Professor Richard Thompson OBE FRS

Professor Richard Thompson OBE FRS

Director of the Marine Institute

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

Richard can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Marine pollution
  • Plastic pollution
  • Marine debris
  • Microplastics
  • Plastics
  •  Marine biology
  • Government policy
  • Marine litter

National Honour: Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), 2017 - for services to marine science

Marsh Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation

Director of the Marine Institute, Universityof Plymouth, 2018 - present 
Associate DeanResearch, University of Plymouth, 2016-2018 
Professor of Marine Biology,University of Plymouth, 2010 - present 
Reader in Marine Ecology, University of Plymouth, 2004 - 2010
Senior Lecturer, University of Plymouth, 2001-2004
Research Fellow (Leverhulme funded), University of Southampton, 1997-00
Teaching Assistant, Newcastle University, 1996-97



  • Accredited Science and Engineering Ambassador, Plymouth University, 2003
  • Certificate of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Newcastle University, 1997
  • Ph.D. The Ecology of Epilithic Microalgae, Liverpool, 1996
  • B.Sc. (1st Class Hons) Marine Biology, Newcastle University, 1991

Professional membership

  • Marine Biological Association
  • British Ecological Society
  • Society for Research in Higher Education

Roles on external bodies

Learned Societies


  • Marine Biological Association
  • British Ecological Society
  • Society for Research in Higher Education


Invited roles on external bodies    

       • Science Advice for Policy by European Academics (SAPEA) 2018 -2019    

    • National Centre for Ecological Synthesis and Analysis, California, USA, working group 2012-2015

    • GESAMP (United Nations advisory body), Working Group 40 microplastics–, 2012 - 2015
    • Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Expert Group on Marine Debris 2010 - present
    • Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Task Group 10: Marine Debris 2007 –2009
    • GESAMP (United Nations advisory body), Working Group on Marine Debris, 2009 – 2011
    • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) working group on environmental aspects of marine renewable energy, 2008-2010


Panel Member for research grant reviews


  • Grant review panel, Research Frontiers Programme, Science Foundation, Eire,
  • Swedish Research Council for Environment


Reviewer of research grants


  • Natural Environment Research Council, UK
  • Science Foundation, Ireland
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • National Science Foundation, USA
  • Australian Research Council


Reviewer of research publications for


  • Aquatic Conservation
  • Coral Reefs
  • Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science
  • Global Change Biology
  • Journal of Animal Ecology
  • Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology
  • Journal of Marine Biological Association
  • Journal of Microscopy
  • Journal of Molluscan Studies
  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Ecology and Water Research
  • Marine Ecology Progress Series
  • Marine Ecology PSZN
  • Nature
  • Netherlands Journal of Sea Research
  • Oecologia
  • Science


Teaching interests

Programme Leader BSc (Hons) Marine Biology 2009 - 2013


Ecology of Shallow Water Marine Habitats


Experimental Marine Ecology


Field Ecology




Research interests

My research focuses on three main topics: 1) the effectsof plastic debris in the marine environment, 2) modification of coastalengineering, structures such as coastal defenses and off-shore renewable energydevices, to enhance biodiversity and 3) the ecology and conservation of shallowwater habitats.

1) Effects of plastic debris in the marine environment


I have been working on the effects of plastic in themarine environment for more than twenty years. This is a major area of researchfor my group with papers in Science, Nature, Biology Letters and numerous otherleading journals, together with reports for international organizations such asthe United Nations. This research is of considerable relevance to policymakersand I presented to the UK Houseof Commons Select Committee session on water quality in 2013 and gave evidence onplastic bags to the Environmental Audit Select Committee in 2014. Recently I was invited to give a keynote presentation on marine debris to US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in Washington.


One of our key findings came in 2004 when my group showedthat waters around the north-east Atlantic had become contaminated bymicroscopic fragments of plastic or ‘microplastic’ and that the abundance ofthis material had increased significantly over time (Science, vol 304,P. 838). These microplasticfragments some of which were smaller than the diameter of a human hair appearto have formed by the environmental breakdown of everyday items such as plasticbags, bottles, rope and materials used in packaging; together with the directrelease of small particles used in cosmetics (also known as microbeads) andindustrial spillage of plastic pellets and powders. My group are at theforefront of research to establish the potential for microplastics to causeharm in the marine environment. This could occur if chemicals that areincorporated as additives during the manufacture of plastics are released toorganisms upon ingestion. In addition, plastics have been shown to concentratehydrophobic contaminants, such as PCBs and DDT, from seawater and hence thereis potential that plastics could act as a vector in the transport of thesechemicals to wildlife debris (e.g. Environmental Science andTechnology , 41: 7759-7764). It is also important to assess whether the physicalpresence of microplastics could result in harmful effects on the organismsingesting microplastics (e.g. Current Biology, 23, 2388-2392 and 23, R1031-R1033). Tenyears after our first publication on microplastics I was invited to co-author areview of current knowledge on the topic (Science, vol345, P. 144-145).  


In 2009 I was invited to be lead editor of a 200 page Theme Issueof Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B – Plastics the environmentand Human Health. This volume brings together the work of over 60 leadingexperts and balances the societal benefits of plastics alongside environmentalconcerns and impacts. The concluding Paper (Thompson et al. 2009) focus on knowledge gaps and solutions to some of theissues posed in the volume. I am currently acting as an advisor on marinedebris for the European Commission Marine Strategy Framework Directive andworking with the United Nations Environment Programme to identify solutions toprevent the accumulation of marine debris (STAP2011).


2) Modification of coastal engineering to enhancebiodiversity


Over the last decade I have become increasinglyinterested in the interaction between marine engineering, such as coastaldefences and off-shore renewable energy developments (OREDs) and the ecology ofshallow water habitats (e.g. Diversity and Distributions 19,1275-1283,  Coastal Engineering52, 1053 –1071; 52: 1027– 1051; 52:1073-1087). Coastal defensestructures occupy a substantial portion of some coastlines and the number ofOREDs (wind, wave, tidal) is set to increase dramatically over the next decade.Such developments present both threats and opportunities for marine life.Coastal engineering structures typically have very low heterogeneity and offerlittle in terms of refuge or habitat for marine life. Our research hereexamines ways to make space for nature by incorporating habitat modificationswithin marine engineering structures. This research has shown that thebiodiversity of structures can be enhanced and work in the Azores has shown thepotential to enhance stock of commercially exploited shellfish (e.g. Biological Conservation143, 203-211). Much of this work hasbeen funded by European Union collaborative projects DELOS and THESEUS within the THESEUS project Iled ecological research across eleven partner institutions in Europe and Asia.

3) Ecology and conservation of shallowwater habitats


An overarching research interest is the ecology andconservation of shallow water habitats. I have numerous peer-reviewedpublications on this theme ranging from the effects of commercial collection ofornamental sea shells for the marine curio trade (Biological Conservation,63: 241-245) to predictions for the future of rocky intertidal habitats overthe next 25 years (EnvironmentalConservation, 29: 168 -191). I have worked extensively on marine biofilms and on thegrazers that feed up on them (e.g. Ecology 85: 1372-1382; Ecology,87: 1169 – 1178; MarineEcology Progress Series 296: 53-63). More recently I have been workingon the effects of sweater flooding on coastal habitats together with thepotential for some of these habitats such as dunes and marshes to offer coastalprotection.

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Current PhD students

James Delaney, Funding Argans Limited Remote sensing sensitivity of marine and terrestrial plastic litter, 2019 - present

Chris Walkinshaw Funding NERC Env East DTP Does microplastic pollution pose a risk to marine life and food security? 2018 -present

Madeleine Steer, Funding NERC Industrial CASE (UKWIR).Quantifying the influence of waste water treatment on the release of microplastics to the environment, 2018- present. 

Zara Botterell, Funding NERC Env East DTP.Bioavailability of microplastics to zooplankton, 2017 - present

Sohvi Nuojua, Funding, UK Charity and University of Plymouth, Marine Litter: Can behavioural sciences help reduce land-based wasteentering the oceans? 2017 - present.

Imogen Napper, Funding self, Plastics in the marine environment. 2014 - present


Completed PhD Students

Imogen Napper, Funding self, Plastics in the marine environment. 2014 - 2018

La Daana Kanhai, Funding EU Mares, Microplasticdistribution andecological interactions across latitudinal gradients, 2015-2018

Stephanie Wright, Funding Defra, Physical effects of microplastics onmarine life. 2011 - 2015

Daniel Metcalfe, Funding ESF. Environmentally &Ecologically durablesurface design for the coastal built environment. 2011 -2015

Joao Frias, Funding FCT, Portugal. Microplastics in the environment.2011- 2015.

Nicolas Biber, Funding: Self. Distribution and effectson microplasticsin the environment. 2009 – 2015 (part time).

Saeed Sadri, PhD 2015 Monitoring microplastics in themarineenvironment. 2009 – 2014. Funding Defra.

Juliette Jackson, PhD 2015 Recruitment and succession on coastaldefence structures. Funding: Self.

Kayleigh Wyles, PhD 2014 Rocky Shores: From habitat threat to marineawareness and restorative experiences. Funding NERC/ESRC.

