Professor Nick Polunin
Professor of Marine Environmental Science

  • Email:
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6675
  • Fax: +44 (0) 191 208 7891
  • Address: School of Marine Science & Technology
    Newcastle University, NE1 7RU, England

I am a community marine ecologist who uses macroecological approaches (marine protected area, coral bleaching, fishing and other spatial effects), and modelling and stable isotope techniques to help understand what holds marine ecosystems together. This work has long had a strong ‘conservation science’ goal including interactions with the social sciences. Principal foci include coral and temperate (North Sea) reefs, major recent projects including those on fish-habitat relationships in the Caribbean, deep sea hydrothermal vent food webs in the Southern Ocean, fisheries extinctions in the Philippines and sustainability of a North Sea fishery.

Citation profile at June 2014: All citations 12034 (6455 since 2009), Web of science h' 52, Google Scholar 61 (46 since 2009), see

Roles: Leader of Marine Ecosystems & Governance research group, Editor in Chief of the international journal Environmental Conservation (Scopus, Environmental Sciences Q1)



Research areas

Fish and fisheries science, stable isotope elucidation of food web structure, habitat complexity roles in marine ecosystems, marine conservation science, coral reef ecology

Current Work

Post-doctoral Research Associates: Dr Steve P Newman - reef fish/habitat relationships; Dr Chris J Sweeting - trophodynamics/stable isotopes

Visiting Academics: Prof. Jorge Cortes-Nunez (University of Costa Rica), Prof. Simon Jennings (CEFAS/UEA)

Visiting Researchers: Dr Catherine Scott (Natural England), Dr Margarita N Lavides (Ateneo de Manila University), David Galvan (CENPAT, Argentina)

Research students (current) Wahyu Nugraha (with SP Rushton, SP Newman) - macroecology of Caribbean parrotfish; Dan Skerritt (with C Fitzsimmons, C Scott) - lobster abundance and movement; Andrew Spencer (with C Fitzsimmons) - crab growth and stock assessment methods; Charlie Dryden (with SP Rushton, SP Newman) - reef fish-habitat relationships in the Caribbean; Fabrice Stephenson (with C Fitzsimmons, C Scott) - benthic habitat/potfishing interactions; Paula Lightfoot (with C Fitzsimmons) - object-based analysis of acoustic seabed habitat data; Kerry Lyn Thomas (with C Fitzsimmons) - object-based analysis of satellite-derived Caribbean seabed habitat data; Alexander Khan (with T Gray) - 

Recent PhD students: Saoud Al-Habsi, Helen J Bloomfield, Annette Breckwoldt (Muehlig-Hofmann), Carolyn J Barnes, Alex J Caveen, Nick AJ Graham, Margarita N Lavides, Ben J Kurten, M Aaron MacNeil, Will DK Reid, Aileen C Mill, Pia Schuchert, Ruben J Sulu, Rachel A Turner

Recent Research Associates: WJF Le Quesne (CEFAS) - modelling of MPAs on continental shelves; R Fisher - reef ecosystem modelling

Outreach etc

President, International Society for Reef Studies, 2003-2006
Northumberland Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority, Committee member, 2010-
DEFRA Marine Fisheries Science Advisory Committee, 2006-
President, Foundation for Environmental Conservation, 1996-
Editor in Chief, Environmental Conservation, 1996-

Research funding

Natural Environment Research Council, Department for International Development, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Marine & Fisheries Agency, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, European Commission, Marine Management Organisation, Darwin Initiative, Leverhulme Trust, Fisheries Society of the British Isles, Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Sciences





BSc MST2101 Marine Ecology
BSc MST3101 Advanced Marine Biology
MSc MST8011 Critical Appraisal of Coastal Production Systems