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Professor Callum Roberts

Professor Callum Roberts

 Stella Turk Building 


University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, TR10 9FE


I am Professor of Marine Conservation in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter's Cornwall campus. My research focuses on threats to marine ecosystems and species and on finding the means to protect them. My main interests include documenting the impacts of fishing on marine life, both historic and modern, and exploring the theory and practical effectiveness of marine protected areas for conservation and fisheries management.

For the last few decades I have used science to make the case for stronger protection for marine life at both national and international levels. My research group designed half a million square kilometres of marine protection in the North Atlantic that was established by OSPAR in 2010. We also provided the scientific underpinning for a new ocean protection target – 30% marine protected areas by 2030 – which is gaining widespread support as a follow on to the UN 10% by 2020 target. 

I am also an author. The Unnatural History of the Sea (Island Press) charts the effects of 1000 years of exploitation on ocean life. A second book, Ocean of life: how our seas are changing (Penguin Books), shows that the oceans are changing faster and in more ways than at any time in human history, and sets out a series of reforms that could lead to a more sustainable future. I have also written a book with the award winning photographer Alex Mustard, Secrets of the Seas (Bloomsbury), which through his glorious images showcases some of the most beautiful wildlife and places in the sea. My latest book, Reef Life (Profile Books), is on the past and precarious future of the world’s richest marine ecosystem, coral reefs.

I was chief scientific advisor for the BBC television’s flagship series Blue Planet II. I work extensively with ocean conservation charities and am Chief Scientific Advisor to BLUE Marine Foundation as well as a Trustee. I am also a WWF UK Ambassador, am on the board of the Nekton Deep Ocean Research Institute, scientific advisor to the Maldives Coral Institute, and advisor to the Pew Bertarelli Global Ocean Legacy Program.


BSc (Hons) Biology, University of York 1983

PhD Coral reef ecology, University of York 1987





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