Luke Holmes, PhD 2013, The role of plastic productionpellets in thetransport and availability of trace metals in the marine environment. Funding:University of Plymouth Studentship.

Martin Coombes, PhD 2011, Coastal defences and biodiversity: examiningthe interplay between engineering design and ecological response, Funding: GWR.

Gustavo Martins, PhD 2009, Community structure of theAzorean rockyintertidal: interactions between recruitment and exploitation,Funding: FCT(Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology).

John Griffin, PhD 2008, Biodiversity and ecosystemfunctioning: testsusing rockpools as natural mesocosms, Funding: NERC.

Ana Silva, PhD 2008, Predator-prey interactions in rocky intertidalcommunities, Funding: FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology).

Mark Browne, PhD 2008, Environmental consequences of microscopicplastics in marine habitats, Funding: Leverhulme Trust.

Gerardo Gomes-Filho, PhD 2008, Physical and Biological ProcessesInfluencing the Distribution of Barnacles in Estuaries, Funding:CAPES(Brazilian Ministry of Education).

Laure Noel, PhD 2007, Species interactions during succession inrockpools: role of herbivores and physical factors Funding: Self.

Emma Sheehan, PhD 2007, Ecological impact of the Carcinusmaenas (L.)fishery 'Crab-Tiling' on estuarine fauna, Funding: charitable sources.

Nova Mieszkowska, PhD 2005, Population structures and reproductivecycles of British Trochid Gastropods in relation to climatechange, Funding:MARCLIM and Self.

Pippa Moore, PhD 2005, The Role of biological interactions in modyfyingthe effects of climate change on intertidalassemblages, Funding: PERC,University of Plymouth and Marine Biological Association.

Paula Moschella, PhD 2003, Influence of rock type on microbialfoulingcommunities, Funding: EU.

Robert Alcock, PhD 2003, The effects of climate change on rocky shorecommunities in the Bay of Biscay. 1895 - 2050, Funding: Self.

Malcolm Roberts, PhD 2002, Population dynamics of Patella vulgata and P.depressa in S.W. England, Funding: Self. 


Grants & contracts

£357,578, Charitable funder (2019 –2022), global plastics sampling Thompson,R.C. (PI)

£149,425, Charitable funder (2019 – 2020), Plastics sampling in rivers, Thompson, R.C. (PI)

£338,970, NERC (2019-2022), Currentand future effects of microplastics on marine shelf ecosystems

Thompson, R.C. (PI) and Rowland S.J.

£89,114, XL Catlin (PhDstudentship, 2019 – 2023), Assessingthe ecological vulnerability of natural defences and risks to agricultural landfollowing seawater flooding. ThompsonR.C. (PI) and Hanley M.J.

£89,114, NERC (CASE Studentship, 2018-2022), Quantifying the influence of wastewater treatment on the release of microplastics to the environment. Thompson, R.C. (PI) and Warburton, P.

£199,065, Defra (2018-2019), Investigationof sources and pathways of microplastic into the marine environment. ThompsonR.C. (PI)

£35,000, CRH (contribution to PhDstudentship, 2017-2020) Marine Litter: Can behavioural sciences help reduceland-based waste entering the oceans? Thompson R.C. (PI) and Pahl. S.

£443,613, NERC (2016-2019) Distinguishing realistic environmentalrisks of nanoplastics Thompson, R.C. (PI) and Rowland S.J.

£60,000, MaresDoctoral Scheme, (PhD studentship, 2015 – 2018), Microplastics distributionacross latitudinal gradients.

£300,000, to UoP as part of a £4M EU FP-7 (2012-2015) Marine Litter in European Seas: Social Awareness and Co-responsibility (MARLISCO) Thompson, R.C. and Pahl, S.


£440,000, Defra, (2011- 2014) Investigating whether microplastics cause harm in the marine environment. Thompson, R.C., Rowland, S.J. and Galloway, T.G.


£248,000, Esmee Fairburn, Naylor, L. Viles, H. and Thompson, R.C. (2011-1014) Bioprotection: an overlooked aspect of biodiversity/ecosystem service on coastal rocks.


€8,529,439, EU FP-7 (2009-2014) Innovative technologies for safer European coasts in a changing climate (THESEUS). Management Board: Zanuttigh, B., Nicholls, R.J., Burcharth, H.F., Thompson, R.C., Vanderlinden, J.P., Losada, I.J. and Claus, S. (€505,608 to UoP, PI’s Reeve, D. and Thompson, R.C.)


£254,000, Esmee Fairburn, (2009 -2012) Coastal Urban Ecology - Enhancing Biodiversity by Intelligent Design of Artificial Habitats (URBANE). Hawkins, S.J. (PI), Thompson, R.C., Frid C.L.J. and Burrows, M.T.


£5,000, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (2009), preparation of co-authored reviews on the environmental impacts of offshore renewable – Making Blue Energy Green. Thompson RC


£432,350, SWRDA (2007-2010) Assessing the biodiversity impact of the Wave Hub renewable energy development. Attrill, M.J. (PI), Thompson, R.C., Votier S.C., Hall-Spencer, J. and Howell K.L.


£22,000, PRIMaRE (2007-2008) Incorporating fisheries enhancement into coastal engineering as part of Wave Hub. Thompson, R.C. (PI), Moore, P.J. and Chadwick A.J.


£216,000, NERC (2005-2009) Consumer responses to habitat depletion: food-refuge interactions in periwinkles. Doncaster, C.P. (PI), Thompson, R.C., and Hawkins, S.J.


£31,869, NERC (2005-2007) Microscopic plastic, the extent of the problem: a new method for separating plastic fragments from natural sediments. Gaunt, L.F. (PI), Thompson, R.C. and Hearn, G.L.


£196,000, NERC (2004-2008) Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: tests using rockpools as natural mesocosms. Jenkins, S.R. (PI), Thompson, R.C. and Hawkins, S.J.


£181,608, Leverhulme Trust (2003-2007) Lost at sea – where does all the plastic go II? Thompson, R.C. (PI), Rowland, S.J., Galloway, T.S. and Russell, A.E.


£ 14,945, Leverhulme Trust (2001-2002) Lost at sea – where does all the plastic go? Thompson, R.C. (PI) and Russell, A.E.


£500,000, (2000-2003) Assessing and predicting the influence of climatic change on the marine flora and fauna of Britain and Ireland using intertidal indicators. A consortium Project funded by English Nature, Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, Department of the Environment and Transport and the Regions, Hawkins, S.J. (PI), Thompson, R.C., Southward, A.J., Kendall, M., Burrows M. and O’Riordan, R.


£88,543, NERC Joint Research Equipment Initiative (1999-2001) Data loggers for recording activity of homing limpets Hawkins, S.J. (PI), Thompson, R.C. and Hartnoll, R.G.


£140,000, EU (2000-2004) Environmental Design of Low-Crested Coastal Defences. Hawkins, S.J. (PI), Thompson, R.C. et al.


£25,469, NERC (1999-2000) The role of boring bivalves in generating spatial and erosional processes. Thompson, R.C. (PI) and Hawkins, S.J.


£30,000, EU (1999-2001) Interactions between substrate type and marine fouling. Moschella, P.S., Thompson R.C. and Hawkins S.J. (PI).


£ 22,665, NERC (1997-1999). Summertime: too much of a good thing for microalgae? Thompson, R.C. (PI), Thomason, J.C. and Hawkins, S.J.


£ 3,500, Manx Airlines. (1995) Survey of Manx sublittoral habitats Thompson, R.C. (PI), Bates M. and Veale, L.O.


£ 2,500, Royal Geographical Society (and others) (1990) Marine curio trade in Tanzania Thompson, R.C. (PI), Newton, L.C. and Parkes, E.V.H.

Creative practice & artistic projects

Dominant Wave Theory, A. Hughes (2006) Booth-Clibborn Editions

This book, gives an extensive factual and thought provoking photographic record of debris in the marine environment. I contributed a scientific forward on the environmental consequences of this debris (P112-115).


Littoral Exhibition, University of Plymouth, UK, 31st October – 25th November, 2005

I was one of four scientific contributors to this exhibition which represents the first in what is hoped to be a series of collaborations between the School of media and Photography and the School of Biological Sciences.


Weird Worlds Exhibition, Plymouth City Museum, UK, 4 March – 26th April, 2003

I organised the ‘Marine Worlds’ section of this event which was run jointly by the University of Plymouth and City of Plymouth Museums and Art Galleries. I co-ordinated exhibits and seminars from more than 20 contributors throughout SW England. The exhibition catered for all ages and attracted over 6000 visitors.


Plymouth City Museum, Plymouth, UK

Contributor of underwater photographs


National Museum of Photography, Bradford, UK
Contributor of underwater photographs



My research focuses on threemain topics: 1) the effects of plastic debris in the marine environment, 2)modification of coastal engineering, structures such as coastal defenses andoff-shore renewable energy devices, to enhance biodiversity and 3) the ecologyand conservation of shallow water habitats.


Over 190 publications (H index 56), including three in Science (impact factor 31.0), one in Nature (Impact factor38.6), two in Global Change Biology (impact factor 6.9), four in PhilosophicalTransactions of the Royal Society B. (impact factor 6.2), three in Ecology(5.2), three in Environmental Science and Technology (impact factor 5.3), twoin Biological Conservation (impact factor 4.2), two papers in Biology Letters(impact factor 3.3) together with numerous book chapters and invited leaded editorship of a 197 page special volume of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.


