Freya Womersley
Freya is undertaking an INSPIRE PhD Studentship within the Sims Lab where she will be exploring the effects of ocean climate change on the environmental niches of pelagic sharks. This project aims to utilise big datasets provided by the collaborative Global Shark Movement Project to answer questions related to the present-day distributions of pelagic sharks and ultimately estimate future niches in the face of a changing ocean environment. She is a conservation focussed ecologist interested in the factors governing both human and wildlife distributions and the interactions that result from spatial overlap, particularly where highly migratory and ubiquitous marine megafauna are concerned.
For her MSc thesis, which she completed in 2016, she developed a project in collaboration with the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles, the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme and the Marine Megafauna Foundation which attempted an ocean scale assessment of potential human/whale shark conflicts by analysing injuries of anthropogenic origin as a proxy for interactions. This collaborative project came about after she spent a number of seasons monitoring this species in various global hotspots. Following her MSc, she moved to the Maldives to pursue a role in applied tropical reef conservation based on a large-scale coral restoration project. Along with a small team she developed and implemented methodologies to restore a degraded reef by transplanting nursery harvested corals. Prior to her PhD she undertook a short-term position on Heron Island working as a research assistant with Griffith University exploring the physiological plasticity in macroalgae on the Great Barrier Reef.
PhD Student
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