Dr Steve Simpson
Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology and Global Change
I am a marine biologist and fish ecologist, with particular interests in the behaviour of coral reef fishes, bioacoustics, effects of climate change on marine ecosystems, conservation and management. I am also a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow (2011-2014) which enables me to develop strong links between the research community and industry and policy on the themes of European Fisheries and Climate Change, and Anthropogenic Noise and Marine Ecosystems. I joined the University of Exeter as a Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology and Global Change in Sept 2012.
My work combines fieldwork, often through expeditions to remote and challenging environments, with laboratory-based behaviour experiments, data-mining, and computer modelling.
My research focuses on:
- The impact of anthropogenic noise on marine ecosystems
- The effects of climate change on fish and fisheries
- Sensory and orientation behaviour of marine organisms
- Dispersal, connectivity and biogeography
Impact Case Studies from my Research
- Understanding changes in fisheries due to warming in the North East Atlantic to inform industry, policy and management decisions
- Making noise: research on reef fish bioacoustics leads to new technologies that could aid in restoring fish populations
Recent activites linking Research with Impact
-> Impacts of Marine Noise
- Managing a 3-year KTP with an Associate embedded in HR Wallingford Ltd to develop a simulation model of impacts of noise on marine organisms. This includes large-scale acoustics experiments in a dry dock in Newcastle.
- Supervising a NERC Business Internship for 6 months for a postdoc to work with Sustainable Marine Energy Ltd and HR Wallingford Ltd on assessing impact of noise of a new tidal turbine device being installed in the Solent.
- Running a mobile lab in Montpellier for 2 years to assess impacts of marine noise on fish with Ecocean, a French Ecosystem Restoration company.
- Measuring impacts of pile driving noise on salmon for 1 year with ex-MRes student now based at Marine Scotland.
- Am a UK representative on the EU Evidence Group on Impacts of noise in the Marine Environment for European Parliament, including presenting my research in Brussels.
-> Fisheries and Climate Change
- Understanding and predicting biological responses to climate change in pelagic fish species this summer with a MSc Food Security student embedded in Cornish Sardine Management Association.
- Collaborating with a Penryn-based social scientist and an MRes student to develop a vulnerability analysis for SW fisheries, with involvement of the Newlyn, Penzance, Plymouth and Brixham fleets.
- Writing a book with representatives from science, industry, consumers, policy, law and politics on a "Vision of Sustainable Fisheries in 2050" based on a thinktank I am organising in London in September.
- Have worked with a marine lawyer to develop a legal argument that demonstrates the illegality of overfishing and to empower the UK fishery minister for negotiations in Brussels (Plenty More Fish in the Sea?; Covered in the Times by Ben Webster)
- Wrote the 2013 Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) report on Impacts of Climate Change on Fish which was presented to Westminster in November 2013.
Research Findings and News Stories
- Expedition finds Nemo can travel great distances to connect populations (PLOS ONE paper: New Scientist article, National Geographic article, Guardian article, Mail article)
- Major summer project on impacts of noise: Behind the scenes at 'the biggest fish tank you have ever seen' (Featured in Planet Earth Podcast: How marine life responds to underwater noise)
- Man-made noise makes fish more susceptible to predators (Global Change Biology paper; NERC Planet Earth Report)
- Large gurnard and chips: How our fish-eating habits will change as warmer sea temperatures mean the disappearance of cod from UK waters (Daily Mail article on changing fisheries due to warming seas)
- Gurnard and chips, please: warmer seas change UK fish stock as cod head north (Guardian / Observer article on impacts of warming seas on UK fisheries)
- Boat noise impacts development and survival of vital marine invertebrates (Scientific Reports Paper)
- Noise pollution impacts fish species differently (PLoS ONE Paper)
- Biosciences hosts high-calibre summer students (featuring the summer bursaries for Fiona Birch (BBSRC) and Jess Lister (FSBI))
- Killing Nemo (film by 3rd year project students showcasing our research)
- Developing and testing models of fish behaviour around tidal turbines (NERC Internship Award)
- Water racket - fish reactions to noise vary between species (Animal Behaviour paper)
- New partnership launched to predict impact of underwater noise on fish (NERC / TSB Knowledge Transfer Partnership)
- Climate change prompts 'mackerel wars' (Global Post interview)
- Crabs & ship noise (BBC Radio Cornwall interview)
- Biosciences undergraduate to explore impacts of climate change on the Newlyn fishery (BES / Fishmongers Company funding)
- Ship noise impairs feeding and and heightens predation risk for crabs (Animal Behaviour paper)
- Boat noise stops fish finding home (MEPS paper)
- Ship noise makes crabs get crabby (Biology Letters paper, Scientific American podcast)
- Tropical plankton exodus by 2100 (New Scientist article)
- Red gurnard and chips please (p7, Cabot Institute Report 2012)
- Sustainable Fisheries Schools Resources (Digital Explorer Interview)
- Great Barrier Reef in decline (Live interview with Huw Edwards on BBC 5 o'clock News)
- TEDxBristol Talk: Future of the Oceans
- Cabot Institute Podcast on Future of Fisheries - Burst Radio (Aug 2012)
- Stranded whale in Severn Estuary (BBC Points West Interview on marine noise)
- Bristol marine biologist explains how fish find home (ICRS Expert Panel)
- A test of the senses in search of a shoal mate (Ecology paper)
- Some like it hot – European fish stocks changing with warming seas (Current Biology paper, Guardian article, BBC article)
- Steve Simpson awarded NERC KE Fellowship
- Ocean acidification leaves clownfish deaf to predators (Biology Letters paper, BBC article, CBC Quirks and Quarks Interview, Naked Scientists Interview, Science News article)
- Crustaceans Crave a Little Quiet (news feature in Science)
- Secrets of the Night Reef: Noise that Can Terrify (Coral magazine article)
- Rowdy residents warn crustaceans away from perilous reefs (PLoS ONE paper, NERC Article)
- Latest research featured on NERC Planet Earth Podcast
- Tracking the Ocean's Next Generation (Science News feature article)
- A familiar racket helps fish find a suitable home (Coral Reefs paper)
- Effects of El Niño land South Pacific reef fish in hot water (Global Change Biology paper, NERC Article)
- Adventures in a sea of noise (re:search magazine article)
- Taking the pulse of coral reefs (Journal of Marine Biology and Ecology paper)
- Marine Pied Piper leads Nemo astray (Behavioral Ecology paper)
- Baby corals dance their way home (PLoS ONE paper)
2000-2004 PhD, University of York, UK
1998-1999 MRes Marine & Coastal Ecology & Environmental Management, University of York, UK
1995-1998 BSc Marine Biology, University of Liverpool, UK
2012-present Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter
2011-2014 NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow
2011-2013 Postdoctoral Researcher, Defra-funded Anthropogenic Noise project, University of Bristol, UK
2008-2011 Postdoctoral Researcher, NERC Sustainable Marine Bioresources Initiative, University of Bristol, UK
2007-2008 Royal Society International Fellow and EPHE Postdoctoral Fellow, Université de Perpignan
2004-2007 NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh, UK
|Tel||+44 (0) 1392 722714|
|Address||Geoffrey Pope Building
College of Life and Environmental Sciences
University of Exeter