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 Tom Horton

Tom Horton

Graduate Research Assistant (Witt)

 Environment and Sustainability Institute ESI 01.03


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


I am a spatial ecologist interested in marine vertebrates with conservation concern. Specific elements of my work include: the use of animal-borne tags to study migration, three dimensional habitat use and response to capture events in fisheries; compilation of fisher-based knowledge and the development of best practice guidelines to reduce the impact of capture events in sport fisheries; and, the use broad-scale fisheries data to understand fish and fisher overlap.


2016 – present: University of Exeter, Ph.D in biological sciences “Spatial ecology and conservation of Atlantic bluefin tuna in the northeast Atlantic”.

Supervised by Dr David Righton (Cefas), Dr Jeroen van der Kooij (Cefas)Dr Matthew Witt* (Exeter), Dr Lucy Hawkes* (Exeter) and Prof. Barbara Block (Stanford University, USA)

2007-2011: University of Southampton, Master of Marine Biology (MSci)    


After graduating from Southampton University I worked as a research assistant at the Marine Megafauna Foundation, Tofo, Mozambique for Dr. Simon Pierce on the whale shark research program before moving to Cornwall and starting work for Cornwall Wildlife Trust as the Volunteer Seaquest Southwest Co-ordinator. I then moved on to work for Marine Discovery Penzance as a guide/researcher. Throughout my early career development I put a high empahsis on developing field skills and knowlege of marine vertebrates including their spatial ecology and conservation challenges. 




Research interests

My current research focusses on bluefin tuna in the northeast Atlantic. My work aims to provide a robust understanding of the spatio-temporal distribution, environmental preferences and diving behaviour of Atlantic bluefin tuna in the northeast Atlantic and to document and investigate the mechanisms driving the recent re-appearance of Atlantic bluefin tuna into coastal waters of the northeast Atlantic and the North Sea.

Research projects

ThunnusUK: The Univeristy of Exeter and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science have embarked upon a two-year scientific study, Thunnus UK, supported by the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and in collaboration with the Tuna Research and Conservation Center of Stanford University, to provide a baseline understanding of the ecology and distribution of Atlantic bluefin tuna that migrate to waters of southwest England. 

Research networks

Marine Conservation Science Lab

Tuna Research and Conservation Center 

Tag-a-Giant Foundation 



Supervision / Group

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