Effects of plastic debris in the marine environment


Journal articles 

Napper, I. E. & Thompson, R. C. (2019) Environmental Deterioration ofBiodegradable, Oxo-biodegradable, Compostable, and Conventional Plastic CarrierBags in the Sea, Soil, and Open-Air Over a 3‑Year Period EnvironmentalScience and Technology, in press.

Ostle, C., Thompson, R.C., Broughton, D., Gregory, L. Wootton, M. &Johns, D. (2019) The rise in ocean plastics: evidence from a 60-year timeseries. Nature Communications. Read the article

Windsor, F.M., Durance, I., Horton, A. A., Thompson, R.C. Tylet, C.R. &Ormerod, S.J. (2019) A catchment-scale perspective of plastic pollution’, GlobalChange Biology, 25: 11207-1221. Readthe article

Hartmann, N.B., Hüffer, T., Thompson R.C., Hassellöv, M., Verschoor, A.,Daugaard, A.E., Rist, S., Karlsson, T., Brennholt, N., Cole, M., Herrling,M.P., Heß, M., Ivleva, M.P., Lusher, A.L., & Wagner, M’ (2019) Are wespeaking the same language? Recommendations for a definition and categorizationframework for plastic debris?’ Environmental Science and Technology, 53:1039-1047. Read thearticle

Green, D.S., Colgan, T.J., Thompson, R.C. & Carolgan, J.C. (2019).‘Exposure to microplastics reduces attachment strength and alters thehaemolymph proteome of blue mussels (Mytilus edulis)’ EnvironmentalPollution, 246: 423-434. Readthe article

Botterell, Z. L. R., Beaumont, N., Dorrington, T., Steinke, M., Thompson,R.C. & Lindeque P.K. (2019). Bioavailability and effects of microplasticson marine zooplankton: A review, Environmental Pollution, 245: 98-110. Readthe article

Al-Sid-Cheikh, M., Rowland, S. J., Stevenson, K., Rouleau, C., Henry, T. B.& Thompson R. C. (2018). Uptake, Whole-Body Distribution, and Depuration ofNanoplastics by the Scallop Pecten maximus at Environmentally RealisticConcentrations, Environmental Science and Technology, 52: 14480-86. Read the article

Catarino, A. I., Macchia, V., Sanderson, W. G., Thompson, R. C. & HenryT. B. (2018). Low levels of microplastics (MP) in wild mussels indicate that MPingestion by humans is minimal compared to exposure via household fibresfallout during a meal, Environmental Pollution, 237: 675-84. Readthe article

Hartley, B.L., Pahl, S., Holland, M., Alampei, I., Veiga, J. M. &Thompson R. C. (2018). Turning the tide on trash: Empowering European educatorsand school students to tackle marine litter, Marine Policy, 96: 227-34. Readthe article 

Hartley, B.L., Pahl, S., Veiga, J., Vlachogianni, T., Vasconcelos, L., Maes,T., Doyle, T. d'Arcy Metcalfe, R. Öztürk, A. A., Di Berardo, M. &. ThompsonR.C. (2018). Exploring public views on marine litter in Europe: Perceivedcauses, consequences and pathways to change, Marine Pollution Bulletin:945-55. Readthe article

Hodgson, D.J., Bréchon, A.L. & Thompson, R.C. (2018). Ingestion andfragmentation of plastic carrier bags by the amphipod Orchestia gammarellus:Effects of plastic type and fouling load, Marine Pollution Bulletin,127: 154-59. Readthe article

Kanhai, L.D. Gårdfeldt, K.K. Lyashevska, O., Hassellöv, M., Thompson, R. C.& O'Connor, (2018). Microplastics in sub-surface waters of the ArcticCentral Basin, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 130: 8-18. Readthe article

Reed, S., Clark, M., Thompson, R., and Hughes, K. A. (2018). Microplasticsin marine sediments near Rothera Research Station, Antarctica, MarinePollution Bulletin, 133: 460-63. Readthe article

Sanchez-Vidal, A., Thompson, R. C., Canals, M. & De Haan, W. P. (2018).The imprint of microfibres in Southern European deep seas, Plos One, 13.Readthe article

Catarino, A. I., Thompson, R., Sanderson, W. & Henry, T. B. (2017).Development and optimization of a standard method for extraction ofmicroplastics in mussels by enzyme digestion of soft tissues, EnvironmentalToxicology and Chemistry, 36: 947-51. Read thearticle

Erni-Cassola, G., Gibson, M. I. Thompson, R. C. & Christie-Oleza, J. A.(2017). Lost, but found with Nile Red: A novel method for detecting andquantifying small microplastics (1 mm to 20 μm) in Environmental Samples, EnvironmentalScience and Technology, 51: 13641-48. Read the article

Green, D. S., Boots, B. O'Connor, N. E. & Thompson, R. (2017).Microplastics affect the ecological functioning of an important biogenichabitat, Environmental Science and Technology, 51: 68-77. Read the article

Kanhai, L. D. K., Officer, R. Lyashevska, O., Thompson R. C., &O'Connor. I. (2017). Microplastic abundance, distribution and composition alonga latitudinal gradient in the Atlantic Ocean, Marine Pollution Bulletin,115: 307-14. Readthe article

Martin, J., Lusher, A., Thompson, R. C. & Morley, A. (2017). TheDeposition and Accumulation of Microplastics in Marine Sediments and BottomWater from the Irish Continental Shelf, Scientific Reports, 7. Read the article

Pahl, S., Wyles, K. J. & Thompson, R. C. (2017) Channelling passion forthe ocean towards plastic pollution, Nature Human Behaviour, 1: 697-99. Read the article

Rochman, C. M., Regan, F. & Thompson, R. C. (2017). On the harmonizationof methods for measuring the occurrence, fate and effects of microplastics,Analytical Methods, 9: 1324-25. Readthe article

Sleight, V. A., Bakir, A. Thompson, R. C. & Henry, T. B. (2017).Assessment of microplastic-sorbed contaminant bioavailability through analysisof biomarker gene expression in larval zebrafish, Marine Pollution Bulletin,116: 291-97. Readthe article

Steer, M., Cole, M., Thompson, R. C. & P. K. Lindeque (2017).Microplastic ingestion in fish larvae in the western English Channel', EnvironmentalPollution, 226: 250-59. Readthe article 

Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S. Holland, M. & Thompson, R. C. (2017) Can BeachCleans Do More Than Clean-Up Litter? Comparing Beach Cleans to Other CoastalActivities, Environment and Behavior, 49: 509-35. Read thearticle

Anderson, A. G., Grose, J.Pahl, S. Thompson R. C., & Wyles, K. J. (2016) Microplastics in personalcare products: Exploring perceptions of environmentalists, beauticians andstudents, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 113: 454-60. Read the article

Gago, J., Galgani, F., Maes, T. & Thompson, R. C. (2016)Microplastics in seawater: Recommendations from the marine strategy frameworkdirective implementation process, Frontiers in Marine Science, 3. Read thearticle

Rochman, C. M., Browne, M. A. Underwood, A. J. Van Franeker,J. A. Thompson, R. C. & Amaral-Zettler, L. A. (2016). The ecologicalimpacts of marine debris: Unravelling the demonstrated evidence from what isperceived, Ecology, 97: 302-12. Read the article

Napper, I. E. & Thompson, R. C. (2016) Release ofsynthetic microplastic plastic fibres from domestic washing machines: Effectsof fabric type and washing conditions. Marine Pollution Bulletin 112, 39-45.Read the article.
Bakir A, O'Connor IA, Rowland SJ, Hendriks AJ & ThompsonR.C. (2016) Relative importance of microplastics as a pathway for the transferof hydrophobic organic chemicals to marine life. Environmental pollution 219,56-65. Read the article. 

Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S., Thomas, K. & Thompson, R. C.(2016) Factors That Can Undermine the Psychological Benefits of CoastalEnvironments: Exploring the Effect of Tidal State, Presence, and Type ofLitter. Environment and Behavior 48, 1095-1126. Read the article. 

Veiga, J. M., Vlachogianni, T., Pahl, S., Thompson, R. C.,Kopke, K., Doyle, T. K., Hartley, B. L., Maes, T., Orthodoxou, D. L., Loizidou,X. I. & Alampei, I. (2016) Enhancing public awareness and promotingco-responsibility for marine litter in Europe: The challenge of MARLISCO.Marine Pollution Bulletin 102, 309-315.Read the article. 

