Dr Jenny Gales

Dr Jenny Gales

Associate Professor in Hydrography and Ocean Exploration

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)



  • Associate Professor in Hydrography and Ocean Exploration
  • Programme Lead for BSc Ocean Exploration and Surveying
  • Deputy Programme Lead for MSc Hydrography

Research: Antarctic Continental Margin Processes and Evolution, Continental Margin Geomorphology, Process Sedimentology, Ice Sheet Change, Antarctic Climate History.

Specialities: Marine Geomorphology, Bathymetry, Marine Geophysics, Marine Geology, Glacial Processes, Marine Robotics

I am an Associate Professor in Hydrography and Ocean Exploration and am actively involved in internationally recognised research surrounding continental slope processes and seafloor geomorphology. I have been involved in numerous international research expeditions including Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. The most recent expedition was the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 374 to the Ross Sea, Antarctica: https://iodp.tamu.edu/scienceops/expeditions/ross_sea_ice_sheet_history.html. The expedition built on data we collected previously during a EUROFLEETS-funded expedition, in collaboration with OGS, Italy. My current research is focused on understanding the causes of large submarine landslides on the Antarctic continental margin by combining core-downhole-log and seismic data, with an upcoming Antarctic expedition scheduled.

Before joining the University of Plymouth, I worked at the National Oceanography Centre on the NERC-funded 'Coordinated Canyon Experiment' in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). The project aimed to understand what triggers underwater sediment flows, how fast they move, how far they travel and what influence they have on seafloor morphology. The project involved the use of marine robotics, including Remotely Operated Vehicles, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles and Uncrewed Surface Vehicles to map the seafloor and to provide communication. The 18-month experiment involved an array of moorings down the axis of the canyon housing a wide range of instruments, and a variety of novel 'smart sensors' to collect seafloor data. I have been involved in numerous research projects involving remotely operated and autonomous instruments for seafloor exploration, including expeditions around the UK, Canada and the USA.

I completed my PhD at the British Antarctic Survey working to understand processes influencing the geomorphology of Antarctic continental slopes and spent two semesters at the Arctic University of Norway (University of Tromso) and Statoil ASA in Trondheim, Norway. Between 2013-2015 I worked as a Marine Geoscientist at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh on both commercial and research projects, including reconstructing the offshore glacial history of NW Scotland from seismic data. Prior to starting my PhD, I worked as a research assistant for the Dorset Wildlife Trust and University of Southampton compiling and processing backscatter data to assess the marine habitats off the Dorset coast.


2023 - present    Associate Professor in Hydrography and Ocean Exploration

2022 - present    Programme Lead - BSc Ocean Exploration and Surveying

2017 - 2023    Lecturer in Hydrography and Ocean Exploration

2017 - present    Deputy Programme Lead - MSc Hydrography

2015 - 2017   Post Doctoral Research, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton 

2013 - 2015   Marine Geoscientist, British Geological Survey, Edinburgh

2009 - 2013   PhD, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge

2008 - 2009    MRes Marine Geology & Geophysics, University of Southampton

2005 - 2008    BSc Oceanography with Physical Geography, University of Southampton 

Professional membership

The Hydrographic Society UK & Ireland

Roles on external bodies

Empowering Women in Hydrography Lead - The Hydrographic Society UK & Ireland



Teaching interests

Currently teaches:

  • OS105 Mapping the Marine Environment (Module Leader)
  • OS305 Coastal Survey 
  • OS316 Exploration for Energy and Minerals (Module Leader)
  • MAR521 Acoustic and Oceanographic Survey
Completed PhD students:
  • Maxine King - Deciphering submarine slope processes on the Ross Sea continental margin (2023)



Research interests

  • Submarine geomorphology
  • Process sedimentology and process geomorphology
  • Antarctica and the Southern Ocean
  • High-latitude continental margins, submarine canyons, landslides, gullies, channels, fjords, deltas 
  • Marine robotics

