Dr Philip Hosegood
Associate Professor in Physical Oceanography
School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
- Marine renewable energy
- Physical oceanography
- Marine protected areas
- Human element
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Phil Hosegood is an observational physical oceanographer with more than 20 years experience in collecting and interpreting measurements from a diverse range of dynamic regimes in the marine environment. He has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and more than 40 conference abstracts. Phil obtained his PhD cum laude from Utrecht University after studying the processes that drive enhanced turbulent mixing over continental slopes.
- Programme Director of the BSc Oceanography & Coastal Processes: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/bsc-oceanography-and-coastal-processes
- Member of the Marine Physics Research Group: www.marinephysics.org
- Member of the Marine Institute (www.plymouth.ac.uk/marine)
Certificate of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
Fellow of The Higher Education Academy
- 2015–present: Associate Professor (Reader) in Physical Oceanography
- 2007–2015: Lecturer in Physical Oceanography, Plymouth University
- 2005–2007: Post-doctoral Research Associate, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington. My research with Prof. Mike Gregg and Prof. Matthew Alford, studied the respective roles played by mixing and restratification in the surface mixed layer in the north-eastern Pacific Ocean, particularly at sub-mesoscales. This is achieved by the analysis of an extensive dataset obtained through the use of the Shallow Water Mapping System (SWIMS), microstructure profilers (MMP) and acoustic Doppler current profilers.
- 2000–2004: Ph.D (cum laude) Physical Oceanography, Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ), Netherlands. The study was conducted within the multidisciplinary project Processes over the Continental Slope (PROCS) and investigated, through the analysis of data obtained from a combination of moored and ship-based instruments, short-term mixing processes over the continental slope in the Faeroe-Shetland Channel. The work was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Hans van Haren. The thesis, entitled ‘Observations of the impact of flow-topography interactions on mixing processes within a confined basin: the Faeroe-Shetland Channel’, may be viewed on-line at: http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2005-0614-200024/index.htm
- 1998–1999: M.Sc Applied Marine Science, Plymouth University, UK. A dissertation entitled ‘Mesoscale Variability on the Continental Slope in the Faeroe-Shetland Channel’ was completed under the supervision of Professor David Huntley and in which the dynamics of the study region were considered using several year-long data sets.
- 1994–1997: B.Sc Geography, Southampton University, UK.
- Member of American Geophysical Union
- Peninsula Research Institue for Marine Renewable Energy
*** Nominated 'Most Inspirational Teacher' SSTAR awards, 2011, 2016***
I teach on a number of modules across the BSc Marine Science programme and lead two modules:
- OS201 Global Ocean Processes: This module teaches students about the major oceanographic processes that influence the ocean circulation and have implications for biogeochemical processes throughout the marine environment.
- OS206 Researching the Marine Environment: This module teaches students advanced practical skills appropriate to their specific degree. We train students to be able to independently conduct fieldwork with minimal supervision, including instrument programming, preparation, deployment and recovery, in addition to project planning and management.
I also lead the oceanographic component of the residential field week to the Scilly Isles.
My principal research interests are the understanding, primarily through the analysis of observations, of dynamic oceanographic processes occurring at scales between turbulence and the mesoscale. I have recently participated and lead a number of projects that investigate the physical oceanography of the near-coastal shelf sea environment, the shelf edge region where water from the open ocean is exchanged with the shelf seas, and the air-sea interface where the ocean and atmosphere exchange properties. Currently, my research focusses on the role of dynamic physical processes in shaping the marine ecosystem across a range of trophic levels in the tropical Indian Ocean.
My previous work focused on the role played by dynamic processes occurring at sloping boundaries, particularly internal waves, and how this influences diapycnal mixing. As a part of a multidisciplinary team, I also studied how such processes further influence the distribution and transport of sediment and the structure of the near-bed benthic biological community. I continued my interest in shelf-edge processes by leading a work package on the NERC-funded consortium grant, Fluxes Across Sloping Topography in the northeast Atlantic (FASTNEt).