Napper, I. E., Bakir, A., Rowland, S. J. & Thompson, R.C. (2015) Characterisation, Quantity and Sorptive Properties of MicroplasticsExtracted From Cosmetics. Marine Pollution Bulletin 99, 178-185. Read thearticle 
Gall, S. C. & Thompson, R.C. (2015) The impact of debrison marine life. Marine Pollution Bulletin 92, 170-179. Read the article

Browne, M. A., Chapman, M. G., Thompson, R. C., Zettler, L.A. A., Jambeck, J. & Mallos, N. J. (2015) Spatial and Temporal Patterns ofStranded Intertidal Marine Debris: Is There a Picture of Global Change?Environmental Science & Technology 49, 7082-7094. Read the article

Woodall, L. C., Gwinnett, C., Packer, M., Thompson, R. C.,Robinson, L. F. & Paterson, G. L. J. (2015) Using a forensic scienceapproach to minimize environmental contamination and to identify microfibres inmarine sediments. Marine Pollution Bulletin 95, 40-46. Read the article

Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S., Thomas, K. & Thompson R.C. (2015) Factors that can undermine the psychological benefits of coastal environments: exploring the effect of tidal state, presence, and type of litter. Environment and Behaviour 15/07/15, 1-32. Read the article

Hartley, B.L., Thompson, R.C. & Pahl, S. (2015) Marine litter education boosts children’s understanding and self-reported actions. Marine Pollution Bulletin 90 (1-2), 209-217. Read the article

Woodall, L.C., Sanchez-Vidal, A., Canals, M., Paterson, G.L.J., Coppock, R., Sleight, V., Calafat, A., Rogers, A.D., Narayanaswamy, B.E. & Thompson R.C. (2014) The deep sea is a major sink for microplastic debris. Royal Society Open Science 1, 140317. Read the article

Obbard, R.W., Sadri, S., Wong, Y.Q., Khitun, A.A., Baker, I. & Thompson, R.C. (2014) Global warming releases microplastic legacy frozen in Arctic Sea ice. Earth’s Future 2, 315-320. Read the article

Law, K.L. & Thompson R.C. (2014) Microplastics in the seas. Science, 345, 144-145. Read the article

Bakir, A., S.J. Rowland, & Thompson R.C., (2014) Transport of persistent organic pollutants by microplastics in estuarine conditions. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 140, 14-21. Read the article

Bakir, A., Rowland, S.J., & Thompson, R.C. (2014) Enhanced desorption of persistent organic pollutants from microplastics under simulated physiological conditions. Environmental Pollution 185, 16-23. Read the article

Sadri, S.S. & Thompson R.C. (2014) On the quantity and composition of floating plastic debris entering and leaving the Tamar Estuary, Southwest England. Marine Pollution Bulletin 81, 55-60 Read the article

Holmes, L.A., A. Turner, & R.C. Thompson, (2014) Interactions between trace metals and plastic production pellets under estuarine conditions. Marine Chemistry 167, p. 25-32. Read the article

Koelmans, A.A., Gouin, T., Thompson, R., Wallace, N & Arthur, C. (2014), Plastics in the marine environment. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 33, 5–10. Read the article

Rochman, C.M. Browne, M.A., Halpern, B.S.,Hentschel, B.T., Hoh, E., Karapangioti, K., Rios, L.M., Takada, H.,Teh, S. & Thompson, R.C. (2013) Classify Plastics as hazardous. Nature 494, 170-171. Read the article

Browne M.A., Niven S.J., Galloway T.S., Rowland, S.J. & Thompson, R.C. (2013) Microplastic Moves Pollutants and Additives to Worms, Reducing Functions Linked to Health and Biodiversity. Current Biology 23, 2388-2392. Read the article

Wright, S.L., Rowe, D. Thompson, R.C. & Galloway T.S. (2013) Microplastic ingestion decreases energy reserves in marine worms. Current Biology 23, R1031-R1033, Read the article

Lusher, A. L., McHugh, M. & Thompson, R. C. (2013) Occurrence of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract of pelagic and demersal fish from the English Channel. Marine Pollution Bulletin 67, 94-99. Read the article

Wright, S. Thompson, R.C., & Galloway, T.S. (2013) The physical impacts of microplastics in marine organisms: a review. Environmental Pollution 178, 483-492. Read the article

Bakir, A., Rowland, S. J. & Thompson, R. C. (2012) Competitive sorption of persistent organic pollutants onto microplastics in the marine environment. Marine Pollution Bulletin 64: 2782-2789. Read the article

Hidalgo-Ruz, V., Gutow, L., Thompson, R. C. & Thiel, M. (2012) Microplastics in the Marine Environment: A Review of the Methods Used for Identification and Quantification. Environmental Science & Technology 46, 3060-3075. Read the article

Holmes, L. A., Turner, A. & Thompson, R. C. (2012) Adsorption of trace metals to plastic resin pellets in the marine environment. Environmental Pollution 160, 42-48. Read the article

Browne, M. A., Crump, P., Niven, S. J., Teuten, E., Tonkin, A., Galloway, T. & Thompson, R. (2011) Accumulation of Microplastic on Shorelines Woldwide: Sources and Sinks. Environmental Science & Technology 45, 9175-9179. Read the article

Browne, M. A.; Galloway, T. S., & Thompson, R. C., (2010) Spatial Patterns of Plastic Debris along Estuarine Shorelines. Environmental Science & Technology, 44, 3404-3409. Read the article

O’Brine, T. & Thompson, R.C. (2010) Degradation of plastic carrier bags in the marine environment Marine pollution Bulletin 60, 2279-2283. Read the article

Thompson, R.C., Moore, C.M., vom Saal, F.S. & Swan, S.H. (2009) Our plastic age. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society B., 364, 1973-1976. Read the article

Thompson, R.C., Moore, C.M., vom Saal, F.S. & Swan, S.H. (2009) Plastics, the environment and human health: current consensus and future trends. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B., 364, 2153-2166. Read the article

Thompson, R. C., Swan, S. H., Moore, C. & vom Saal, F. S. 2009 Our Plastic Age Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 364, 1973-1976. Read the article

Barnes, D.K.A., Galgani, F., Thompson, R.C. & Barlaz, M. (2009) Accumulation and fragmentation of plastic debris in global environments. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B., 364, 1985-1998. Read the article

Teuten, E.L., Saquing, J.M., Knappe, D.R.U., Barlaz, M.A., Jonsson, S., Björn, A., Rowland, S.J., Thompson, R.C., Galloway, T.S., Yamashita, R., Ochi, D., Watanuki, Y., Moore, C.M., Viet, P., Tana, T.S., Prudente, M., Boonyatumanond, R., Zakaria, M.P., Akkhavong, K., Ogata, Y., Hirai, H., Iwasa, S., Mizukawa, K., Hagino, Y., Imamura, A., Saha, M. & Takada, H. (2009) Transport and release of chemicals from plastics to the environment and to wildlife. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 364, 2027-2045. Read the article

Ogata, Y., Takada, H., Master, M.K., Hirai, H., Iwasa, S., Endo, S., Mato, Y., Mahua, S.M., Okuda, K., Nakashima, A., Murakami, M., Zurcher, N., Booyatumanondo, R., Zakaria, M.P., Le Q Dung, D., Gordon, M., Miguez, C., Suzuki, S., Moore, C.M., Karapanagioti, H., Weerts, S., McClurg, T., Burres, E., Smith, W., Velkenburg, M.V., Lang, J.S., Lang, R., Laursen, D., Danner, B., Stewardson, N. & Thompson, R.C. (2009) International Pellet Watch : Global monitoring of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in coastal waters. 1. Initial phase data on PCBs, DDTs, and HCHs. Marine Pollution Bulletin 58, 1437-1446. Read the article

Browne, M.A., Dissanayake, A., Galloway, T.S., Lowe, D.M. & Thompson R.C. (2008). Ingested microscopic plastic translocates to the circulatory system of the mussel, Mytilus edulis (L.) Environmental Science and Technology 42, 5026-5031 Read the article

Teuten, E.L., Rowland, S.J., Galloway, T.S. & Thompson R.C. (2007). Potential for Plastics to Transport Hydrophobic Contaminants. Environmental Science and Technology 41, 7759-7764 Read the article

Browne, M.A., Galloway, T., & Thompson R. (2007). Microplastic – an emerging contaminant of potential concern? Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 3, 559–566 10. Read the article

Thompson, R., Moore, C., Andrady, A., Gregory, M., Takada, H. & Weisberg S. (2005). New directions in plastic debris. Science 310, 1117. Read the article

Thompson, R.C., Olsen, Y., Mitchell, R.P., Davis, A., Rowland, S.J., John, A.W.G., McGonigle, D. & Russell A.E. (2004). Lost at sea: Where does all the plastic go? Science 304, 838. Read the article


Authored/editedbooks, chapters and reports


Thompson,R.C. (2013)Plastics, environment and health. In: Accumulation. The material politics ofPlastics. Gabrys, J., Hawkins, G. and Michael, M. pp150-169.


Readman,J.W., DeLuna, F. Ebinhaus, R., Guzman, A.N., Price A.R.G., Readman, E.E.Sheppard, A.L.S., Sleight, A.S. Strum, R. Thompson, R.C. Tonkin, A.Wolschke, H., Wright, R., and Sheppard, R.C. (2013)  Coral Reefs of the World.


GEF. 2012Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and Scientific andTechnical Advisory Panel GEF,  Impacts ofMarine Debris on Biodiversity: Current status and Potential Solutions, vol. 67,pp. 61. Montreal. RC Thompson was lead author.


STAP. 2011 Marine Debris as a Global EnvironmentalProblem: Introducing a solutions based framework focused on plastic. In ASTAP Information Document. , pp. 40. Washington, DC: Global EnvironmentFacility. RC Thompson was lead author.


