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Sally Rouse


Research student

Summary of research interests

My research interests centre on problems in benthic ecology, marine biodiversity and the mitigation of anthropogenic impacts on the marine environment. Specifically, I am interested in the physical and chemical drivers of growth and productivity, and how these may be manipulated on artificial installations to maximise the benefit to coastal ecosystems. I also have wider interests in marine biodiversity, taxonomy and systematics.

At SAMS I am a member of the

I am also a user of the Institute's artificial reef


Education / career


Understanding benthic productivity on artificial structures: maximising the benefits of marine renewable energy

Project description and objectives

Marine renewable energy devices (MRED) constitute artificial reefs and have the capacity to host biological assemblages that deliver ecological services. Understanding the performance of artificial reefs, in terms of productivity, has been identified as one of the pressing research needs in relation to the ecological impacts of offshore renewables and is of fundamental interest to my PhD.

Cuttings of the bioindicator bryozoan Flustra foliacea will be collected and redeployed to the Loch Linnhe Reef, a 6200 tonne multi-modular, purpose-built underwater experimental matrix located off the west coast of Scotland. Variations in the growth of these colonies will be linked to variations in the food supply, as a function of flow interactions and sedimentation on, or within, a single reef unit (e.g. height on the reef), and between different reef units.

Understanding the processes that govern the productivity associated with artificial structures will enable us to both predict the ecological consequences of deploying MRED and inform us how to modify proposed, or existing structures, in order to maximise their benefit to coastal ecosystems. Such an approach will mitigate against the potential loss of access (e.g. to fishermen) that may occur around offshore renewable devices.


  • Tom Wilding, Director of Studies, SAMS
  • Joanne Porter, Supervisor, Heriot Watt University


Project funder

MASTS Prize Studentship


University of the Highlands and Islands / University of Aberdeen

my contact details

Sally Rouse SAMS

Sally Rouse
T: +44 (0) 1631 559 278
Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, UK

Contact us
Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA
T: 01631 559000
F: 01631 559001