My recent and ongoing research has also investigated the near-coastal environment and the air-sea interface where the competing influences of mixing and restratification, particularly those due to horizontal rather than vertical processes, are of substantial importance to the interaction between the atmosphere and the ocean. I was PI of a substantial international project investigating submesoscale processes in the Southern Ocean for which I led a 32-day cruise aboard the RRS James Clark Ross to the Subantarctic Front during May 2015.
Most recently, I have applied my understanding of oceanographic processes to the interpretation of predator foraging in a range of marine habitats. In February 2016 I participated in my second cruise to the Chagos archipelago in the Indian Ocean to study the oceanographic regime and associated ecosystem response following a cruise during January 2015 that made the first substantive oceanographic measurements in the region. I am now leading a substantial, multidisciplinary project funded by the Garfield Weston and the Bertarelli Foundations to undertake research in the archipelago between 2019 - 2023. As part of this project, I have lead 3 research cruises to the region during November 2019, March 2020, and March 2022 during which we deployed oceanographic moorings, conducted ROV surveys of the mesophotic reef, undertook combined oceanographic and fisheries acoustic surveys, and monitored manta movement and ecology through the deployment of an extensive array of acoustic monitoring moorings.
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
PhD/MPhil supervision (ongoing):
- Harvey Cairns: 'Understanding the role of dynamical oceanographic mechanisms driving habitat use at tropical atolls: a numerical modelling approach', Bertarelli Foundation, 2022 - present
- Ted Robinson: 'Oceanographic drivers of ecosystem variability throughout British Indian Ocean Territory', Garfield Weston Foundation, 2019 - present
- Llucia Mascorda Cabre: 'Oceanographic impacts of offshore mussel farms', 2019 - present
- Maxine King: 'Deciphering submarine slope processes in the Ross Sea, Antarctica', SoBAMS, 2018 - present
- Clara Diaz: 'Investigating the distribution and diversity of mesophotic reefs in British Indian Ocean Territory', Garfield Weston Foundation, 2019 - present
- Joanna Harris: 'Oceanographic drivers of manta movements and ecology in British Indian Ocean Territory', Garfield Weston Foundation, 2019 - present
- Danielle Eager: 'Identifying and quantifying pelagic biomass over seamounts in the Chagos Archipelago in relation to local oceanographic processes', Garfield Weston Foundation, 2019 - present
- Jaimie Cross: 'The Dynamics of Suspended Particles in a Seasonally Stratified Shelf Sea'. NERC-funded, 2009 - 2012
- Ed Steele: '3D Turbulence Structure in the Sea', SMSE funded, 2011 - 2015
- Sam Cox: ''Physical drivers of predator foraging in the marine environment', NERC-funded, 2011 - 2016
- Megan Sheridan: 'Dynamics of small-scale coastal plumes', SMSE-funded, 2012 - 2018
- Marcus Zannachi: 'Physical controls on primary production in marginally stratified shelf seas', NERC-funded, October 2013 - 2019.
Grants & contracts
- 2023: Regional scale oceanographic mechanisms driving particle transport in the equatorial Atlantic, Ascension Island Government, £30,000, PI
- 2022: Exploring the drivers of human-shark conflict at Ascension Island, Darwin+, £250,000 (£50,000 to Plymouth University), Co-I (lead by Exeter University)
Ascension Island is surrounded by one of the world’s largest marine protected areas (MPAs), which aims to conserve biodiversity while simultaneously contributing to the social and economic wellbeing of the Island’s human population. Recently, however, increasing numbers of large, Galapagos sharks in shallow coastal waters have created significant conflicts with ocean users, including fishers, swimmers, and divers. Fishers have reported struggling to land catches due to large numbers of surface-active sharks, while aggressive encounters have led to safety concerns associated with diving, swimming, and other forms of ocean recreation. The disruption caused, along with the perceived threat to life, has led to calls for a limited cull to control the shark population. However, culls are controversial and have had varied success, especially when non-lethal options may be available. Moreover, Galapagos sharks are currently protected by local law and play vital ecological roles as the top predator in Ascension Island’s inshore ecosystem. Human-shark conflicts therefore present a major dilemma for Ascension’s recently designated MPA and its dual objectives of “Conserving Ascension Island’s marine biodiversity…” and “Supporting the sustainable development of social and economic activities…”.