Galgani,F., Fleet, D., van Franeker, J., Katsanevakis, S., Maes, T., Mouat, J.Oosterbaan, L., Poitou, I., Hanke, G., Thompson, R.,  Amato, E., Birkun A., and Janssen, C. (2010) Marine strategy framework directive, TaskGroup 10 Report, Marine litter. Office for Official Publications of theEuropean Communities, Luxembourg.


Thompson, R.C., (2006). Plastics. In: Dominant wave theory. Hughes, A. andCarson D. pp. 112-116, Booth-Clibborn, London, UK.


Conference proceedings


Thompson, R.C. (2006).Plastic debris in the marine environment: consequences and solutions, in: Marine Nature Conservation in Europe,Krause, J.C.,von Nordheim, H., and S., Brager(Eds.), pp. 107-116. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Stralsund,Germany.


Modification of coastal engineering to enhance biodiversity

Journal articlesEvans, A. J., L. B. Firth, S. J. Hawkins, A. E. Hall, J. E. Ironside, R. C. Thompson, and P. J. Moore. 2019. 'From ocean sprawl to blue-green infrastructure - A UK perspective on an issue of global significance', Environmental Science and Policy, 91: 60-69. 

McManus, R. S., N. Archibald, S. Comber, A. M. Knights, R. C. Thompson, and L. B. Firth. 2018. 'Partial replacement of cement for waste aggregates in concrete coastal and marine infrastructure: A foundation for ecological enhancement?', Ecological Engineering, 120: 655-67.

Firth, L. B., A. M. Knights, D. Bridger, A. J. Evans, N. Mieszkowska, P. J. Moore, N. E. O'Connor, E. V. Sheehan, R. C. Thompson, and S. J. Hawkins. 2016. 'Ocean sprawl: Challenges and opportunities for biodiversity management in a changing world.' in, Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review.

Firth, L. B., F. J. White, M. Schofield, M. E. Hanley, M. T. Burrows, R. C. Thompson, M. W. Skov, A. J. Evans, P. J. Moore, and S. J. Hawkins. 2016. 'Facing the future: The importance of substratum features for ecological engineering of artificial habitats in the rocky intertidal', Marine and Freshwater Research, 67: 131-43.

Knights, A. M., L. B. Firth, R. C. Thompson, A. L. E. Yunnie, K. Hiscock, and S. J. Hawkins. 2016. 'Plymouth — A World Harbour through the ages', Regional Studies in Marine Science, 8: 297-307.

Martins, G. M., S. R. Jenkins, A. I. Neto, S. J. Hawkins, and R. C. Thompson. 2016. 'Long-term modifications of coastal defences enhance marine biodiversity', Environmental Conservation, 43: 109-16.

Coombes, M.A., LaMarca, E.C., Naylor, L.A. & Thompson, R.C. (2015) Getting into the groove: Opportunities to enhance the ecological value of hard coastalinfrastructure using fine-scale surface textures. Ecological Engineering 77,314-323.

Hoggart, S.P.G., Hanley, M.E., Parker, D.J., Simmonds, D.J., Franklin,E.L.,White, A.C., Bilton, D.T.,Rundle, S.D., Penning-Rowsell, E.C., Trifonova,E., Vergiev, S., Filipova-Marinova, M., Kotsev, I. & Thompson RC(2014) The consequences of doing nothing: The effects of seawater flooding oncoastal zones. Coastal Engineering.


Firth, L.B., Thompson, R.C., Bohn, K., Abbiati, M., Airoldi, L.,Bouma, T.J., Bozzeda, F., Ceccherelli, V.U., Colangelo, M.A., Evans, A.,Ferrario, F., Hanley, M.E., Hinz, H., Hoggart, S.P.G., Jackson, J.E., Moore,P., Morgan, E.H., Perkol-Finkel, S., Skov, M.W., Strain, E.M., van Belzen, J. &Hawkins, S.J. (2014) Between a rock and a hard place: Environmental andengineering considerations when designing coastal defence structures. CoastalEngineering In Press.


Coombes, M.A., Naylor, L.A., Viles, H.A. & Thompson, R.C.(2013) Bioprotection and disturbance: Seaweed, microclimatic stability andconditions for mechanical weathering in the intertidal zone. Geomorphology202: 4-14.


Firth, L.B., Mieszkowska, N., Thompson, R.C. & Hawkins, S.J.(2013) Climate change and adaptational impacts in coastal systems: the case ofsea defences. Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts 15(9):1665-1670. 10.1039/C3EM00313B


FirthL.B., Thompson, R.C., White, F.J., Schofield, M., Skov, M.W., Hoggart,S.P., Jackson J, Knight A.M. & Hawkins S.J. (2013) The importance ofwater-retaining features for biodiversity on artificial intertidal coastaldefence structures, Diversity and Distributions 19: 1275-1283.


Witt, M.J., Sheehan, E. V., Bearhop, S., Broderick, A. C., Conley, D. C., Cotterell, S.P., Crow, E., Grecian, W. J., Halsband, C., Hodgson, D. J., Hosegood, P.,Inger, R., Miller, P. I., Sims, D. W., Thompson, R. C., Vanstaen, K.,Votier, S. C., Attrill, M. J. & Godley, B. J. (2012) Assessing wave energyeffects on biodiversity: the Wave Hub experience. Philosophical Transactionsof the Royal Society a-Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences 370,502-529.


Naylor,L. A., Coombes, M. A., Venn, O., Roast, S. D. & Thompson, R. C. (2012)Facilitating ecological enhancement of coastal infrastructure: The role ofpolicy, people and planning. Environmental Science & Policy 22,36-46.


Coombes,M. A., Naylor, L. A., Thompson, R. C., Roast, S. D., Gomez-Pujol, L.& Fairhurst, R. J. (2011) Colonization and weathering of engineeringmaterials by marine microorganisms: an SEM study. Earth Surface Processesand Landforms 36, 582-593.


Martins, G.M., Thompson,R.C., Neto, A.I., Hawkins, S.J. & Jenkins, S.R. (2010) Enhancing stocksof the exploited limpet Patella candeid’Orbigny via modifications in coastal engineering, Biological Conservation,143, 203-211.


Moschella, P.S.,Abbiati, M., Åberg, P.,Airoldi, L., Anderson, J.M.,Bacchiocchi, F., Bulleri, F.,Dinesen, G.E. , Frost, M.,Gaçia, E., Granhag, L.,Jonsson, P.R.Satta, M.P., Sundelöf, A., Thompson, R.C. & Hawkins S.J. (2005). Low-crested coastal defencestructures as artificial habitats for marine life: using ecological criteria indesign. Coastal Engineering, 52,1053 – 1071.


Martin,D., Bertasi, F., Colangelo, M.A., de Vries, M., Frost, M., Hawkins, S.J., Macpherson, E.,Moschella, P.S., Satta, M.P., Thompson, R.C. & Ceccherelli V.U. (2005). Ecological impact of coastaldefence structures on sediment and mobile fauna: Evaluating and forecastingconsequences of unavoidable modifications of native habitats. CoastalEngineering, 52, 1027 –1051.


Airoldi,L., Abbiati, M., Beck, M. W., Hawkins,S.J., Jonsson, P.R., Martin, D., Moschella, P.S., Sundelöf, A., Thompson,R.C. & Åberg P. (2005). An ecological perspective on the deployment anddesign of low- crested and other hard coastal defence structures. CoastalEngineering, 52, 1073-1087.


Authored/editedbooks, chapters and reports


Wilhelmsson,D., Malm, T., Thompson, R., Tchou, J., Sarantakos, G., McCormick, N.,Luitjens, S., Gullström, M., Patterson Edwards, J.K., Amir, O. and Dubi, A.(eds.) (2010). Greening Blue Energy: Identifying and managing the biodiversityrisks and opportunities of off shore renewable energy. Gland, Switzerland:IUCN. 90pp.


Burcharth, H., Vidal, C., Moschella, P.S., Airoldi,L., Bulleri, F., Ceccherelli, V.U., Colangelo, M.A., Thompson, R.C. and HawkinsS.J. (2007) Consideration of legal, physical environmental, socio-economic andaesthetic constraints, in: Environmentaldesign guidelines for low crested coastal structures. Burcharth, H.F.,Hawkins, S.J., Zanuttigh, B. and Lamberti A. (Eds.), pp. 17-24, Elsevier,Oxford UK.


Moschella, P.S., Paphitis, D., Plomartis, T., Collins, M., Aberg, P.,Garhang, L., Jonsson P., Frost, M., Thompson,R.C. and Hawkins S.J. (2007). Case studies in: Environmental design guidelines for low crested coastal structures.Burcharth, H.F., Hawkins, S.J., Zanuttigh, B. and Lamberti A. (Eds.), pp.73-136, Elsevier, Oxford UK.


Moschella, P.S., Thompson, R.C. and Hawkins S.J. (2007). Environmentalconsiderations in: Environmental designguidelines for low crested coastal structures. Burcharth, H.F., Hawkins,S.J., Zanuttigh, B. and Lamberti A. (Eds.), p. 65, Elsevier, Oxford UK.


