Miss Molly James

Miss Molly James

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


MPhil/PhD Student


Project title: Predicting marine species dispersal:a multi-disciplinary approach


My project uses a multi-disciplinary approach to understand meroplanktonic dispersal in marine systems.  Current predictions of larval dispersal made by biophysical models often fail to accurately replicate patterns seen in nature. This may be caused by a limited understanding of larval responses to behavioural cues, and the underlying mechanisms of larval movement.  Lab observations show that a number of organisms display behavioural responses when exposed to cues such as light, salinity, and turbulence, but this may not accurately represent behavioural expression in nature, due to the complex nature of the marine environment where all these things happen simultaneously. My research aims to gain an understanding of how behavioural responses manifest in nature, the role of active movement in larval dispersal, and the relationship between patterns of dispersal and distribution.This will help improve the accuracy of species dispersal and distribution predictions which can be used in marine conservation and fisheries management efforts. 


BSc(Hons) Marine Biology and Oceanography

Research interests

  • larval dispersal
  • larval behaviour
  • biophysical modelling
  • species distributions

Key publications are highlighted

James M, Polton J, Brereton A, Howell K, Nimmo-Smith A & Knights A 2019 'Reverse-engineering field-derived vertical distribution profiles to infer larval swimming behaviours' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , DOI PEARL


LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mollykjames/
Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Molly_James6