Dr Nicola Quick

Dr Nicola Quick

Lecturer in Marine Conservation

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



I am a Lecturer in Marine Conservation studying the ecology and behaviour of marine mammals. My research focusses on how marine mammals use acoustic signals as well as how anthropogenic noise effects their behaviour. I am particularly interested in developing novel tools for advancing our understanding of these complex animals and how they react to noise in their environments.



  • Lecturer in Marine Conservation University of Plymouth (2022-Present)
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University USA (2022 -Present)
  • Honorary Research Fellow University of St Andrews (2009-Present)


  • Research Scientist Duke University, USA (2016-2021)
  • Postdoctoral Associate Duke University (2014-2016)
  • Senior Research Scientist and Principal Scientist SMRU Ltd, University of St Andrews (2007-2014)
  • Researcher, University of Aberdeen (2002)
  • Cetacean Specialist, Fisheries Research Services, Scottish Government (2001-2002)


  • PhD, University of St Andrews 2002-2006. Vocal Behaviour and abundance of bottlenose dolphins in St Andrews Bay
  • MSc Marine and Fisheries Science, Distinction. University of Aberdeen 2000-2001
  • BSc Marine Biology, 2i (Hons), University of Wales, Swansea 1994-1997

Professional membership

  • Member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy (SMM)
  • Member of the SMM Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • Associate editor for the Journal Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation (2018-present)
  • Associate editor for the Journal Endangered Species Research (2020-present)



