishermen report on stocks from beyond the grave.

BBC COAST Season 6, 26 Jun 2011: Devon and Cornwall

Making Scotland’s Landscape, 7 Nov 2010: The Sea.

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