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Ecology and Conservation

Dr Kristian Metcalfe

Dr Kristian Metcalfe

Senior Lecturer in Marine Conservation Science

 01326 259025

 Stella Turk Building B046-040


University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, TR10 9FE


I am a conservation scientist with wide ranging interests in biodiversity conservation. My research largely focuses on decision making for the assessment and management of marine biodiversity; with a particular emphasis on marine spatial planning and the design and monitoring of marine protected area networks (MPAs) in the UK, as well as in West and Central Africa (e.g. Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast). This includes modelling trade-offs in protected area design, as well as exploring how protected areas can be designed to meet conservation objectives, whilst minimising impacts on stakeholders and economically important sectors, such as fisheries and petrochemical exploration activities. I am also interested in how novel technologies such as satellite/GPS tracking can be used to understand the behaviour and distribution of marine vertebrates and small-scale fishers to inform the development of priority areas, and resolve conflicts in marine space.

Broad research specialisms

Marine spatial planning, marine protected area network design, spatial ecology and conservation, fisheries and livelihoods, marine policy, systematic conservation planning, spatial prioritisation


2019 Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

2013 PhD Biodiversity Management (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)

2008 MSc Conservation and Biodiversity (University of Exeter)

2007 BSc (Hons) Coastal Zone Environmental Management (Camborne School of Mines)


2021 - present Senior Lecturer in Marine Conservation Science

2019 - 2020 Lecturer in Marine Conservation Science

2016 - 2019 Research Fellow, University of Exeter

2013 - 2016 Post Doctoral Research Associate, University of Exeter

2013 Post Doctoral Research Associate, Durrell Institute of Conservation & Ecology (DICE)


Research group links

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Journal articles

Omeyer L, McKinley TJ, Bréheret N, Bal G, Petchell Balchin G, Bitsindou A, Chauvet E, Collins T, Curran BK, Formia A, et al (In Press). Missing Data in Sea Turtle Population Monitoring: a Bayesian Statistical Framework Accounting for Incomplete Sampling. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9
Leung F, Doherty PD, Liu M, Metcalfe K, Godley B, Lee SY (In Press). Rise and Fall of an Avian Oasis: Tracking the Impacts of Land Use Change in a Key Coastal Wetland in the World's Largest Megalopolis.
Palmer JL, Armstrong C, Akbora HD, Beton D, Çağlar Ç, Godley BJ, Metcalfe K, Özkan M, Snape RTE, Broderick AC, et al (2024). Behavioural patterns, spatial utilisation and landings composition of a small-scale fishery in the eastern Mediterranean. Fisheries Research, 269 Abstract.
Doherty PD, De Bruyne G, Moundzoho BD, Dilambaka E, Okondza GN, Atsango BC, Ngouembe A, Akendze TR, Parnell RJ, Cournarie M, et al (2023). Artisanal fisheries catch highlights hotspot for threatened sharks and rays in the <scp>Republic of the Congo</scp>. Conservation Science and Practice, 5(11). Abstract.
Casale P, Abitsi G, Agamboue PD, Augowet E, Bayet JP, Billes A, Bitsindou A, Collins T, Doherty PD, Faure FE, et al (2023). Conservation-relevant reproductive parameters from long-term tagging of two globally important sea turtle nesting aggregations in Central Africa. AQUATIC CONSERVATION-MARINE AND FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS, 33(11), 1200-1217.  Author URL.
Sykes RE, O'Neill HMK, Juffe-Bignoli D, Metcalfe K, Stephenson PJ, Struebig MJ, Visconti P, Burgess ND, Kingston N, Davies ZG, et al (2023). Developing a framework to improve global estimates of conservation area coverage. Oryx, 58(2), 192-201. Abstract.