Teaching interests

I am Module Leader for

 - OS109 Introduction to Biodiversity and Marine Ecosystems

- MAR513 Research Skills and Methods



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Booth CG, Brannan N, Dunlop R, Friedlander A, Isojunno S, Miller P, Quick N, Southall B & Pirotta E (2022) 'A sampling, exposure and receptor framework for identifying factors that modulate behavioural responses to disturbance in cetaceans' Journal of Animal Ecology , DOI Open access
Mews S, Langrock R, King R & Quick N (2022) 'Multistate capture–recapture models for irregularly sampled data' The Annals of Applied Statistics 16, (2) , DOI
Cheney BJ, Dale J, Thompson PM & Quick NJ (2022) 'Spy in the sky: a method to identify pregnant small cetaceans' Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation 8, (4) 492-505 , DOI
Cioffi WR, Quick NJ, Foley HJ, Waples DM, Swaim ZT, Shearer JM, Webster DL, Friedlaender AS, Southall BL & Baird RW (2021) 'Adult male Cuvier's beaked whales ( <scp> <i>Ziphius cavirostris</i> </scp> ) engage in prolonged bouts of synchronous diving' Marine Mammal Science 37, (3) 1085-1100 , DOI
Quick NJ, Cioffi WR, Shearer JM, Fahlman A & Read AJ (2020) 'Extreme diving in mammals: first estimates of behavioural aerobic dive limits in Cuvier's beaked whales' Journal of Experimental Biology 223, (18) , DOI
Arso Civil M, Quick NJ, Cheney B, Pirotta E, Thompson PM & Hammond PS (2019) 'Changing distribution of the east coast of Scotland bottlenose dolphin population and the challenges of area‐based management' Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 29, (S1) 178-196 , DOI
Quick NJ, Cioffi WR, Shearer J & Read AJ (2019) 'Mind the gap—optimizing satellite tag settings for time series analysis of foraging dives in Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris)' Animal Biotelemetry 7, (1) , DOI
Shearer JM, Quick NJ, Cioffi WR, Baird RW, Webster DL, Foley HJ, Swaim ZT, Waples DM, Bell JT & Read AJ (2019) 'Diving behaviour of Cuvier's beaked whales ( <i>Ziphius cavirostris</i> ) off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina' Royal Society Open Science 6, (2) 181728-181728 , DOI
Arso Civil M, Cheney B, Quick NJ, Islas-Villanueva V, Graves JA, Janik VM, Thompson PM & Hammond PS (2018) 'Variations in age- and sex-specific survival rates help explain population trend in a discrete marine mammal population' Ecology and Evolution 9, (1) 533-544 , DOI
Bowers MT, Friedlaender AS, Janik VM, Nowacek DP, Quick NJ, Southall BL & Read AJ (2018) 'Selective reactions to different killer whale call categories in two delphinid species' Journal of Experimental Biology 221, (11) , DOI
Quick N, Callahan H & Read AJ (2017) 'Two‐component calls in short‐finned pilot whales ( <i>Globicephala macrorhynchus</i> )' Marine Mammal Science 34, (1) 155-168 , DOI
Quick N, Scott-Hayward L, Sadykova D, Nowacek D & Read A (2017) 'Effects of a scientific echo sounder on the behavior of short-finned pilot whales (<i>Globicephala macrorhynchus</i>)' Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 74, (5) 716-726 , DOI
Arso Civil M, Cheney B, Quick NJ, Thompson PM & Hammond PS (2017) 'A new approach to estimate fecundity rate from inter‐birth intervals' Ecosphere 8, (4) , DOI
Quick NJ, Isojunno S, Sadykova D, Bowers M, Nowacek DP & Read AJ (2017) 'Hidden Markov models reveal complexity in the diving behaviour of short-finned pilot whales' Scientific Reports 7, (1) , DOI
Quick NJ, Cheney B, Thompson PM & Hammond PS (2017) 'Can the Camera Lie? A Nonpermanent Nick in a Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)' Aquatic Mammals 43, (2) 156-161 , DOI
Southall BL, Quick N, Hastie G, Tyack P & Boyd I (2017) 'Mitigation of harm during a novel behavioural response study involving active sonar and wild cetaceans' Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 16, 29-38
Cheney B, Corkrey R, Durban JW, Grellier K, Hammond PS, Islas-Villanueva V, Janik VM, Lusseau SM, Parsons KM & Quick NJ (2014) 'Long-term trends in the use of a protected area by small cetaceans in relation to changes in population status' Global Ecology and Conservation 2, 118-128 , DOI
Kaschner K, Quick NJ, Jewell R, Williams R & Harris CM (2012) 'Global Coverage of Cetacean Line-Transect Surveys: Status Quo, Data Gaps and Future Challenges' PLoS ONE 7, (9) e44075-e44075 , DOI
Pirotta E, Milor R, Quick N, Moretti D, Di Marzio N, Tyack P, Boyd I & Hastie G (2012) 'Vessel Noise Affects Beaked Whale Behavior: Results of a Dedicated Acoustic Response Study' PLoS ONE 7, (8) e42535-e42535 , DOI
Sayigh L, Quick N, Hastie G & Tyack P (2012) 'Repeated call types in short-finned pilot whales,<i>Globicephala macrorhynchus</i>' Marine Mammal Science 29, (2) 312-324 , DOI
Jewell R, Thomas L, Harris CM, Kaschner K, Wiff R, Hammond PS & Quick NJ (2012) 'Global analysis of cetacean line-transect surveys: detecting trends in cetacean density' Marine Ecology Progress Series 453, 227-240 , DOI
Quick NJ & Janik VM (2012) 'Bottlenose dolphins exchange signature whistles when meeting at sea' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279, (1738) 2539-2545 , DOI
Cheney B, Ingram SN, Stevick P, Hammond PS, Wilson B, Mandleberg L, Elwen SH, Culloch RM, Quick NJ & Janick VM (2012) 'Integrating multiple data sources to assess the distribution and abundance of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Scottish waters' Mammal Review
Quick NJ, Rendell LE & Janik VM (2008) 'A mobile acoustic localization system for the study of free-ranging dolphins during focal follows' Marine Mammal Science , DOI
Quick NJ & Janik VM (2008) 'Whistle rates of wild bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus): Influences of group size and behavior' Journal of Comparative Psychology 122, (3) 305-311 , DOI
Quick NJ & Janik VM (2006) 'Vocal exchanges in wild bottlenose dolphins' The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 119, (5) 3223-3223 , DOI
Quick NJ, Middlemas SJ & Armstrong JD (2004) 'A survey of antipredator controls at marine salmon farms in Scotland' Aquaculture 230, (1-4) 169-180 , DOI