School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Ecology Research Students

Georgina Hunt
Georgina Hunt

Project description

I am a PhD research student researching long-term changes in coastal fish species. These species are off the Northumberland Coast in the north east of England.

My supervisory team includes:

  • Professor Nick Polunin and Dr Ben Wigham from Newcastle University
  • Dr John Pinnegar and Dr Georg Engelhard from the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)

It involves analysing historical fisheries Cefas research surveys data (from the early 1900s on). This is to examine long-term changes in fish numbers, lengths, and diet in the region. I'm looking at this in the context of human disturbance (e.g. bottom trawling).

Another aspect of research has involved reconstructing a historical beam trawl. It is to resurvey historical sites onboard Newcastle University's RV The Princess Royal. This helps to compare catches between the late 19th century and present day.

Using historical data to explain long-term changes in coastal fish communities is important. It helps understand the magnitude of change that has occurred off our coast. It provides a useful benchmark for setting future realistic restoration targets.

Interests and qualifications

My interest in fisheries science stems from my degree in Marine Biology at Newcastle in 2011.

My passion for the subject has expanded through my diverse experiences, including:

  • assisting with inshore fishery patrols with the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries Authority (NIFCA)
  • working as a Scientific Officer for the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Belfast

I completed my MSc in Marine Environmental Management at:

  • the University of York
  • School of Ocean and Fisheries Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks

For my MSc project, I worked in Juneau, Alaska. I examined the diet composition of three important groundfish species. I did this to better understand variability of prey consumed by top-level predators.

I'm pursuing a career in fisheries science. I look forward to meeting people with similar research interests.