Dr Jo Kershaw

Dr Jo Kershaw

Teaching and Research Associate (TARA) (Marine Biology)

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



Research interests

I am an ecologist interested in marine mammal physiology and disease. My research integrates whole organism physiology with species ecology to investigate the mechanisms underpinning the physiological adaptations and responses of marine mammals to changes in their environment.

 Specifically, my research interests include:

-   Fasting physiology in capital breeding species.

-   Infectious diseases and immune system function and fitness.

-   How exposure to toxins and contaminants affect overall health and impact survival.

-   Physiological adaptations and resistance / susceptibility to environmental change.




Kershaw, J.L., Jensen, S-K., McConnell, B., Fraser, S., Cummings, C., Lacaze, J-P., Hermann, G., Bresnan, E., Dean, K. J., Turner, A. D., Davidson, K., Hall, A. J. 2021. Toxins from harmful algae in fish from Scottish coastal waters. Harmful Algae; 105. doi.org/10.1016/j.hal.2021.102068 

Aoki, K. Isojunno, S. Belot, C. Iwata, T. Kershaw, J. L. Akiyama, Y. Martín López, L. Ramp, C. Biuw, M. Swift, R. Wensveen, P. Pomeroy, P. Narazaki, T. Hall, A. Sato, K. Miller, P. 2021. Aerial photogrammetry and tag-derived tissue density reveal patterns of lipid-store body condition of humpback whales on their feeding grounds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 288; 1943. doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2020.2307

Kershaw, J. L. Ramp, C. A. Sears, R. Plourde, S. Brosset, P. Miller, P. J. O. Hall, A.J. 2020. Declining reproductive success in the Gulf of St. Lawrence’s humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) reflects ecosystem shifts on their feeding grounds. Global Change Biology. doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15466.

Kershaw, J. L., Brownlow, A., Ramp, C. A., Miller, P. J. O., Hall, A. J. (2019). Assessing cetacean body condition: Is total lipid content in blubber biopsies a useful monitoring tool? Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 29 (S1): 271– 282. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.3105.

Hall, A. J., Mackey, B. Kershaw, J. L., Thompson, P. (2019) Age-length relationships in UK harbour seals during a period of population decline. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 29 (S1): 61– 70. DOI:/10.1002/aqc.3104.

Kershaw, J. L., Hall, A. J. (2019) Mercury in cetaceans: Exposure, bioaccumulation and toxicity. Science of the Total Environment, 694. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.133683

Kershaw, J. L., Botting, C. H., Brownlow, A., & Hall, A. J. (2018) Not just fat: investigating the proteome of cetacean blubber tissue. Conservation Physiology, 6(1). DOI: 10.1093/conphys/coy003

Kershaw, J. L., Stubberfield, E. J., Foster, G., Brownlow, A., Hall, A. J., & Perrett, L. L. (2017) Exposure of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) to Brucella in declining populations across Scotland. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 126(1), 12-23. DOI: 10.3354/dao03163

Kershaw, J. L., Sherrill, M., Davison, N. J., Brownlow, A., & Hall, A. J. (2017) Evaluating morphometric and metabolic markers of body condition in a small cetacean, the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). Ecology and Evolution, 7(10), 3494-3506. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2891

Kershaw, J. L., & Hall, A. J. (2016) Seasonal variation in harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) blubber cortisol - A novel indicator of physiological state? Scientific Reports, 6, [21889]. DOI: 10.1038/srep21889

Jensen, S-K., Lacaze, J-P., Hermann, G., Kershaw, J.L., Brownlow, A., Turner, A., & Hall, A. J. (2015) Detection and effects of harmful algal toxins in Scottish harbour seals and potential links to population decline. Toxicon, 97, 1-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2015.02.002

Hunt, K. E., Moore, M. J., Rolland, R. M., Kellar, N. M., Hall, A. J., Kershaw, J.L., Raverty, S. A., Davis, C. E., Yeates, L. C., Fauquier, D. A., Rowles, T. K.Kraus, S. D. (2013) Overcoming the challenges of studying conservation physiology in large whales: a review of available methods. Conservation Physiology, 1(1), 1-24. DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cot006