Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Staff Profile

Professor Clare Fitzsimmons

Professor of Marine Ecosystems and Governance


Clare’s background in environmental research, coupled with commercial experience gained in defence and marine consultancy sectors has given her a wide array of interests, unique analytical skills and familiarity with novel techniques not formerly applied to marine environmental issues. Although her expertise developed across several fields, a common theme is the analysis of complex systems. She now applies this to marine management and governance, primarily investigating human interactions with ecological systems.

Interested in the ways in which human activities and their organisation impact upon the marine environment; she focuses on understanding governance systems to support decision making for natural resource management, and associated values and trade-offs made at multiple scales. Current research is developing novel social network analysis and futures techniques to explore marine resource management and governance through large-scale regional work across the Caribbean (EC FP7; Defra). She also sustains a successful local ecological programme. This aims to provide management relevant research to support the new inshore conservation obligations of local Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) and centres on high value local crustacea stocks, associated habitats and fishing behaviour. It attracts multiple funders (NERC, Cefas, Natural England, NIFCA, the Marine Management Organisation).

Roles and Responsibilities

Degree Programme Director: International Marine Environmental Consultancy MSc programme.

Great North Museum Academic Teaching and Research Committee

Contributes to Marine Biology BSc programmes.


BSc Chemistry (Environmental Chemistry), First Class Honours

PhD Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Manchester

APMP and PRINCE2 project manager

MSc Tropical Coastal Management, Newcastle University

Informal Interests

Diving: wrecks, technical, rebreather, marine life; Boats; Underwater hockey (octopush); Aerial dance.


Current Projects


Development of a technology-based methodology for the characterization of underwater ecosystems as tool towards marine spatial planning decisions of marine areas in the Colombian seas (Royal Academy of Engineering)

Acoustic Mapping of Anguilla's Ecosystem Services (Defra Darwin Initiative)


Using unmanned aerial vehicles to provide cost-effective solutions for marine and coastal monitoring and management (Natural England)

Marine Strategy Framework Directive - Subtidal Rock and Mud Indicators and Monitoring Protocols (European Maritime and Fisheries Fund)

Recreational activity monitoring in BNNC SAC and Coquet to St. Mary’s MCZ (Natural England)

Lobsters on the Ground (Natural England)

Greater North-Sea MSFD Partnership Project (Natural England)

The Scapa Flow Scuttling: Supporting a Community Centennial Review of its Past, Present and Future (AHRC Living Legacies)

Postdoctoral Research Associates 

Dr Paula Lightfoot and Dr Ashleigh Tinlin

Postgraduate Supervision

Andrew Spencer (with N Polunin) - crab growth and stock assessment methods; Jayne Carrick - renewable energy politics (with T Grey); Kirsty Lees (with A Mills, P Robertson) - lobster movement; Ashley Endacott - seagrass for fisheries (with J Delaney)

Previous Projects


Object based approaches to identifying and monitoring marine ecosystem services using remotely sensed data for the UK Caribbean Overseas Territories (NERC-CASE with Environment Systems)

Impacts and threats to biodiversity in the UK Caribbean Overseas Territories (Defra)

FORCE - Future of Reefs in a Changing Environment (European Commission FP7)


Potting intensity biotope effects within  the Berwick and North Northumberland Coast European Marine Site (Natural England)

Assessment of recreational and commercial collection of organisms on intertidal rocky reefs and mudflats within regional European Marine Sites (Natural England)

Advancing the quantitative basis for sustainable management of inshore crab fisheries: case study for edible crabs in Northumberland (NERC-CASE with Cefas and Heriot-Watt)

Monitoring lobster-habitat interactions using acoustic telemetry (MMO)

Impacts of windfarms on Northumberland shellfisheries, H.gammarus and C.pagurus (MMO)

Assessment of edible and velvet crab fisheries in Northumberland (Natural England)

Establishing Northumberland lobster populations (Natural England)


Defra; JNCC; European Commission FP7; NERC; Cefas; Natural England; the Marine Management Organisation; European Maritime and Fisheries Fund; Royal Society of Engineering; AHRC


Postgraduate Teaching      

Degree Programme Director for Marine Science Postgraduate Taught Programmes (MSc and MRes) http://www.ncl.ac.uk/marine/study/postgraduate/science/

MSc International Marine Environmental Consultancy


Module Leader

MST8022 Environmental Research Skills

MST8023 Marine Consultancy

MST8014 Marine Consultancy Review


SPG8027 Project Management 

BIO8057 Wildlife Research and Policy 2: Evidence 

BIO8055 Evidence for Policy and Licencing

Undergraduate Teaching



MST3104, MST3105, MST3106, MST3107 Marine Research Project modules, including both home and overseas research http://www.ncl.ac.uk/marine/study/undergraduate/fieldcourses/overseas/

MST2104 Marine Employability Skills

MST1104 Marine Study Skills