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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

 Jessica Rudd

Jessica Rudd

PhD Student

 Hatherly B11


Hatherly Building, University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4PS, UK


My interests revolve around how animal-borne technologies can be used to better understand marine vertebrate ecology and mitigate negative human interaction through large scale spatial ecology combined with fine scale behavioural data. My research focuses on the use of accelerometers and satellite tags in uncovering otherwise unidentifiable behaviours marine vertebrate to help inform conservation.

Prior and during my undergrad at the University of Exeter, I volunteered in Costa Rica and in Northern Cyprus working with hatchling and adult life stages of leatherback, loggerhead and green turtles. During my year abroad at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, I had the opportunity to join Dr Steven Cooke’s Fish Conservation Ecology and Physiology Lab for the summer field season which introduced me to the application of biologgers in conservation. I was able to apply both these experiences while joining the Sea Turtle Research Team at the Cape Eleuthera Institute in The Bahamas as a graduate research student and for my masters.

Broad research specialisms:

  • Marine Vertebrate Conservation
  • Marine Spatial Ecology
  • Biotelemetry
  • Accelerometry


BSc (Hons) Zoology with Study Abroad, University of Exeter, 2016

Masters by Research Marine Biology, University of Exeter, 2020

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Research projects

Project Title: Application of accelerometry to the conservation of coastal marine vertebrates

Supervisors: Dr Lucy Hawkes, Dr Matthew Witt

Project Description:
This study sets out to contribute to the applications of biologging to the conservation of two species of endangered migrating marine vertebrates, the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas). The study will investigate how georeferenced fine-scale behaviour derived from Daily Diary tags can be used to determine spatio-temporal breeching events. This behaviour possibly linked to courtship displays can be used to infer breeding hotpots, influencing policy extending to wildlife watching guidelines and management of fisheries bycatch within and outside of MPAs.

By combining GPS telemetry data with accelerometer-derived energy expenditure, the study will also aim to test whether relocation is an effective conservation strategy for juvenile green turtles by estimating the behavioural differences and energetic consequence of homing behaviour following relocation.

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Journal articles

Witt M, Hawkes L, Exeter O, Kerry C, Rudd J, Henderson S, Kukulya A, Yoda N, Whelan S (In Press). Autonomous underwater videography and tracking of basking sharks. Animal Biotelemetry
Rudd JR, Bartolomeu T, Dolton HR, Exeter OM, Kerry C, Hawkes L, Henderson SM, Shirley M, Witt MJ (In Press). Basking shark sub-surface behaviour revealed by animal-towed cameras. PLoS One
Witt M, Hawkes L, Exeter O, Kerry C, Rudd J, Hall J, Hall G, Henderson S (In Press). High resolution biologging of breaching by the world's second largest shark species. Scientific Reports

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