Research groups



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Gales J, McKay R, De Santis L, Rebesco M, Laberg JS, Shevenell A, Harwood D, Leckie M, Kulhanek D & King M (2023) 'Climate-controlled submarine landslides on the Antarctic continental margin' Nature Communications , DOI Open access
Kulhanek D, Prunella C, McLaughlin J, Griffin B, McKay R, Patterson M, Gales J, Shevenell A, van Peer T & IODP Expedition 374 Scientists (2022) 'Data report: IODP Site U1523 composite section and stratigraphic splice based on X-ray fluorescence data' Proceedings of the International Ocean Discovery Program , DOI Open access
Dorschel B, Hehemann L, Viquerat S, Warnke F, Dreutter S, Schulze Tenberge Y, Accettella D, An L, Barrios F & Bazhenova E (2022) 'The International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean Version 2' Scientific Data 9, , DOI Open access
Marschalek JW, Zurli L, Talarico F, van de Flierdt T, Vermeesch P, Carter A, Beny F, Bout-Roumazeilles V, Sangiorgi F & Hemming SR (2021) 'A large West Antarctic Ice Sheet explains early Neogene sea-level amplitude' Nature 600, (7889) 450-455 , DOI Open access
King M, Gales J, Laberg JS, McKay R, De Santis L, Kulhanek D, Hosegood P & Morris A (2021) 'Pleistocene depositional environments and links to cryosphere-ocean interactions on the eastern Ross Sea continental slope, Antarctica (IODP Hole U1525A)' Marine Geology 443, , DOI Open access
Conte R, Rebesco M, De Santis L, Colleoni F, Bensi M, Bergamasco A, Kovacevic V, Gales J, Zgur F & Accettella D (2021) 'Bottom current control on sediment deposition between the Iselin bank and the Hillary canyon (Antarctica) since the late Miocene: An integrated seismic- oceanographic approach' Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers , DOI Open access
Benetti S, Chiverrell R, O Cofaigh C, Burke M, Medialdea A, Small D, Ballantyne C, Bateman M, Callard L & Wilson P (2021) 'Exploring controls of the early and stepped deglaciation on the western margin of the British Irish Ice Sheet' Journal of Quaternary Science , DOI Open access
King M, Gales J, Laberg JS, McKay R, De Santis L, Kulhanek D, Hosegood P, Morris A, Rebesco M & Expedition 374 Scientists IODP (2021) 'Timing, frequency and nature of sedimentary processes operating on the eastern Ross Sea continental slope during the Pleistocene- a record from IODP Expedition 374' Publisher Site , DOI
Gales J, Rebesco M, De Santis L, Bergamasco A, Colleoni F, Kim S, Accettella D, Kovacevic V, Liu Y & Olivo E (2020) 'Role of dense shelf water in the development of Antarctic submarine canyon morphology' Geomorphology 107453-107453 , DOI Open access
Lo Iacono C, Guillén J, Guerrero Q, Durán R, Wardell C, Hall RA, Aslam T, Carter GDO, Gales JA & Huvenne VAI (2020) 'Bidirectional bedform fields at the head of a submarine canyon (NE Atlantic)' Earth and Planetary Science Letters 542, 116321-116321 , DOI Open access
Heerema C, Talling P, Cartigny M, Paull C, Bailey L, Simmons S, Parson D, Clare M, Gwiazda R & Lundsten E (2019) 'What determines the downstream evolution of turbidity currents' Earth and Planetary Science Letters , DOI Open access
Hage S, Cartigny MJB, Sumner EJ, Clare MA, Hughes Clarke JE, Talling PJ, Lintern DG, Simmons SM, Silva Jacinto R & Vellinga AJ (2019) 'Direct monitoring reveals initiation of turbidity currents from extremely dilute river plumes' Geophysical Research Letters 46, (20) 11310-11320 , DOI Open access
Maier KL, Rosenberger K, Paull CK, Gwiazda R, Gales J, Lorenson T, Barry JP, Talling PJ, McGann M & Xu J (2019) 'Sediment and organic carbon transport and deposition driven by internal tides along Monterey Canyon, offshore California' Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 153, (0) 0-0 , DOI Open access
Maier K, Gales J, Paull C, Rosenberger K, Talling P, Simmons S, Gwiazda R, McGann M, Cartigny M & Lundsten E (2019) 'Linking direct measurements of turbidity currents to submarine canyon-floor deposits' Frontiers in Earth Science , DOI Open access
Callard L, O Cofaigh C, Benetti S, Chiverrell R, Van Landeghem K, Saher M, Gales J, Small D, Clark C & Livingstone S (2018) 'Extent and retreat history of the Barra Fan Ice Stream offshore western Scotland and northern Ireland during the last glaciation' Quaternary Science Reviews 201, 280-302 , DOI Open access
De Santis L, Colleoni F, Bergamasco A, Rebesco M, Accettella D, Kovacevic V, Gales J, Sookwan K & Olivo E (2018) 'Exploring the Unknown of the Ross Sea in Sea Ice–Free Conditions' Eos 99, Publisher Site , DOI