Moschella, P.S., Thompson, R.C. and Hawkins S.J. (2007). Environmentalimpacts during construction operations in: Environmentaldesign guidelines for low crested coastal structures. Burcharth, H.F.,Hawkins, S.J., Zanuttigh, B. and Lamberti A. (Eds.), p.70, Elsevier, Oxford UK.


Conference proceedings


Horrillo-Caraballo, J.M.Reeve, D.E. Simmonds, D. Pan, S. Fox, A. Thompson, R. Hoggart, S. Kwan, S.S.H.& Greaves, D. (2013). Application of a source-pathway-receptor-consequence(S-P-R-C) methodology to the Teign Estuary, UK. Journal of Coastal Research.Special Issue 65: 1939-1944. (Refereed conference proceeding)


Zanuttigh, B., Losada,I.J. & Thompson, R.C. (2010). Ecologically based approach tocoastal defence design and planning, in: McKee Smith, J. et al. (Ed.) (2010).Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference Coastal Engineering 2010.Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 32: pp. 1-15


Coombes, M.A. Naylor, L.A.Roast, S.D. & Thompson, R.C. (2009) Coastal Defences and Biodiversity: the influence of materialchoice and small-scale surface texture on biological outcomes, Proceedings of the Institute of CivilEngineers Conference: Marine structures and breakwaters, adapting to change,Edinburgh September, 2009, 12 pages.


Zanuttigh,B., Gaeta, G.M., Tumedei, M., Thompson,R.C. & Losada, I.J. (2009)Hydrodynamic fluxes and barriercolonization at Elmer breakwater: study for an environmental design of coastalstructures, Proceedings of 33rdInternational Association of Hydraulic Engineering Research Conference,Vancouver, USA, August, 2009, (8 pages).


Ecology and conservation of shallow water habitats


Journal articles

Hawkins, S. J., N. Mieszkowska, L. B. Firth, K. Bohn, M. T. Burrows, M. A. Maclean, R. C. Thompson, B. K. K. Chan, C. Little, and G. A. Williams. 2016. 'Looking backwards to look forwards: The role of natural history in temperate reef ecology', Marine and Freshwater Research, 67: 1-13.

Franzitta, G., M. E. Hanley, L. Airoldi, C. Baggini, D. T. Bilton, S. D. Rundle, and R. C. Thompson. 2015. 'Home advantage? Decomposition across the freshwater-estuarine transition zone varies with litter origin and local salinity', Marine Environmental Research, 110: 1-7.

Silva, A.C.F., Boaventura, D.M., Thompson, R.C. & Hawkins,S.J. (2014) Spatial and temporal patterns of subtidal and intertidal crabsexcursions. Journal of Sea Research, 85, 343-348.


Murua, J.,Burrows, M. T., Hughes, R. N., Hawkins, S. J., Thompson, R. C. & Jenkins,S. R. 2014 Phenotypic variation in shell form in the intertidal acorn barnacleChthamalus montagui: distribution, response to predators and life historytrade-offs. Marine Biology 161, 2609-2619.  


Mangion, M., Borg, J.A., Thompson, R. & Schembri, P.J. (2014)Influence of tuna penning activities on soft bottom macrobenthic assemblages. MarinePollution Bulletin. 79:164-18=74.

Hanley, M.E., Hoggart, S.P.G., Simmonds, D.J., Bichot, A., Colangelo,M.A., Bozzeda, F., Heurtefeux, H., Ondiviela, B., Ostrowski, R., Recio, M.,Trude, R., Zawadzka-Kahlau, E. & Thompson, R.C. (2014) Shiftingsands? Coastal protection by sand banks, beaches and dunes. CoastalEngineering In Press.


Taramelli, A.,Valentini, E., Cornacchia, L., Mandrone, S., Monbaliu, J., Hoggart, S.P.G., Thompson, R.C. & Zanuttigh,B.(2014) Modeling uncertainty in estuarine system by means of combined approachof optical and radar remote sensing. .Coastal Engineering In Press.


Bouma,T.J., van Belzen, J., Balke, T., Zhu, Z., Airoldi, L., Blight, A.J., Davies,A.J., Galvan, C., Hawkins, S., Hoggart, S.P.G., Lara, J.L., Losada, I.J., Maza,M., Ondiviela, B., Skov, M.W., Strain, E.M. & Thompson, R.C. Yang, S.Zanuttigh, B. Zhang, L. Herman, P.M.J. (2014) Identifying knowledge gapshampering application of intertidal habitats in coastal protection:Opportunities & steps to take. Coastal Engineering In Press.


Hanley,M.E., Yip, P.Y.S., Hoggart, S., Bilton, D.T., Rundle, S.D. & Thompson,R.C. (2013) Riding the storm: the response of Plantago lanceolata tosimulated tidal flooding. Journal of Coastal Conservation 17(4): 799-803.


Wyles,K., Pahl, S., White, M., Morris, S., Cracknell, D., Thompson, R. C. (2013).Towards a Marine Mindset: Visiting an aquarium can improve attitudes andintentions regarding marine sustainability. Visitor Studies 16, 95-110.


Hawkins,S.J., Firth L.B., McHugh, M., Poloczanska, E.S., Herbert, R.J.S., Burrows,M.T.,  Kendall, M.A., Moore, P.J., Thompson,R.C., Jenkins, S.R., Sims, D.W., Genner, M.J. & Mieszkowska, N. (2013)Data rescue and re-use: Recycling old information to address new policyconcerns, Marine Policy 42, 91-98.


Wearmouth,V. J., Southall, E. J., Morritt, D., Thompson, R. C., Cuthill, I. C.,Partridge, J. C. & Sims, D. W. (2012) Year-round sexual harassment as abehavioral mediator of vertebrate population dynamics. Ecological Monographs82, 351-366.


Sheehan,E. V., Attrill, M. J., Thompson, R. C. & Coleman, R. A. (2012)Changes in shorebird behaviour and distribution associated with an intertidalcrab fishery. Aquatic Conservation-Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 22,683-694.


Martins,G. M., Jenkins, S. R., Hawkins, S. J., Neto, A. I., Medeiros, A. R. & Thompson,R. C. (2011) Illegal harvesting affects the success of fishing closureareas. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom91, 929-937.


Skov, M.W., Hawkins, S. J., Volkelt-Igoe, M., Pike, J., Thompson, R. C., &Doncaster, C. P. (2011). Patchiness in resource distribution mitigates habitatloss: insights from high-shore grazers. Ecosphere 2:art60 1-17.


Martins,G.M., Thompson, R.C., Neto, A.I.,Hawkins, S.J. & Jenkins, S.R. (2010) Exploitation of intertidal grazers asa driver of community divergence Journalof Applied Ecology, 47, 1282–1289.


Moore,P.J.,  Thompson, R.C. & Hawkins, S.J. (2010) Phenological changes inintertidal con-specific gastropods in response to climate warming Global Change Biology 17, 709-719


Silva, A. C. F. Hawkins, S.J., Boaventura, D. M., Brewster, E. & Thompson,R. C. (2010). The use of the intertidal zone by mobile predators: the influence of wave exposure, tidal phase and elevation onabundance and diet. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 406, 197–210.


Griffin,J.N., Noël, L. M-L. J., Crowe, T.P., Burrows, M.T, Hawkins, S.J., Thompson, R.C. & Jenkins, S.R. (2010) Consumer effects on ecosystem functioning inrock pools: roles of species richness and composition Marine Ecology Progress Series 420, 45-56.


Noël, L.M-L. J, Griffin, J.N., Thompson, R.C.,Hawkins, S.J., Burrows, M.T., Crowe, T.P. & Jenkins, S.R. (2010) Assessmentof a field incubation method estimating primary productivity in rockpoolcommunities Estuarine, Coastal and ShelfScience 88,153-159.


Skov, M.W., Volkelt-Igoe, M, Hawkins, S. J., Jesus,B., Thompson, R. C. & Doncaster, C. P. (2010) Past and presentgrazing boosts the photo-autotrophic biomass of microbial lawns. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 401, 1014-111.


Sheehan, E. V., Coleman R. A., ThompsonR. C., & Attrill M. J. (2010) Crab-tiling reduces the diversity of estuarineInfauna.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 411, 137–148, 2010.


Sheehan,E. V., Coleman, R. A., Attrill, M. J. & Thompson, R. C. (2010) Aquantitative assessment of the response of mobile estuarine fauna to crab-tilesduring tidal immersion using remote underwater video cameras. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology andEcology, 387,68–74.


Silva, A.C., Silva, I.C., Hawkins, S.J., Boaventura, D.M. & Thompson R.C. (2010)  Cheliped morphological variation of theintertidal crab Eriphia verrucosaacross shores of differing exposure to wave action. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 391, 84–91


Silva, A. C., Hawkins, S. J., Clarke, K. R., Boaventura, D.M.,& Thompson, R.C. (2010) Preferential feeding by the crab Necora puber on differing sizes of theintertidal limpet Patella vulgate. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 416,179-188.  


Gomes-Filho,J.G.F Hawkins, S.J., Aquino-Souza R. & Thompson, R.C. (2010)Distribution of barnacles and dominance of the introduced species Elminiusmodestus along two estuaries in South-West England. Marine BiodiversityRecords 3, e58.