Human-shark conflicts are a common problem globally and several non-lethal mitigation measures are available. However, further work is needed to inform their viability at Ascension Island. Physical shark barriers are expensive to install and maintain, particularly at remote locations like Ascension, and any benefits only accrue to specific marine users (e.g., bathers). They may also have wider ecological impacts (e.g., preventing sea turtle access to nesting beaches). Their use therefore needs to be carefully justified in terms of financial sustainability and the likely persistence of the problem. A range of low-cost electronic shark ‘deterrents’ are also available, but their efficacy in reducing negative interactions with recreational fisheries is unclear.
This project aims to provide reliable evidence to Government and stakeholders by undertaking a rigorous, scientific investigation into the socio-ecological drivers of human-shark conflict at Ascension Island. The project will characterise the nature and extent of human-shark interactions; explore underlying ecological drivers; and conduct experimental trials and feasibility studies of conflict reduction measures. My role within the project is to provide an analysis and interpretation of the role played by physical oceanographic drivers in influencing shark behaviour, both within the offshore environment where basin-scale changes in currents and water properties may influence prey availability and in the near shore, where flow topography interaction may elicit a change in foraging strategies.
- 2022: Multi-scale oceanographic numerical modelling in support of regional marine science throughout the tropical Indian Ocean, Bertarelli Foundation, £700,000 (£500,000 to Plymouth ), PI
Animals throughout the marine ecosystem exploit ocean currents and changes in water properties to improve foraging efficiency as prey respond to energetic currents and increased food supply. Particles suspended in the water drift at the mercy of these currents, including larvae from reef and coastal environments, microplastics and contaminants. Effective conservation strategies thus demand a fundamental understanding of how oceanographic conditions vary throughout time and space, creating transport pathways and driving animal behaviours that can be exploited by increasingly efficient fisheries.
The ocean is a tremendously complex environment, however, with currents arising from a myriad of forcing mechanisms such as tides, wind, sea surface elevation and internal density differences that each evolve at different timescales. As these currents interact with topography, the flow fields become even more complex at progressively smaller scales. Additional complexity is added through natural global climate patterns such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and anthropogenic change. Such complexity is simply not possible to adequately measure with in-situ instrumentation across the necessary range of scales, demanding a different approach to understanding how the ecosystem responds to changes in the physical environment.
To bridge this barrier, we will develop a comprehensive suite of oceanographic numerical models that simulate ocean conditions at progressively smaller scale to inform the results of our partnering projects throughout the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science. Beginning with the basin scale, we will simulate over multiple years the effects of processes that act over the whole Indian Ocean including the monsoon and Indian Ocean Dipole. Then, we will progressively ‘zoom in’ to smaller scales, from a regional BIOT scale simulation to one that resolves the complexity arising from interaction of currents with individual atolls and seamounts. By combining these simulations with satellite observations, we will provide the comprehensive understanding of oceanographic conditions that underpin the conservation efforts underway throughout BIOT and the wider Indian Ocean.
- 2021: Oceanographic drivers of ecosystem variability in the Chagos Archipelago, Garfield Weston Foundation, (£500,000 to Plymouth University), PI
- 2020: Can coral reefs recover at d'Arros? Save Our Seas Foundation, ($15,000 to Plymouth University), PI
- 2019: Oceanographic cruises to the Chagos Archipelago, Bertarelli Foundation, ($778,000 to Plymouth University), PI
- 2018: Oceanographic drivers of ecosystem variability in the Chagos Archipelago, Garfield Weston Foundation (£1 million to Plymouth University), Co-PI
- 2016: Oceanographic drivers of zooplankton distribution and predator foraging in British Indian Ocean Territories, Bertarelli Foundation, (£140,000 to Plymouth University), PI
- 2014: Understanding dynamic tidal drivers of Bottlenose dolphin foraging behaviour, Marine Institute, £5,000, Co-I
This pilot study will survey the velocity field within the Shannon Estuary where previous work has demonstrated that foraging dolphins prefer specific areas at particular phases of the tidal cycle. We believe that this is due to specific hydrodynamic features that are generated by the strong tidal currents interacting with bathymetry, such as lee waves and back eddies. During spring 2014 we performed a number of vessel-mounted ADCP surveys at key locations within the Shannon to validate our hypothesis with a view to applying for further funding that will continue the research by considering all trophic levels within the ecosystem.
