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My PhD, at the Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI), focuses on how seals respond to offshore industrial activity. In particular, marine renewable developments, such as pile driving, wind farms and tidal energy extraction, pose a significant, yet poorly understood, risk to seals: noise can cause immediate hearing damage, turbine blades cause physical injury, and prolonged operations can potentially exclude seals from their natural habitat altogether.
Using telemetry data on harbour seals (Phoca vitulina), I am working to quantify the effect industrial activity has on seal behaviour and to what extent its impact can be mitigated by the use of acoustic deterrents.
My PhD is supervised by Gordon Hastie (SMRU), Debbie Russell (SMRU), Len Thomas (CREEM) and Carol Sparling (SMRU Consulting).
Personal website: www.katherinefwhyte.co.uk