Dr Emma Defew

Research Fellow

SOI 1.9
tel. 01334 463470
fax. 01334 463443

Employment details

I am the Programme Co-ordinator for the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland. Find out more at www.masts.ac.uk


The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) is a pooling consortium of organisations engaged in marine science and represents the majority of Scotland's marine research capacity. The core members of MASTS are the Universities of St Andrews, Stirling, Aberdeen, Strathclyde, Glasgow, Highlands & Islands, Edinburgh Napier and Heriot Watt, together with Marine Scotland Science (a governmental department). Three further universities (Dundee, Edinburgh and the West of Scotland), a privately funded marine laboratory (St Abbs) and Scottish Natural Heritage (an NGO) are associate members. I work across and on behalf of all these organisations and institutions. MASTS has also recently formed a company – MAST-Scotland – which is a Company Limited by Guarantee with charitable status. Through this company MASTS can now act as a lead organisation on grant proposals, issue its own contracts and handle funding sources.


My role in MASTS is that of Programme Coordinator, where I provide day-to-day higher level administrative support together with coordinating, managing and delivering specific projects and programmes of work. I work within the MASTS Directorate and with the wider MASTS community to bring about a new approach to delivering marine science in Scotland.Examples of specific duties include:

?        Organisation and running of the MASTS Annual Science Meeting and associated workshops

?        Administration of the Centre of Research Expertise for Water (CREW) HEI Procurement process

?        Acting as Secretariat for the MASTS Governance structures

?        Organisation and running of the MASTS Grant Schemes

?        Being an initial point of contact for the MASTS community

?        Responsibility for elements of the MASTS Graduate School (i.e. Internships, Making the Most of Masters, and organisation of the Annual Retreat, short courses and training)

?        Communication to the MASTS community via the website, Kelpie newsletter, webinars, and email lists

?        Communication outwith the MASTS community (i.e. Annual reports to the SFC, coordination of outreach activities)




Other roles I have had include:

1)      Being an Associate Scientist for SOI Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of St Andrews which offers a range of services that provide customers with the best information available for the management of marine and coastal resources by industry, government and NGOs. I have experience designing and managing research projects, ranging from small scale monitoring studies to large-scale interdisciplinary partnership projects. I work in freshwater, estuarine and marine environments.

2)      I have project management skills and experience of working with sub-contractors and executive management groups at both UK and European levels.

3)      I have excellent event management experience. As well as being responsible for the MASTS Annual Science Meeting which is now the largest gathering of marine scientists in the UK, I was a member of the organising committee for the World Conference on Marine Biodiversity. This conference was held at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, 26-30 September 2011, and attracted over 1000 abstracts.

4)      I am was the Post-doctoral Scientist working on the UK Ocean Acidification Programme, specifically in the “Impacts of ocean acidification on key benthic ecosystems, communities, habitats, species and life cycles” project. My role in the benthic acidification consortium was to assess the changes in structure and activity of surface biofilms and microphytobenthos assemblages to elevated carbon dioxide and temperature. I also assisted in the coordination of Aim 3, which determined the effects of ocean acidification on the overall function of key benthic habitats. www.oceanacidification.org.uk/

5)      I was the Post-doctoral Scientist involved in the EU funded VECTORS project that investigated the drivers, pressures and vectors that cause change in marine life, the mechanisms by which they do so, and the impacts that they have on ecosystem structures and functioning, and on the economics of associated marine sectors and society. I assisted in the coordination of Work Package 1 which was a desk top review exercise to identify, prioritise and quantify direct and indirect pressures for change in European and Regional Seas. I was also involved in Work Package 3 which investigated the impacts of change on ecosystem structure and functioning. www.marine-vectors.eu/

6)      I am a member of the Sediment Ecology Research Group and use field observations and manipulative experiments to address issues relating to benthic ecosystems. I am particularly interested in the ecophysiology and community dynamics of microphytobenthos to a variety of environmental variables and how this can affect sediment stability. For example, previous research has investigated the influence of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations on a natural estuarine microphytobenthic assemblage. As a member of SERG I am involved in helping undergraduate and PhD students, occasional lecturing, teaching on field trips, and paper writing.


(source: symbiosis database)