Pete Cotton

Academic profile

Dr Pete Cotton

Associate Professor in Ecology
School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

The Global Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Pete's work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

Goal 13: SDG 13 - Climate ActionGoal 14: SDG 14 - Life Below WaterGoal 15: SDG 15 - Life on LandGoal 17: SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Supervised Research Degrees

Lisa Sztukowski. PhD. Individual foraging specialization and seabird fishery interactions: implications for albatross conservation. Jointly supervised with Dr Steve Votier, University of Exeter, and Dr Henri Weimerskirch, CNRS, France. Funding: MARES. Completed 2016.

Julian Evans. PhD. habitat characterisation of infralittoral pebble beds in the Maltese islands. Jointly supervised with Prof Martin Attrill & Prof Patrick Schembri, University of Malta. Funding: STEPS, Malta. Completed 2014.

Ahmed Al-Mazrouai, PhD. Phenotypic plasticity in marine intertidal gastropods. Jointly supervised with Dr Simon Rundle. Funding: Sultanate of Oman. Completed 2009.

Sophie Mowles, PhD. Contest behaviour in hermit crabs. Jointly supervised with Dr Mark Briffa. Funding: University of Plymouth Research Studentship. Completed 2009.

Sarah Dalesman, PhD. Anti-predator behaviour in the freshwater gastropod Lymnaea stagnalis. Jointly supervised with Dr Simon Rundle. Funding: University of Plymouth Studentship. Completed 2007.

Lissa Goodwin, PhD. The ecology and conservation of the harbour porpoise (Phocena phocena) along the west coast of the UK. Jointly supervised with Dr Martin Attrill & Dr Nick Tregenza. Funding: private. Completed 2007.

Sarah Carless, PhD. The effect of human disturbance on oystercatcher prey selection and foraging behaviour on rocky shores. Jointly supervised with Dr Ross Coleman, University of Sydney & Dr Richard Stillman, CEH. Funding: HEFCE COLLr. Completed 2006.

Gillian Groeger, PhD. The visual performance of the cuttlefish eye. Jointly supervised with Prof. Roddy Williamson. Funding: HEFCE COLLr. Completed 2003.


In the first year I teach on MBIO120 Introduction to Marine Biology and on the MBIO123 Marine Biology Field Course to Brittany. I also teach about vertebrates (MBIO162 Biodiversity) and animal behaviour (MBIO161 Evolution and Behaviour).

My second year teaching is largely field-based. I run the Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology field course (MBIO213) which is usually goes to South Africa in September. Around Easter, I'm involved a non-residential field course based at the marine station. This course covers experimental design, sampling from boats and statistical analysis of the data we collect (MBIO224).

In the third year, I teach behavioural ecology (MBIO317) and supervise research projects (MBIO313).

I was the programme leader for BSc Marine Biology & Coastal Ecology for seven years and now act as a personal tutor for students on the programme.

Contact Pete

Room 619, Davy Building, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA
+44 1752 584617