James R Robbins

James R Robbins

PhD Researcher

University of Portsmouth

Biography

I am a quantitative ecologist, finishing up a PhD at the University of Portsmouth (UK), investigating the risk of ship collisions with whales and other cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in the north-east Atlantic. I’m broadly interested in human-induced impacts on the marine environment, conservation and behaviour of marine vertebrates.

I am now a Senior Ecological Modeller for Natural Power, a renewable energy consultancy and service provider. I provide analysis and modelling services for clients, with a focus on providing insights into potential ecological impacts from proposed offshore wind projects. This includes industry standard collision risk modelling and more bespoke services.

I’m an associate editor for the journal Marine BIodiversity Records and an observer at inter-governmental meetings as part of the delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Protection of the Sea (ACOPS), primarily attending OSPAR Commission, Arctic Council and International Maritime Organization meetings.

I am an experienced field biologist, conducting intensive marine mammal monitoring work on ships and in breeding seal and seabird colonies.

Download my CV.

Interests
  • Ecology
  • Conservation
  • Data science techniques
  • Animal behaviour
  • Marine megafauna
Education
  • PhD in Marine Conservation, 2019-2022

    University of Portsmouth

  • MSc in Marine Biology, 2013-2014

    University College Cork

  • BSc in Zoology, 2008-2011

    Anglia Ruskin University

Skills

R

geo-spatial analysis, data manipulation, development, big data

Statistics

including hierarchical Generalized Additive Models and Generalized Estimating Equations

Fieldwork

remote work, marine mammal handling, survey design

Experience

 
 
 
 
 
Natural Power
Senior ecological modeller
Natural Power
Jan 2022 – Present Stirling, UK
Providing statistical and ecological modelling solutions to support renewable energy projects. Using industry standard techniques, including stochastic Collision Risk Modelling for birds in proximity to wind-farm developments, colony apportioning, and impact analysis.
 
 
 
 
 
University of Portsmouth
PhD researcher
University of Portsmouth
Oct 2019 – Present Portsmouth, UK

Broadly focussing on:

  • Investigating spatio-temporal changes in shipping intensity and ecological impacts
  • Estimating co-occurrence of cetaceans and vessels in the north-east Atlantic
  • Simulating mitigation measures to save fin whales from fatal collisions
  • Understanding vessel crews' experience and opinions on mitigation measures
 
 
 
 
 
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Associate Editor
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Oct 2021 – Present Plymouth, UK
Working with the editorial staff and board, I make decisions on the suitability of marine mammal manuscripts for the journal, and communicate with authors and reviewers.
 
 
 
 
 
Marine Biodiversity Records
Associate Editor
Marine Biodiversity Records
Dec 2017 – Dec 2021 Plymouth, UK
As associate editor, I handle manuscripts focusing on marine mammal, shark and other marine megafauna distribution. This involves reviewing manuscripts, contact with authors and reviewers, and making publication recommendations.
 
 
 
 
 
University of Plymouth
Visiting Researcher
University of Plymouth
May 2015 – May 2020 Plymouth, UK
Contract work conducting acoustic and distance sampling analysis extended to supervision of MRes students and manuscript preparation. Student projects focussed on harbour porpoise distribution modelling, ship strike risk for whales, and the response of plankton communities to climate change.
 
 
 
 
 
ORCA
Science Manager
ORCA
Oct 2017 – Sep 2019 Portsmouth, UK
Leading scientific outputs for a conservation charity, I was responsible for the data life-cycle from pre-deployment equipment set-up, collation and database management, follow-up training, mapping, data-analysis and producing accessible and peer-reviewed publications. I fostered and maintained international collaborations, and devised and delivered novel research projects.
 
 
 
 
 
British Antarctic Survey
Zoological Field Assistant
British Antarctic Survey
Sep 2015 – Apr 2017 Bird Island, South Georgia
Intensive remote fieldwork monitoring Antarctic fur seals, leopard seals and southern elephant seals in the sub-Antarctic for 18 months. Working as part of a small over-wintering team of four, I helped to maintain the base, managed the laboratory and communication facilities, organised sample exports and assisted colleagues with seabird monitoring.
 
 
 
 
 
Point Blue Conservation Science
Research Assistant
Point Blue Conservation Science
Dec 2014 – Apr 2015 The Farallon Islands, California, USA
Remote fieldwork monitoring seals, sea lions and fur seals breeding on the island, and whales and dolphins transiting through the area.

Projects

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PhD - Ship strikes

PhD - Ship strikes

Investigating cetaceans hit by ships

Saving whales

Saving whales

Saving fin whales from being hit by ships

Stock tracker

Stock tracker

Tracking stock investments

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