Visiting Professor, Robert Gordon University
Honorary Professor, Heriot-Watt University
Initially studying chemistry, Colin completed a PhD in heparin biochemistry, including links to tumour angiogenesis, before joining Torry Research Station where he investigated the structure of fish lipids and their nutritional benefits. He subsequently studied organic contaminants in the marine and terrestrial environments, pathological samples, food-producing animals and food products with a specific interest in their biological effects on marine biota.
Colin has specialised in the methodology associated with determining the state of marine ecosystems. He lead on the production the OSPAR Intermediate Assessment 2017, an assessments of the North-East Atlantic, and Scotland’s Marine Assessment 2020. Both utilised new indicators and methodologies, providing an assessment of progress towards achieving a clean, healthy and biologically diverse ocean. Colin was also instrumental in laying some of the foundations for the United Nations (UN) Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021 – 2030) and was a member of the Pool of Experts for the UN World Ocean Assessment 2.
Colin retired from the post of Chief Scientific Advisor Marine to the Scottish Government in 2021. However, he continues to study contamination of marine systems by microplastics, heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants and pharmaceuticals, as well as the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change. He is also chair of the Programme Advisory Group for the four year ECOWind Programme which is connecting science and policy for the coexistence of offshore wind and thriving marine ecosystems.