School of Marine Science and Technology

Staff Profile

Professor Nick Polunin

Professor of Marine Environmental Science


I am a 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’ slant 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 North Sea fisheries.

Citation impact: Web of science h' 56, Google Scholar 64 (August 2015)

Newcastle roles: Leader, Marine Biology, Ecosystems & Governance Research Group; Leader, MRes in Marine Ecosystems & Governance

Professional roles: Foundation for Environmental Conservation (President); citation-Q1 international journal Environmental Conservation (Editor in Chief); Marine Biological Association (Fellow); Royal Society of Biology (Fellow); International Society for Reef Studies (Fellow); Fisheries Society of the British Isles (Member); British Ecological Society (member)




Research areas: fish ecology, fisheries science, stable isotope data on trophodynamics, habitat complexity roles in marine ecosystems, marine conservation science, coral reef ecology

Research Associate (current): Christina Skinner

Current Visiting/Guest staff: Dr Steve Newman [Banyan Tree Group Foundation], Dr Chris Sweeting [MMO], Dr Margarita N Lavides [Haribon Foundation]

Recent Visiting Researchers/Academics: Prof. Jorge Cortes-Nunez [University of Costa Rica], Prof. Simon Jennings [CEFAS/UEA], Dr Catherine Scott [Natural England], Dr David Galvan [CENPAT, Argentina], Dr Aileen C Mill [now Newcastle Uni]

Research students (current): 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, A Mill ) - tuna fisheries management in eastern Indonesia; Christina Skinner (with A Mill, S Newman) - pelagic connectivity of coral-reef apex predators; Georgina Hunt (with J Pinnegar, G Engelhard, B Wigham) - large-scale changes in Northumberland fishery food-webs

Recent PhD students: Saoud Al-Habsi [Oman Government], Helen J Bloomfield [Liverpool University], Annette Breckwoldt (Muehlig-Hofmann) [Leibnitz ZMT], Carolyn J Barnes [Cefas], Alex J Caveen [Seafish], Nick AJ Graham [Lancaster University], Margarita N Lavides [Haribon Foundation], Ben J Kurten [KAUST], M Aaron MacNeil [AIMS], Will DK Reid [Newcastle University], Pia Schuchert, Ruben J Sulu [Worldfish], Rachel A Turner [Exeter University], Dan Skerritt [MRAG Ltd], Wahyu Nugraha [Trunojoyo University]

Recent Research Associates: Dr WJF Le Quesne [CEFAS] - modelling of MPAs on continental shelves; Dr R Fisher - reef ecosystem modelling; Dr Steve P Newman - reef fish/habitat relationships; Dr Chris J Sweeting [MMO] - trophodynamics/stable isotopes; Dr SK Wilson [DEC, W Australia] - bleaching effects on reef fish

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
MSc MST8023 Marine Consultancy
MRes MST8025 Marine Ecosystems & Governance