Paull C, Talling P, Maier K, Parsons D, Xu J, Caress D, Gwiazda R, Lundsten E, Anderson K & Barry J (2018) 'Powerful turbidity currents driven by dense basal layers' Nature Communications 9, (1) 0-0 , DOI Open access
Gales J, Talling P, Cartigny M, Hughes Clarke J, Lintern G, Stacey C & Clare M (2018) 'What controls submarine channel development and the morphology of deltas entering deep-water fjords?' Earth Surface Processes and Landforms , DOI Open access
McKay RM, De Santis L, Kulhanek DK, Ash JL, Beny F, Browne IM, Cortese G, Cordeiro de Sousa IM, Dodd JP & Esper OM (2018) 'International ocean discovery program expedition 374 preliminary report: Ross sea west antarctic ice sheet history ocean-ice sheet interactions and west antarctic ice sheet vulnerability: Clues from the neogene and quaternary record of the outer ross sea continental margin' Expedition 374 Preliminary Report: Ross Sea West Antarctic Ice Sheet History , DOI Open access
Carter GDO, Huvenne VAI, Gales JA, Lo Iacono C, Marsh L, Ougier-Simonin A, Robert K & Wynn RB (2018) 'Ongoing evolution of submarine canyon rockwalls; examples from the Whittard Canyon, Celtic Margin (NE Atlantic)' Progress in Oceanography , DOI Open access
Gales JA, Larter RD, Leat PT & Jokat W (2016) 'Components of an Antarctic trough-mouth fan: examples from the Crary Fan, Weddell Sea' Geological Society, London, Memoirs 46, (1) 377-378 Publisher Site , DOI
Gales JA, Larter RD & Leat PT (2016) 'Iceberg ploughmarks and associated sediment ridges on the southern Weddell Sea margin' Geological Society, London, Memoirs 46, (1) 289-290 Publisher Site , DOI
Gales JA, Larter RD & Leat PT (2016) 'Submarine gullies on the southern Weddell Sea slope, Antarctica' Geological Society, London, Memoirs 46, (1) 383-384 Publisher Site , DOI
Gales JA, Leat PT, Larter RD, Kuhn G, Hillenbrand C-D, Graham AGC, Mitchell NC, Tate AJ, Buys GB & Jokat W (2014) 'Large-scale submarine landslides, channel and gully systems on the southern Weddell Sea margin, Antarctica' Marine Geology 348, 73-87 Publisher Site , DOI
Gales JA, Forwick M, Laberg JS, Vorren TO, Larter RD, Graham AGC, Baeten NJ & Amundsen HB (2013) 'Arctic and Antarctic submarine gullies—A comparison of high latitude continental margins' Geomorphology 201, 449-461 Publisher Site , DOI
Gales JA, Larter RD, Mitchell NC & Dowdeswell JA (2013) 'Geomorphic signature of Antarctic submarine gullies: Implications for continental slope processes' Marine Geology 337, 112-124 Publisher Site , DOI
Gales JA, Larter RD, Mitchell NC, Hillenbrand C, Østerhus S & Shoosmith DR (2012) 'Southern Weddell Sea shelf edge geomorphology: Implications for gully formation by the overflow of high‐salinity water' Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 117, (F4) Publisher Site , DOI
Larter RD, Graham AGC, Hillenbrand C-D, Smith JA & Gales JA (2012) 'Late Quaternary grounded ice extent in the Filchner Trough, Weddell Sea, Antarctica: new marine geophysical evidence' Quaternary Science Reviews 53, 111-122 Publisher Site , DOI
Gales J, Hillenbrand C-D, Larter R, Laberg J-S, Melles M, Benetti S & Passchier S (2018) 'Processes influencing differences in Arctic and Antarctic Trough Mouth Fan sedimentology' in Hogan K Glaciated Margins: The Sedimentary and Geophysical Archive Geological Society Special Publication Publisher Site Open access
Forwick M, Laberg JS, Husum K & Gales JA (2016) 'Submarine Mass Wasting on Hovgaard Ridge, Fram Strait, European Arctic' Submarine Mass Movements and their Consequences Springer International Publishing 253-263 Publisher Site , DOI
Conference Papers
DeSantis L, McKay RM, Kulhanek DK, Di Roberto A, Gales J, King MV, Marschalek JW & Perez L (2022) 'IODP EXP. 374 PROVIDES CLUES INTO PAST GLACIAL PROCESSES OF THE ANTARCTIC ICE SHEET' GSA Connects 2022 meeting in Denver, Colorado Geological Society of America Publisher Site , DOI
Gales J, Larter R, Talling P, Mitchell N & Huvenne V (2016) 'NEW INSIGHTS INTO PROCESSES INFLUENCING SUBMARINE GULLY MORPHOLOGY FROM HIGH-RESOLUTION MARINE ROBOTICS' GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016 Geological Society of America Publisher Site , DOI
Other Publications
Gales J, McKay R, De Santis L, Rebesco M, Laberg JS, Kulhanek D, patterson M, King M & Kim S Assessing the influence of climate on Antarctic submarine gully evolution  . Publisher Site , DOI
Ferrante GM, De Santis L, Andò S, McKay R, Kulhanek D, Gales J, Perrotti M, Zurli L, Singh S & Rebesco M TriGgeR mechanisms of Antarctic ice sheet INStability across the Plio-pLeistocene trAnsitIoN - GRAINSPLAIN project. Publisher Site , DOI