Emma Critchley

Emma Critchley

Contact Details:


PhD student


Professor John Quinn & Dr Mark Jessopp


I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Zoology at Trinity College Dublin, during which time I developed an interest in the distribution of species and factors which influence this. Upon graduating in 2009 I undertook an MSc in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College London. My MSc dissertation was an analysis of the impacts of by-catch on the Antarctic fish species Antimora Rostrata, in terms of both biology and distribution. I am also enthusiastic about translating science to inform policy and have spent a number of years working in science communication roles, including as the Communications Manager at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London. In 2015 I decided to return to research and started my PhD on seabird distributions at UCC.



My broad research interest is in studying and understanding species distributions – where individuals and populations are found and for what reasons. My current research is part of the PIP funded project on ‘Developing a tool to predict seabird vulnerability to oil pollution’, supervised by Professor John Quinn and Dr Mark Jessopp. Currently very little is known about where Irish seabird populations go at sea. Using data on colony locations, size and species foraging behaviour I will be building a model to predict the distribution of seabirds at sea around the coast of Ireland. Predictive distribution models have the potential to be a quick and cost effective way of assessing at-sea distributions, and could be applicable for a wide range of species. The outputs from this research will provide an essential tool for planning of marine protected areas and developments in the fossil fuel and renewable energy sectors.

More information can be found on our project webpage: http://ornithology.ucc.ie/current-projects/seabird-distribution



Critchley, E.J., Wischnewski S., Jessopp, M. J., and Quinn, J. L. (October 2015) ‘Modelling predictive distribution of seabirds at sea’. Poster presentation at Atlantic Ireland 2015, Dublin, Ireland.

Critchley, E.J., Wischnewski S., Jessopp, M. J., and Quinn, J. L. (September 2016) ‘Modelling seabird diversity hotspots using foraging range and population sizes’. Oral presentation at the 13th International Seabird Group Conference, Edinburgh, UK.

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

An Scoil Eolaíochtaí Bitheolaíocha, Domhaneolaíocha agus Comhshaoil

University College Cork, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, Ireland T23 N73K