Garzon F, Barrientos C, Anvene RE, Mba FE, Fallabrino A, Formia A, Godley BJ, Gonder MK, Prieto CM, Ayetebe JM, et al (2023). Spatial ecology and conservation of leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) nesting in Bioko, Equatorial Guinea. PLoS One, 18(6). Abstract.  Author URL.
Metcalfe K, White L, Lee ME, Fay JM, Abitsi G, Parnell RJ, Smith RJ, Agamboue PD, Bayet JP, Mve Beh JH, et al (2022). Fulfilling global marine commitments; lessons learned from Gabon. Conservation Letters, 15(3). Abstract.
Pritchard A, Sanchez C, Bunbury N, Burt A, Currie J, Doak N, Fleischer-Dogley F, Metcalfe K, Mortimer J, Richards H, et al (2022). Green turtle population recovery at Aldabra Atoll continues after 50 yr of protection. Endangered Species Research, 47, 205-215.
Conners MG, Sisson NB, Agamboue PD, Atkinson PW, Baylis AMM, Benson SR, Block BA, Bograd SJ, Bordino P, Bowen WD, et al (2022). Mismatches in scale between highly mobile marine megafauna and marine protected areas. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9
Kot CY, Åkesson S, Alfaro‐Shigueto J, Amorocho Llanos DF, Antonopoulou M, Balazs GH, Baverstock WR, Blumenthal JM, Broderick AC, Bruno I, et al (2022). Network analysis of sea turtle movements and connectivity: a tool for conservation prioritization. Diversity and Distributions, 28(4), 810-829. Abstract.
Nuno A, Matos L, Metcalfe K, Godley BJ, Broderick AC (2021). Perceived influence over marine conservation: Determinants and implications of empowerment. Conservation Letters, 14(3). Abstract.
Andrasi B, Jaeger JAG, Heinicke S, Metcalfe K, Hockings KJ (2021). Quantifying the road‐effect zone for a critically endangered primate. Conservation Letters, 14(6). Abstract.
Doherty PD, Atsango BC, Ngassiki G, Ngouembe A, Bréheret N, Chauvet E, Godley BJ, Machin L, Moundzoho BD, Parnell RJ, et al (2021). Threats of illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing to biodiversity and food security in the Republic of the Congo. Conserv Biol, 35(5), 1463-1472. Abstract.  Author URL.
March D, Metcalfe K, Tintoré J, Godley BJ (2021). Tracking the global reduction of marine traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nat Commun, 12(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Cardiec F, Bertrand S, Witt MJ, Metcalfe K, Godley BJ, McClellan C, Vilela R, Parnell RJ, le Loc'h F (2020). "Too Big to Ignore": a feasibility analysis of detecting fishing events in Gabonese small-scale fisheries. PLoS One, 15(6). Abstract.  Author URL.
Metcalfe K, Bréheret N, Bal G, Chauvet E, Doherty PD, Formia A, Girard A, Mavoungou J-G, Parnell RJ, Pikesley SK, et al (2020). Tracking foraging green turtles in the Republic of the Congo: insights into spatial ecology from a data poor region. Oryx, 54(3), 299-306. Abstract.
Trew BT, Grantham HS, Barrientos C, Collins T, Doherty PD, Formia A, Godley BJ, Maxwell SM, Parnell RJ, Pikesley SK, et al (2019). Using Cumulative Impact Mapping to Prioritize Marine Conservation Efforts in Equatorial Guinea. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6
Pikesley SK, Agamboue PD, Bayet JP, Bibang JN, Bonguno EA, Boussamba F, Broderick AC, Coyne MS, Du Plessis P, Faure FE, et al (2018). A novel approach to estimate the distribution, density and at-sea risks of a centrally-placed mobile marine vertebrate. Biological Conservation, 221, 246-256.
Duncan EM, Arrowsmith J, Bain C, Broderick AC, Lee J, Metcalfe K, Pikesley SK, Snape RTE, van Sebille E, Godley BJ, et al (2018). The true depth of the Mediterranean plastic problem: Extreme microplastic pollution on marine turtle nesting beaches in Cyprus. Mar Pollut Bull, 136, 334-340. Abstract.  Author URL.
