Sarah Marley

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am interested in supervising projects relating to marine megafauna ecology. Please get in touch to discuss opportunities and project ideas.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I am a marine scientist specialising in vertebrate ecology, animal behaviour, and underwater acoustics.

Originally from Scotland, I completed an BSc (Hons) Zoology at the University of Aberdeen followed by an MRes Marine Mammal Science at the University of St Andrews. In 2010, I travelled to Australia to work on various marine mammal research projects “for a few months” - which turned into eight years!

During my time in Australia, I completed a PhD in Applied Physics with the Centre for Marine Science and Technology (CMST) at Curtin University. My doctoral thesis examined coastal dolphins and noisy environments, focusing on bottlenose dolphins and snubfin dolphins in Western Australia. Following my PhD, I worked on research projects studying marine megafauna, anthropogenic disturbance, and animal movement at Curtin University and the University of Western Australia. I also gained industry experience as an environmental consultant working on marine impact assessments in both Australia and South-East Asia. In 2018, I returned to the UK to begin work at the University of Portsmouth as a Lecturer in Marine Biology.

In addition to conducting research, I have also spent several years working as a science communicator and tertiary educator. I am a strong supporter of both public engagement and citizen science.

I am an Associate Editor for Austral Ecology and Blog Editor for the Journal of Animal Ecology. I also sit on the Media Committee for the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life conference.

Teaching Responsibilities

I contribute to the teaching of several undergraduate and postgraduate units.


  • Experimental Biology
  • Graduate Skills 1


  • Animal Science
  • Community Ecology
  • Tutorials


  • Honours Project
  • Marine Ecology and Conservation
  • Marine Ecophysiology


  • Aquatic Biology Research Project
  • Research Toolkit (Module Coordinator)

Research Interests

My research focuses primarily on marine megafauna, including cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), pinnipeds (seals, sea lions), birds, and fish. I am particularly interested in aspects of:

  • Animal behaviour
  • Bioacoustics
  • Citizen science
  • Habitat-use
  • Human disturbance
  • Marine soundscapes
  • Marine ecology
  • Movement patterns
  • Underwater acoustics


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