- 2014 - 2017: Surface Mixed Layer Evolution at Submesoscales (SMILES), Natural Environment Research Council, £1.2 million (£470,000 to Plymouth University as lead institute), PI.
The purpose of SMILES is to identify the potentially crucial role played by submesoscales in influencing the structure and properties of the upper ocean, and thereby the transformation of surface water masses, within the Southern Ocean. Submesoscales are flows with spatial scales of 1-10 km that occur within the upper ocean where communication and exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere occurs. Previously considered unimportant to climate-scale studies due to their small scale and the presumed insignificance of their dynamics, recent evidence from high resolution regional models and observational studies is now emerging which suggests that submesoscales are actually widespread throughout the upper ocean and play a key role within climate dynamics due to their ability to rapidly restratify the upper ocean and reduce buoyancy loss from the ocean to the atmosphere. The impact of such a process is particularly important to the surface transformation of water masses such as Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW), which is an important component of the Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) that redistributes heat, freshwater and tracers around the globe.
- 2011 - 2015: Fluxes Across Sloping Topography of the North East Atlantic (FASTNeT), Natural Environment Research Council, £3.6 million (£600,000 to Plymouth University), WP2 leader. See http://www.smi.ac.uk/fastnet for project website.
The shelf edge is the controlling gateway to exchange of nutrients and carbon between oceanic and shelf waters, with impacts on global climate and on regional resources. As a result the shelf edge has been the focus of a number of studies on which our present understanding of exchange processes is based and all involving members of this consortium. There are, however, two significant deficiencies in our understanding of shelf edge exchange that we aim to address in this proposal.
First, we lack knowledge of the seasonal and inter-annual variability in the behaviours of different exchange mechanisms. This is in large part due to past technical difficulties in making winter measurements of exchange processes. Understanding seasonality in physical exchange is vital if we are to derive meaningful estimates of biogeochemical fluxes.
Secondly, the problem with current estimates of shelf edge exchange lies with the challenge in integrating our existing understanding of individual processes to regional scale estimates of cross-shelf edge fluxes. This arises from the computational difficulty of correctly resolving the often small scale physical processes in regions of steep bathymetry in regional numerical models.
Within FASTNEt we are using state-of-the-art, novel instrumentation and platforms to address these problems. Specifically, undersea gliders, satellite-tracked drifters and the newly developed Autosub Long Ranger will be deployed throughout winter when ship-based operations are not possible. Within work package that I lead, we will also obtain measurements during a cruise to the Malin Shelf during July 2013 to investigate the role of intermediate scale processes, such as slope current instabilities and Ekman drainage, in modulating cross-slope exchange.
- 2011 - 2014: Assessing the sensitivity of marginally stratified shelf seas within a changing climate, Natural Environment Research Council, (£100,000), PI
Continental shelf seas are extremely important because of the high levels of primary productivity that they sustain and their ability to absorb and sequester atmospheric gases including climatically important greenhouse gases. The key physical aspect of shelf seas that enables them to do so is the vertical density stratification, established throughout spring and summer when the stabilizing influence of solar radiation or fresh water overcomes the destabilizing influence of turbulent mixing. In several places around the UK, such as the Irish Sea, well-established fronts form between stratified and vertically well-mixed water due to the well-understood dominant effect of friction generated at the sea bed by strong tidal currents whose influence extends throughout the water column. Throughout the majority of UK coastal waters tidal mixing is less dominant, however, and the competition between turbulent mixing and restratification is more delicately poised. Stratification and the resulting ephemeral fronts are transient in space and intermittent in time. To study this problem, I undertook extensive fieldwork at the WaveHub site in the southern Celtic Sea during 2012. Using the Plymouth University research vessel, the Falcon Spirit, I measured a range of parameters using ship-based and moored instrumentation, with additional support from remote sensing platforms, throughout two, 2-week periods during April and August. Results are currently being worked up.