Hawkins, S.J., Sugden, H.E., Mieszkowska, N., Moore, P.J., Poloczanska, E., Leaper, R., Herbert, R., Genner, M.J., Moschella,P.S., Thompson, R.C., Jenkins, S.R.,Southward, A.J. & Burrows, M.T. (2009) Consequencesof climate-driven biodiversity changes for ecosystem functioning of northEuropean rocky shores. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 396, 245–259


Griffin,J.N., Jenkins, S.R., Gamfeldt, L., Jones, D., Hawkins, S.J. & Thompson, R.C. (2009) Spatialheterogeneity increases the importance of species richness for an ecosystemprocess. Oikos 118, 1335-1342.


Silva,A.C.F., Brazão, S., Hawkins, S.J., Thompson,R.C. & Boaventura, D.M.(2009) Abundance, population structure and claw morphology of thesemi-terrestrial crab Pachygrapsusmarmoratus (Fabricius, 1787) on shores of differing wave exposure. Marine Biology, 156, 2591-2599.


Valdivia,N., de la Haye, K.L., Jenkins, S.R., Kimmance, S.A., Thompson, R.C. & Molis, M. (2009) Functional composition, butnot richness, affected the performance of sessile suspension-feedingassemblages. Journal of Sea Research,61, 216-221.


Firth,L.B., Crowe, T.P., Moore, P., Thompson,R.C. & Hawkins, S.J. (2009) Predicting impacts of climate-induced rangeexpansion: an experimental framework and a test involving key grazers ontemperate rocky shores. Global ChangeBiology, 15,1413-1422.


Noel, L.,Hawkins, S.J., Jenkins, S.R. & Thompson, R.C. (2009) Grazing dynamicsin intertidal rockpools: Connectivity of microhabitats. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 370, 9-17.


Masterson,P., Arenas, F.A., Thompson, R.C. &Jenkins, S.R. (2008) Interaction of top down and bottom up factors inintertidal rockpools: Effects on early successional macroalgal communitycomposition, abundance and productivity. Journalof Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 363, 12-20.


Sheehan,E.V., Thompson, R.C., Coleman, R.A.& Attrill, M.J. (2008) Positive feedback fishery: Population consequencesof 'crab-tiling' on the green crab Carcinusmaenas. Journal of Sea Research,60, 255-261.


Silva,A.C.F., Hawkins, S.J., Boaventura, D.M. & Thompson, R.C. (2008) Predation by small mobile aquatic predatorsregulates populations of the intertidal limpet Patella vulgata (L.). Journalof Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 367, 259-265


Hawkins,S.J., Moore, P.J., Burrows, M.T., Poloczanska, E., Mieszkowska, N., Herbert,R.J.H., Jenkins, S.R., Thompson, R.C.,Genner, M.J. & Southward, A.J. (2008) Complex interactions in a rapidlychanging world: responses of rocky shore communities to recent climate change. Climate Research, 37, 123-133


Griffin, J., de la Haye, K.L., Hawkins, S.J., Thompson, R.C. & JenkinsS.R. (2008). Predator diversity andecosystem functioning: density modifies the effect of resource partitioning. Ecology,89, 298-305.


Pinn,E.H., Thompson, R.C. & Hawkins S.J. (2008). Piddocks (Mollusca:Bivalvia: Pholadidae) increase topographical complexity and species diversityin the intertidal. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 355, 173-182.


Martins, G.M., Thompson, R.C., Hawkins, S.J., Neto, A.I. & Jenkins S.R. (2008). Rocky intertidal communitystructure in oceanic islands: scales of spatial variability. Marine EcologyProgress Series, 356, 15-24.


Blight, A.J. & Thompson R.C. (2008). Epibiont speciesrichness varies between holdfasts of a northern and a southerly distributedkelp species. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, 88, 469-475


Martins,G.M., Jenkins, S.R., Hawkins, S.J., Neto, A.I. & Thompson R.C.(2008).Exploitation of rocky intertidal grazers: population status and potentialimpacts on community structure and functioning. Aquatic Biology, 3, 1-10.


Moore,P.J., Hawkins, S.J., & Thompson R.C. (2007). The role of biologicalhabitat amelioration in altering the relative responses of congeneric speciesto climate change. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 334, 11-19.


Moore,P.J., Thompson, R.C. & Hawkins S.J. (2007). Effectsof grazer identity on the probability of escapes by a canopy-forming macroalga.Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 344, 170-180.


Martins,G.M., Hawkins, S.J., Thompson, R.C. & Jenkins S.R. (2007). Communitystructure and function in intertidal rockpools: effects of pool size and shoreheight at different successional stages. Marine Ecology Progress Series,329, 43-55.


Jonsson,P.R., Granhag, L., Moschella, P.S., Åberg, P., Hawkins, S.J. & ThompsonR.C. (2006). Interactions between wave action and grazing control thedistribution of intertidal macroalgae. Ecology, 87, 1169 - 1178.[1169:IBWAAG]2.0.CO;2


Jonsson,P.R., Granhag, L., Moschella, P.S., Åberg, P., Hawkins, S.J. & Thompson R.C. (2006). Algal Refuge. Bulletinof the Ecological Society of America, 87: 112.


Thompson,R.C.,Moschella, P.S., Jenkins, S.R., Norton, T.A. & Hawkins S.J. (2005). Differences in photosynthetic marine biofilmsbetween sheltered and moderately exposed rocky shores. Marine EcologyProgress Series, 296, 53-63.


Pinn,E.H., Richardson, C.A., Thompson, R.C. & Hawkins S.J. (2005).Burrow morphology, biometry, age and growth of piddocks (Mollusca: Bivalvia:Pholadidae) on the south coast of England, U.K. Marine Biology, 147, 943-953.


Santini, G., Tendi, C., Righini, N., Thompson, R.C. & Chelazzi G.(2005). Preliminaryobservation on intra-specific variability in the temporal organisation offoraging of the limpet Patella caerulea. Ethology Ecology & Evolution,17, 65-75.


Mieszkowska,N., Leaper, R., Moore, P.J., Kendall, M.A., Burrows, M.T., Lear, D.,Poloczanska, E., Hiscock, K., Moschella, P.S., Thompson, R.C., Herbert, R.J.,Laffoley, D., Baxter, J., Southward, A.J. & Hawkins S.J. (2005). MarineBiodiversity and Climate Change: Assessing and Predicting the Influence ofClimatic Change Using Intertidal Rocky Shore Biota. Occasional Publications ofthe Marine Biological Association of the UK, 20, 53pp.


Thompson, R.C., Norton, T.A. & HawkinsS.J. (2004). Physical stress andbiological regulation control pattern and process in benthic biofilms.Ecology, 85, 1372-1382. 


Santini,G., Thompson, R.C., Tendi, C., Hawkins, S.J., Hartnoll, R.G. &Chelazzi G. (2004). Intra-specific variability in the temporal organisation offoraging activity in the limpet Patella vulgata. Marine Biology, 144, 1165-1172.


Thompson,R.C., Crowe,T.P. & Hawkins, S.J. (2002). Rocky intertidal communities: pastenvironmental changes, present status and predictions for the next 25 years. EnvironmentalConservation, 29, 168 -191.


Jenkins,S.R., Arenas, F., Arrontes, J., Bussell, J., Castro, J., Coleman, R.A.,Hawkins, S.J., Kay, S., Martinez, B., Oliveros, J., Roberts, M.F., Sousa, S., Thompson,R.C. & Hartnoll R.G. (2001).European-scale analysis of seasonal variability in limpet grazing activity andmicroalgal abundance. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 211, 193-203.


Thompson,R.C., Norton,T.A., Roberts, M.F. & Hawkins S.J. (2000). Feast or famine for intertidalgrazing molluscs: a mis-match between seasonal variations in grazing intensityand the abundance of microbial resources. Hydrobiologia, 440, 357 – 366.


Crowe,T.P., Thompson, R.C., Bray, S. & Hawkins S.J. (2000). Impacts ofanthropogenic stress on rocky intertidal communities. Journal of AquaticEcosystem Stress and Recovery, 7,273-297.


Thompson,R.C.,Jenkins, S.R., & Bussell J.A. (2000). A method for recording predator-preyencounters between crabs and limpets using wax replicas. Journal of theMarine Biological Association of the UK, 80, 633-638.


Thompson,R.C., Tobin,M.L., Hawkins, S.J. & Norton T.A. (1999). Problems in extraction andspectrophotometric determination of chlorophyll from epilithic biofilms:towards a standard method. Journal of the Marine Biological Association ofthe UK, 79, 551-558.


Norton,T.A., Thompson, R.C., Pope, J., Veltkamp, C.J., Banks, B., Howard, C.V.& Hawkins S.J. (1998). Using confocal laser scanning microscopy, scanningelectron microscopy and phase contrast light microscopy to examine marinebiofilms. Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 16,199-204.


Thompson,R.C., Norton,T.A. & Hawkins S.J. (1998). Theinfluence of epilithic microbial films on the settlement of Semibalanus balanoides cyprids - acomparison between laboratory and field experiments. Hydrobiologia, 375/376, 203-216.


Thompson,R.C.,Johnson, L. & Hawkins S.J. (1997).A method for spatial and temporal assessment of gastropod grazing intensity inthe field: the use of radula scrapes on wax discs. Journal of ExperimentalMarine Biology and Ecology, 218,63-76.


