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Research Associate


My research interests cover many aspects of the ecology of marine mammals, in particular the factors that drive distribution and abundance of cetaceans, as well as the impacts of human activities and structures on cetaceans. I've spent a lot of time in the field, conducting both visual and acoustic surveys for cetaceans, as well as working on photo ID projects for both cetaceans and pinnipeds. When back at my desk,  I use ecological modelling techniques to investigate relationships between animals and their environment.


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Claire Lacey is a visiting researcher at the Marine Mammal Research Program at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her research here is focussed on assessing the distribution and abundance of spinner dolphins around the main 4 Hawaiian islands in collaboration with PIFSC.  Prior to moving to MMRP, Claire was project coordinator for SCANS-III, a large, international survey for cetaceans covering much of the European Atlantic Region. Her PhD work used the data collected during this and other large-scale surveys to run ecological models to investigate the factors that influence large scale distribution of cetaceans.  Previous work has involved considerable time in the field throughout the Atlantic, as well as the Southern Ocean and in Hong Kong. Claire is a Chartered Environmentalist,  Convenor of the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management’s (CIEEM) Marine and Coastal Special Interest Group, and has served on the Scottish Policy Groups for both CIEEM and British Ecological Society. She is an active science communicator, and has written articles for the Curious Kids section of The Conversation, and done a wide range of talks on ocean science, marine mammals and promoting science careers in schools, particularly for girls.




. Selbmann, A., Deecke, V.B., Filatova, O.A., Fedutin, I.D., Miller, P.J.O., Simon, M., Bowles, A.E., Lyrholm, T., Lacey, C., Magnúsdottir, E.E., Maunder, W., Wensvee,. P.J., Svavarsson, J., Samarra, F.I.P. 2023. Call type repertoire of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Iceland and its variation across regions. Marine Mammal Science. 1-25. DOI: 10.1111/mms.13039



. Baines, M., Jackson, J. A., Fielding, S., Warwick-Evans, V., Reichelt, M., Lacey, C., Pinder, S., Trathan, P. N. 2022. Ecological interactions between Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) and baleen whales in the South Sandwich Islands region - Exploring predator-prey biomass rations. Deep Sea Research I. 189.DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr.2022.103867


. Baines, M., Kelly, N., Reichelt, M., Lacey, C., Pinder, S., Fielding, S., Murphy, E., Thrathan, P., Biuw, M., Lindstrøm, U., Krafft, B. A., Jackson, J.  (2021). Population abundance of recovering humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae and other baleen whales in the Scotia Arc, South Atlantic. MEPS 676. 77- 94.


. Hammond, P.S., Lacey, C., Gilles, A., Viquerat, S., Börjesson, P., Herr, H., Macleod, K., Ridoux, V., Santos, M.B., Scheidat, M., Teilmann, J., Vingada, J., Øien, N. 2021. Estimates of cetacean abundance in European Atlantic waters in summer 2016 from the SCANS-III aerial and shipboard surveys.  SCANS-III project report. 40pp.



. Lewis, T., Boisseau, O., Danbolt, M., Gillespie, D., Lacey, C., Leaper, R., Matthews, J., McLanaghan, R., Moscrop, A.  (2018). Abundance estimates for sperm whales in the Mediterranean Sea from acoustic line-transect surveys. Journal Cetacean Research and Management 18. 103-117.



. Hiscock, K., Bayley, D., Pade, N., Lacey, C., Cox, E., Enever, R. (2013).  Prioritizing action for recovery and conservation of marine species: a case study based on species of conservation importance around England. Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Fresw. Ecosyst. 23(1) 88-110.


. Boisseau, O., Lacey, C., Lewis, T., Moscrop, A., Danbolt, M., McLanaghan, R. (2010). Encounter rates of cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K, 90: Special Issue 08, 351583 – 1588


. Lacey, C, Leaper, R, Moscrop, A, Gillespie, D, McLanaghan, R, Brown, S (2010).  Photo-grammetric measurements of swimming speed and body length of basking sharks observed around the Hebrides, Scotland. J.Mar.Biol.Ass UK. 90: (2): 361 – 366.


. Boisseau, O., Matthews, J., Gillespie, D., Lacey, C., Moscrop, A. and Ouamari, N.E., 2007. A visual and acoustic survey for harbour porpoises off North-West Africa: further evidence of a discrete population. African Journal of Marine Science, 29(3), pp.403-410.

. T. Lewis, D. Gillespie, C. Lacey, J. Matthews, M. Danbolt, R. Leaper, R. McLanaghan and A. Moscrop. (2007).Sperm whale abundance estimates from acoustic surveys of the Ionian Sea and Straits of Sicily in 2003. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K, 87:1, 353-358



. Gillespie, D., Berggren, P., Brown, S., Kuklik, I., Lacey, C., Lewis, T., Matthews, J,  McLanaghan, R., Moscrop, A.and Tregenza, N. (2005) The relative abundance of harbour porpoises Phocoena phocoena from acoustic and visual surveys in Baltic waters during 2001 and 2002. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management. 7:(1).51-57


. Southall, E., Sims, D., Metcalfe, J., Doyle, J., Fanshawe, S., Lacey, C., Shrimpton, J., Solandt, J-L, Speedie, C. (2005). Spatial distribution patterns of basking sharks on the European shelf: Preliminary comparison of satellite-tag geolocation, survey and public sightings data. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 85(5), 1083-1088.

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