- 2011 - 2014: Marine Energy in Far Peripheral and Island Communities (MERiFIC), ERDF INTERREG IVa, €4.5 million (€600,000 to Plymouth), Co-I
The MERiFIC project seeks to advance the adoption of marine energy across the two regions of Cornwall and Finistère and the island communities of le Parc Naturel Marin d’Iroise and the Isles of Scilly. Project partners will work together to identify the specific opportunities and issues faced by peripheral and island communities in exploiting marine renewable energy resources with the aim of developing tool kits and resources for use by other similar communities. My role is to provide insight into the importance of physical oceanogrpahic processes within the work package on Technology Support.
- 2011 - 2014: Streamlining of Wave Farm Impact Assessment (SOWFIA), EU Intelligent Energy, (€400,000 to Plymouth University), Co-I
The SOWFIA project aims to achieve the sharing and consolidation of pan-European experience of consenting processes and environmental and socio-economic impact assessment (IA) best practices for offshore wave energy conversion developments. Studies of wave farm demonstration projects in each of the collaborating EU nations are contributing to the findings. The study sites comprise a wide range of device technologies, environmental settings and stakeholder interests. The overall goal of the SOWFIA project is to provide recommendations for approval process streamlining and European-wide streamlining of IA processes, thereby helping to remove legal, environmental and socio-economic barriers to the development of offshore power generation from waves.
- 2010 - 2011: Wave Hub baseline study, Natural Environment Research Council, £190,000,(£41,000 to Plymouth University), Co-PI
Until wave energy devices are deployed, we cannot predict with any accuracy the impacts that they will have on the physical and biological systems. In anticipation of the first deployment of wave energy convertors at the Wave Hub site during the summer of 2013, we collected the necessary baseline data during fieldwork in 2012 to enable future assessments to be made of the impact of energy extraction.
- 2011 - 2012: Top predator distribution and behaviour at shelf sea fronts, Marine Institute, £5,000, Co-I
Predators in the marine environment do not forage indiscriminately, but instead choose particular regimes in which to feed. We believe that physical aspects of the marine environment are a key element to this selection process and so we undertook seabird and marine mammal surveys during our work at the WaveHub during 2012. Initial results showed that foraging was intensified at the front during our August surveys, verifying the preference of predators for foraging at specifical physical features. Sam Cox is the NERC-funded PhD student working on this topic and who I supervise.
- 2009 - 2012: Marine e-Data Observatories Network - MeDON, ERDF INTERREG IV, €1.4 million, (€9,244 to Plymouth University), Co-PI
Cabled seafloor observatories are an emerging technology capable of providing an effective platform for real-time and high-resolution monitoring, provided that they are adapted to the needs of end-users and are not intrusive in the environment. It is also a great instrument providing data for education and public outreach to promote the marine environment. Scientists and end-users will benefit from free access to the data in near-real time. MeDON wants to demonstrate that this novel technology can help us develop tomorrow's coastal marine observatories.
- 2008: Dynamic Response to Energy Extraction and Mixing (DREEM), South West Regional Development Agency, £184,000, PI
This project served as the forerunner to the later grants for work at the Wave Hub. Despite being hampered by bad weather during several efforts to acquire data from the Wave Hub, DREEM enabled the acquisition of a turbulence mixrostructure profiler and a MiniBat. The profiler collects very high resolution measurements of turbulent velocity fluctuations throughout the water column from which we can estimate the intensity of turbulence in the water. This is a critical quantity when studying the integrity of frontal systems in shelf seas in particular. The MiniBat is a towed conductivity-temperature-depth sensor that depth-cycles behind the boat, providing three-dimensioanl visualisations of the thermohaline structure of the survey region.
Key publications are highlightedJournals
Other academic activities
Associate Editor, Frontiers in Marine Science, Physical Oceanography
Invited reviewer: Deep-Sea Research, Journal of Physical Oceanography, Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters;
Reviewer of National Science Foundation (NSF) grant proposals.