Ellie-Mae Cook

Aura Centre for Doctoral Training

Work with industry, drive innovation, develop a sustainable future.

Cohort 2 Students

Ellie-Mae Cook

Background: I completed both my undergraduate degree in biology and master of research in chemical ecology at the University of Hull. My BSc dissertation explored effects of marine protected areas on the abundance and distribution of shark and indicator species amongst the Gili Isles, Indonesia. Following this, my MSc research investigated impacts of ocean acidification, a process accelerated by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. Here I explored the effect of low pH conditions on olfactory ability of hermit crabs, Pagurus bernhardus. More specifically, studying response to chemical foraging cues and detection thresholds, response personalities amongst individuals and the likelihood of acclimation.

Research Interests: Throughout my university experience I have been most interested in research regarding the impact of anthropogenic activities and climate change on marine organisms and their respective ecosystems. Considering the cascading effects that one environmental change can have on the complex networks of marine interactions, in addition to acclimation and adaptation potentials of organisms in such scenarios. I am also interested in mitigating factors of negative implications arising from anthropogenic influences and am therefore, highly enthusiastic in regards to research topics incorporating the production of clean energy. Especially, as my previous research explored consequential processes resulting from increased anthropogenic carbon emissions.

Why you applied for the Aura CDT: The Aura CDT is a highly unique programme and offers experiences that cannot be granted elsewhere. Giving me the opportunity to work amongst an array of disciplines, alongside the industrial sector and academics at the top of their field of research. I believe the offshore wind industry leads by example and the demand for clean energy is becoming of more importance as the world tackles climate change, a subject I am passionate to expand my current knowledge of. The prospect of making important contributions to such areas of research is an ever exciting prospect and I welcome the challenges ahead.

My PhD Research:

The offshore wind industry is rapidly developing in line with global targets and the movement against climate change. Such rapid development of the offshore wind industry poses a significant threat to the marine environment, as infrastructure widely populates these areas. The North Sea in particular will locate some of the largest offshore wind projects in the world. 

One threat is that of the physical disturbances directly caused by such infrastructure. Physical disturbances can lead to many implications amongst the marine environment, but can specifically result in changes to the structure and functioning of benthic communities. Such benthic or seabed communities contribute disproportionately to the functioning of highly biodiverse coastal and shelf sea ecosystems. Whereby their high productivity plays key roles in nutrient cycling, sedimentary processes and wider ecosystem services.

Hence, it is important that research better understands such implications, to enhance future management and mitigations of offshore installations. This study will therefore aim to focus upon the tracking of changes amongst benthic resources within the North Sea. Including the likes of: species presence, creation of habitat and repercussions for ecological structure and functioning. Whilst also considering long-term, cumulative and in-combination effects of offshore infrastructure.

Find out more about the research

Contact: E.E.Cook-2015@hull.ac.uk

Twitter: @elliemaecook

For an informal discussion, call +44 (0) 1482 463331
or contact auracdt@hull.ac.uk