Mr. Nick Horne










School of Natural and Built Environment

Marine Biology Station, 12-13 The Strand, Portaferry, Newtownards BT22 1PF

Room 02004



Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology MSc, University of Aberdeen, 2016

Marine Biology BSc (Hons), University of Portsmouth, 2013





PhD Title

Quantifying the impact of marine renewable energy devices on harbour seals: a multifaceted approach to plugging knowledge gaps on fine-scale habitat use in a tidally active environment.

PhD project Description

Collision risk to harbour seals is currently the key environmental constraint on tidal energy development and test sites in the Pentland Firth, Orkney Waters and Strangford Lough area, where this species is known to be in decline. In Strangford Lough, the harbour seal is the species of greatest interest, as this population is the only marine mammal noted as a qualifying feature of the Strangford Lough SAC. The Lough is spatially heterogenous with high and low current flows; it is the location of SeaGen and is currently a test site for Minesto’s DeepGreen kite. Therefore, Strangford Lough is an ideal site for assessing environmental interactions of tidal energy devices with harbour seals.

By integrating existing data with data gathered during the course of the project, the student will advance the collision risk framework that is currently being developed at QUB. Collectively, this research will reduce scientific uncertainty surrounding this key issue by providing new insights to improve the estimates of collision risk to harbour seals from tidal energy devices. This information can be used to better assess the consequences for these protected populations in Scotland and Ireland, with the aim of expediting the consenting process.


Dr Louise Kregting (QUB)

Dr Ross Culloch (MSS)

Dr Jonathan Houghton (QUB)

Prof Ben Wilson (UHI)

Dr Andrew Dale (UHI)



Poster(s)/ Presentation(s)