John has recently retired from his position as Principal Marine Adviser at Scottish Natural Heritage after 32 years. He holds honorary professorships at both St Andrews and Heriot‐Watt Universities, and he is also a trustee of the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick. He is an adviser to the IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme, and is vice chair of the Ocean Acidification international Reference User Group and a member of the SOLAS‐IMBER working group on ocean acidification. He is chairman of the Scottish Blue Carbon Forum and the Scottish Habitats and Species Assessment Group, and a member of Scotland’s Seas Data and Assessment Steering Group. He is also chairman of the International Research Advisory Panel for the DEEP project, a collaborative project between Glenmorangie, Heriot‐Watt University and the Marine Conservation Society to reintroduce native oysters into the Dornoch Firth.
He is Editor‐in‐Chief (marine) of the journal Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, and has edited a number of major reports on various aspects of the implications of climate change on the marine environment. His current range of research interests include investigations into the decline of harbour seals in Scotland, the connectivity between the network of Marine protected Areas in Scotland and the implications of climate change, and the extent and distribution of blue carbon resources in Scotland and the measures required to better protect/enhance these in the future.