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Personal profile

Research interests

  • The societal benefits, restoration, ecology, biodiversity and monitoring of:
    • Shellfish reefs,
    • Marine Protected Areas,
    • Priority habitats of nature conservation importa­­nce,
  • Biodiversity mapping and management in Marine Spatial Planning
  • Sustainable development and habitat use by species of high biodiversity conservation importance
  • The win-win between biodiversity conservation, ecosystem function and marine development

Biography

Joining Heriot-Watt University (HWU) in 2010 as part of a research pooling exercise, I am a MASTS Reader / Associate Professor.  My work concentrates on the marine biodiversity research needed to support sensitive management and sustainable development. Within the modern policy context this means that I have experience and ongoing research interests in Marine Environmental Enhancement, Marine Protected Areas, Maritime Spatial Planning and Marine Built Structures.  I am the Research Director for the Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project and since 2016 a Research Director at St Abbs Marine Station.  Since joining HWU I have developed programmes focused on shellfish ecosystem services, restoration, MPA designation, indicator development and the biodiversity, mitigation and enhancement of structures in the marine environment.

 

From 1993 I worked in government agencies as a marine ecologist and then as a monitoring specialist, my strategic marine research concentrated on species and habitats of high nature conservation importance such as biogenic reefs, lagoons and habitats that support higher predators. Biogenic reefs formed by shellfish have been a strong focus of study now for more than 20 years; involving hydroacoustic mapping, remote cameras and in situ SCUBA.  My work has underpinned MPA designation, the formation of bylaws, proactive management, assessment and enforcement.

 

With a wide range of collaborators I developed research on the recovery of scoter duck (Melanitta nigra) and their shellfish prey after the 1996 Sea Empress oil spill, forming the corner-stone of the notification of Carmarthen Bay as the UK's first fully marine Special Protection Area (EC Birds Directive, 79/409/EEC). Subsequently I was recruited by DGXI Civil Protection to the EU Task Force during the Jessica oil spill in Galápagos. Over several years I led the development of an evidence base and Individuals Based Model with Agencies and Bournemouth University (formerly CEH) that enabled informed management objectives and condition assessment of MPAs.

 

I have contributed to the national state of the environment assessment, Charting Progress 2, and the developing Marine Strategy Framework Directive indicators through work on the Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group. I have served on the OSPAR Benthic Specialist Group, the Interagency Marine Monitoring Group and the UK Technical Advisory Group, on methods and strategy development under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Habitats Directive and the Water Framework Directive.

 

Overall, I have led government applied science, monitoring and academic programmes at the forefront of sustainable maritime development and conservation totalling just under £5m. I have authored more than 70 reports, papers and a book.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where William Sanderson is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Co Author Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1994 2019

Open Access
ecological impact
foraging behavior
economic impact
crab
lagoon

Conservation and restoration of a keystone species: Understanding the settlement preferences of the European oyster (Ostrea edulis)

Rodriguez Perez, A., James, M., Donnan, D. W., Henry, T. B., Møller, L. & Sanderson, W., Jan 2019, In : Marine Pollution Bulletin. 138, p. 312-321 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
File
Ostrea edulis
keystone species
Restoration
Conservation
larva

The Native Oyster Restoration Alliance (NORA) and the Berlin Oyster Recommendation: Bringing back a key ecosystem engineer by developing and supporting best practice in Europe

Pogoda, B., Brown, J., Hancock, B., Preston, J., Pouvreau, S., Kamermans, P., Sanderson, W. & von Nordheim, H., 30 May 2019, In : Aquatic Living Resources. 32, 13.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
File
ecosystem
Europe
recommendation
restoration
regulatory framework
Open Access
Bivalvia
Meals
Eating
Mytilus
Scotland

Missing native oyster (Ostrea edulis L.) beds in a European Marine Protected Area: Should there be widespread restorative management?

Farinas-Franco, J. M., Pearce, B., Mair, J. M., Harries, D. B., MacPherson, R. C., Porter, J. S., Reimer, P. J. & Sanderson, W. G., May 2018, In : Biological Conservation. 221, p. 293–311 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
File
protected area
habitat restoration
fishery
last glaciation
coast

Activities 2011 2015

  • 5 Participation in Festival or Exhibition
  • 1 Other

Dunbar Science Festival

William Sanderson (Participant)
7 Mar 20158 Mar 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in Festival or Exhibition

Dunbar Science Festival

William Sanderson (Speaker)
22 Mar 201423 Mar 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in Festival or Exhibition

Dunbar Science Festival

William Sanderson (Speaker)
16 Mar 201317 Mar 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in Festival or Exhibition

Dunbar Science Festival

William Sanderson (Speaker)
10 Mar 201211 Mar 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in Festival or Exhibition

Press / Media

Écosse: la renaissance des huîtres disparues

William Sanderson

21/10/18

1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Research

Oyster reefs returning to Scottish coast

William Sanderson

13/10/18

1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Research

Extinct oyster reef is restored (BBC Breakfast)

William Sanderson

13/10/18

1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Research

Oysters extinct for over a century back in Dornoch Firth

William Sanderson

12/10/18

1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Research