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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 Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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

Research Output 1994 2018

fallout
plastic
dust
shellfish
marine environment

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

Assessment of Microplastics Present in Mussels Collected From the Scottish Coast

Catarino, A. I., Macchia, V., Barras, H., Sanderson, W., Thompson, R. C. & Henry, T. B., 2017, MICRO 2016: Fate and Impact of Microplastics in Marine Ecosystems: From the Coastline to the Open Sea. Baztan, J., Jorgensen, B., Pahl, S., Thompson, R. C. & Vanderlinden, J-P. (eds.). p. 60-61

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

digestion
coast
aquatic environment
enzyme
extraction method

Commercially important species associated with horse mussel (Modiolus modiolus) biogenic reefs: a priority habitat for nature conservation and fisheries benefits

Kent, F., Mair, J. M., Newton, J., Lindenbaum, C., Porter, J. & Sanderson, W., 15 May 2017, In : Marine Pollution Bulletin. 118, 1-2, p. 71-78 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
File
horse
nature conservation
reef
fishery
habitat
Open Access
File
Bivalvia
Digestion
Enzymes
Caustics
Hemoglobins

Activities 2011 2015

  • 5 Participation in Festival or Exhibition
  • 1 Other

Dunbar Science Festival

Sanderson, W. (Participant)
7 Mar 20158 Mar 2015

Activity: Participation in Festival or Exhibition

Dunbar Science Festival

Sanderson, W. (Speaker)
22 Mar 201423 Mar 2014

Activity: Participation in Festival or Exhibition

Dunbar Science Festival

Sanderson, W. (Speaker)
16 Mar 201317 Mar 2013

Activity: Participation in Festival or Exhibition

Dunbar Science Festival

Sanderson, W. (Speaker)
10 Mar 201211 Mar 2012

Activity: Participation in Festival or Exhibition

Press / Media

Scotch Whisky's Future May Rest on Restoration

William Sanderson

6/12/16

1 media contribution

Press/Media: Research

St Abbs nets marine deal with universities

William Sanderson

23/10/15

1 media contribution

Press/Media: Research

MASTS ASM Vidcast

William Sanderson

1/01/15

1 media contribution

Press/Media: Research

St Kilda survey

William Sanderson

1/01/15

1 media contribution

Press/Media: Research