Thompson,R.C., Wilson,B.J., Tobin, M.L., Hill, A.S. & Hawkins S.J. (1996). Biologically generated habitat provision and diversity ofrocky shore organisms at a hierarchy of spatial scales. Journal ofExperimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 202, 73-84.


Newton,L.C., Parkes, E.V.H. & Thompson R.C.(1993). The effects of shell collecting on the abundance of gastropods onTanzanian Shores. Biological Conservation, 63, 241-245. 


Authored/editedbooks, chapters and reports


Hawkins S.J., Sugden, H.E., Moschella, P.S., Mieszkowska, N., Thompson, R.C.  and Burrows, M.T. (2010).Silent summer, Chapter 33, TheSea Shore Page 591-614,Cambridge University Press.


Noel, L. M.-L.J., Griffin, J.N., Moschella, P.S., Jenkins, S.R., Thompson, R.C. and Hawkins, S.J.(2009) Changes in diversity and ecosystem functioning during succession. In: Marine hard bottom communities: patterns,dynamics, diversity and change, Wahl, M. (Ed.), Chapter 15, pp. 213-223,Springer, Heidelberg, Germany.


Branch, G.M., Thompson, R.C., Crowe, T.P., Castilla, J.C., Langmead, O. and Hawkins S.J. (2008). Rocky intertidal shores:prognosis for the future, in: Aquatic ecosystems: trends and global prospects.Pollunin, N.V.C. (Ed.), Chapter 15, pp. 209-225, Cambridge University Press,UK.


Thompson,R.C. (2007) Biofilms, in: Encyclopediaof Tidepools and Rocky Shores. Denny, M.W. and Gaines S.D. (Eds.), pp.85-87, University of California Press, Berkley, USA.


Veale, L. Thompson, R.C. andBates, M. (1998) Isle of Man SublittoralSurvey, 1994-1997, Report, Port Erin Marine Laboratory, Port Erin, Isle ofMan 25pp


Conference proceedings


Wearmouth,V.J., Southall, E.J., Morritt, D., Thompson,R.C., Budd, G.C., Cuthill, I.C., Partridge, J.C. and Sims, D.W. (2009)Sexual segregation as a behavioural mediator of elasmobranch populationdynamics, Annual Meeting of the Societyfor Experimental Biology, Glasgow, p. S67-S67.


Hawkins, S. J.,Mieszkowska, N., Burrows, M. T., Genner, M. J., Kendall, M. A., Leaper, R.,Moore, P., Poloczanska, E., Sims, D. Thomposon, R.C.  Southward, A. J. (2007). Long- term changesin marine biodiversity in relation to climate, measured using rocky shoreindicator. In Proceedings of the 24th Conference of the Institute of Ecology& Environmental Management (pp. 83-91).


Veale, L.O., Bates, M. and R.C., Thompson (1997). Using volunteer divers to mapsublittoral habitats around the Isle of Man. Proceedings of the FourthUnderwater Science Symposium, pp. 25-26.


Teaching and Learning


Sloman,K.A. and Thompson, R.C. (2009) An example of large group drama andcross-year peer assessment for teaching science in higher education.International Journal of Science Education, 2009, 1–17.


Thompson, R.C. (2008). Science and Ethics: plastic debris in thesea. Primary Science 104: 18-21.


Thompson R.C. (2008). Plastic: 21st century plague. Marine Conservation, 7(11):22-27.


Hoare, C. and Thompson R.C. (1997). Microscopic plastic: a shore thing.Marine Conservation, 3(11): 4.

Reports & invited lectures

Keynote Presentations

EU Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, ScientificPerspective on Microplastic Pollution, 2018

Plastics Europe, PolyTalk (160delegates), Malta, 2018

Chartered Institute of Waste Managers, Resourcing the Future, London,2018

The Consumer Goods Forum, Sustainable Retail Summit, Porto, Portugal, 2018

British Retail Consortium, Microfibres and Sustainable fashion (20 companies),London, 2018

British Plastics Federation, Marine Litter Platform, London 2018

Sainsbury’s Bitesize, What is the real truth about impact ofplastics (300 delegates), London, 2018

Mott MacDonald, Marine Plastics Conference, London, 2018

IGD -Technical leaders Forum (representing 30 major food and drink companies),Luton, 2018

Veolia Institute Workshop, Paris, 2017

International Solid Waste Association, World Congress, Antwerp, 2015

EFSAPanel on Contaminants in the Food Chain, Microplastics and nanoplastics in food, 2016

Marine Pollution - Plastic pollution a keynote presentation on marine debris as part of the Our Ocean meeting organised by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in Washington.

Plastic debris in the ocean - a global environmental problem. Thompson RC Royal Society of Chemistry Distinguished Guest Lecture, London March 2014

Healthy Oceans – Productive Ecosystems: A European conference for themarine environment (HOPE)European Parliament, Invited Keynote speaker Thompson RC, Brussels,March 2014

LET'S BAG IT - conference on plastic bags, European Parliament, Invited Keynote speaker Thompson RC, Brussels, February 2014

Invited as plenary speaker to open Marine Litter meeting for EU policy in Berlin, April 2012.

Plastics and oceans, a threat to the marine environment, Thompson RC.Invited plenary speaker, ALDE Seminar, European Parliament, Brussels, June 2010.

Accumulation and environmental consequences of plastic debris in marinehabitats, Stralsund, Germany, May 2006. Marine Nature Conservation in Europe2 006 Invited Seminar funded by Bundesamt fur Naturschutz. Thompson RC,Rowland SJ, Galloway TS, Browne MA, Niven S and Teuten E.

Los Martes de L’Oceanographic: The fate and impacts of plastic waste in the sea, Valencia, Spain, March 2006, Invited Lecture funded the British Council programme for Science and Society. Thompson RC, Rowland SJ,Galloway TS, Browne MA, Niven S and Teuten E.

Microscopic plastic particles in the marine environment. KommunesInternatsjonale miloorganisasjon (Local Authorities International Organisation)15th International Conference, Lerwick, Shetland, UK, October 2005. ThompsonRC, Rowland SJ, Galloway TS, Browne MA and Niven S.

The accumulation and environmental consequence of microscopic plastic debris. Plastic debris, rivers to sea conference. California, USA, September 2005. Thompson RC, Rowland SJ, Galloway TS, Browne MA and Niven S.

Lost at Sea: Studies on the Fate and Effects of Particles of Plastics.Royal Society of Chemistry International Symposium on Sustainable Plastics:Biodegradability versus Recycling. Manchester, March 2005. Thompson RC,Galloway T, Niven SJ, Browne M, & Rowland SJ.

Rocky intertidal communities: past environmental changes, present statusand predictions (forecasts?) for the next 25 years. 5th International Conference on Environmental Futures, March 2003. Zurich, Switzerland. Thompson,RC, Crowe T.P. and Hawkins SJ.

Other academic activities

Reviews of my research and publications

CIMAR, Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, paper of the week, March 2010

Martins, G.M., Thompson, R.C., Neto, A.I., Hawkins, S.J. and Jenkins, S.R. (2010) Enhancing stocks of the exploited limpet Patella candei d’Orbigny via modifications in coastal engineering, Biological Conservation,143: 203-211 

‘It is widely recognized that microhabitats are important for a variety of marine organisms, yet this knowledge has rarely been applied in the construction of engineered structures as a means of enhancing biodiversity or populations of species at risk....’

Betts, K. (2008) Why small plastic particles may pose a big problem in the oceans Environmental Science and Technology, 5th November, 2008. Reports on 2 papers from my group:

Browne, M.A., Dissanayake, A., Galloway, T.S., Lowe, D.M. and Thompson R.C. (2008). Ingested microscopic plastic translocates to the circulatory system of the mussel, Mytilus edulis (L.) Environmental Science and Technology, 42: 5026-5031.

Teuten, E.L., Rowland, S.J., Galloway, T.S. and Thompson R.C. (2007). Potential for Plastics to Transport Hydrophobic Contaminants. Environmental Science and Technology, 41: 7759-7764.

‘two of the most influential papers in the field’

Duffy, J.E. (2008) Faculty of 100 must read papers. Reports on:

Griffin, J., de la Haye, K., Hawkins, S.J., Thompson, R.C. and Jenkins S.R. (2008). Predator diversity and ecosystem functioning: density modifies the effect of resource partitioning. Ecology, 89: 298-305.

‘This paper presents some of the first and most convincing experimental evidence for the widely assumed importance of resource partitioning in mediating the enhancement of ecosystem processes by diversity’

Ellinoson K. (2007) The trouble with nurdles. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: 5: 396-396.

Reports in general about my research on plastics.

Weismann, A. (2007) Polymers are forever. In: The world without us, Virgin Books Ltd, London, Chapter 9, 112-128.

Reports extensively on research by my group

Hopkin, M. (2004) Plastic particles surf polluted waves, Nature news (7th May, 2004 doi:10.1038). Reports on:

Thompson, R.C. , Olsen. Y., Mitchell, R.P., Davis, A., Rowland, S.J., John, A.W.G., McGonigle, D. and Russell A.E. (2004). Lost at sea: Where does all the plastic go? Science, 304: 838.