Metcalfe K, Bréheret N, Chauvet E, Collins T, Curran BK, Parnell RJ, Turner RA, Witt MJ, Godley BJ (2018). Using satellite <scp>AIS</scp> to improve our understanding of shipping and fill gaps in ocean observation data to support marine spatial planning. Journal of Applied Ecology, 55(4), 1834-1845. Abstract.
Dawson TM, Formia A, Agamboué PD, Asseko GM, Boussamba F, Cardiec F, Chartrain E, Doherty PD, Fay JM, Godley BJ, et al (2017). Informing Marine Protected Area Designation and Management for Nesting Olive Ridley Sea Turtles Using Satellite Tracking. Frontiers in Marine Science, 4
Shwartz A, Davies ZG, Macgregor NA, Crick HQP, Clarke D, Eigenbrod F, Gonner C, Hill CT, Knight AT, Metcalfe K, et al (2017). Scaling up from protected areas in England: the value of establishing large conservation areas. Biological Conservation, 212, 279-287.
Metcalfe K, Collins T, Abernethy KE, Boumba R, Dengui J, Miyalou R, Parnell RJ, Plummer KE, Russell DJF, Safou GK, et al (2016). Addressing Uncertainty in Marine Resource Management; Combining Community Engagement and Tracking Technology to Characterize Human Behavior. Conservation Letters, 10(4), 460-469. Abstract.
Gardner CJ, Raxworthy CJ, Metcalfe K, Raselimanana AP, Smith RJ, Davies ZG (2015). Comparing Methods for Prioritising Protected Areas for Investment: a Case Study Using Madagascar’s Dry Forest Reptiles. PLOS ONE, 10(7), e0132803-e0132803.
Metcalfe K, Vaz S, Engelhard GH, Villanueva MC, Smith RJ, Mackinson S (2015). Evaluating conservation and fisheries management strategies by linking spatial prioritisation software and ecosystem and fisheries modelling tools. Journal of Applied Ecology
Metcalfe K, Agamboué PD, Augowet E, Boussamba F, Cardiec F, Fay JM, Formia A, Kema Kema JR, Kouerey C, Mabert BDK, et al (2015). Going the extra mile: Ground-based monitoring of olive ridley turtles reveals Gabon hosts the largest rookery in the Atlantic. Biological Conservation, 190, 14-22.
Metcalfe K, Vaughan G, Vaz S, Smith RJ (2015). Spatial, socio‐economic, and ecological implications of incorporating minimum size constraints in marine protected area network design. Conservation Biology, 29(6), 1615-1625. Abstract.
Struebig MJ, Wilting A, Gaveau DLA, Meijaard E, Smith RJ, Consortium TBMD, Fischer M, Metcalfe K, Kramer-Schadt S (2015). Targeted Conservation to Safeguard a Biodiversity Hotspot from Climate and Land-Cover Change. Current Biology, 25(5).
Struebig MJ, Wilting A, Gaveau DLA, Meijaard E, Smith RJ, the Borneo Mammal Distribution Consortium, Fischer M, Metcalfe K, Kramer-Schadt S (2015). Targeted Conservation to Safeguard a Biodiversity Hotspot from Climate and Land-Cover Change. Current Biology, 25(3), 372-378.
Metcalfe K, Roberts T, Smith RJ, Harrop SR (2013). Marine conservation science and governance in North-West Europe: Conservation planning and international law and policy. Marine Policy, 39(1), 289-295. Abstract.
Metcalfe K, Delavenne J, Garcia C, Foveau A, Dauvin J, Coggan R, Vaz S, Harrop SR, Smith RJ (2012). Impacts of data quality on the setting of conservation planning targets using the species–area relationship. Diversity and Distributions, 19(1), 1-13. Abstract.
Veríssimo D, Metcalfe K (2012). Whaling: Quota trading won't work. Nature, 482(7384), 162-162.
Delavenne J, Metcalfe K, Smith RJ, Vaz S, Martin CS, Dupuis L, Coppin F, Carpentier A (2011). Systematic conservation planning in the eastern English Channel: comparing the Marxan and Zonation decision-support tools. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69(1), 75-83. Abstract.
Metcalfe K, Ffrench-Constant R, Gordon I (2009). Sacred sites as hotspots for biodiversity: the Three Sisters Cave complex in coastal Kenya. Oryx, 44(01), 118-118.

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Office Hours:

My term-time office hours (i.e., where no appointment is necessary) are:

Tuesdays 14:00 - 15:00

Fridays 15:00 - 16:00

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