Chelsey McGowan-Yallop

        Picture of Chelsey McGowan-Yallop

PhD student

My research focuses on the use of active acoustic methods to gain new insights into zooplankton behaviour. For my PhD, I am using a combination of wideband acoustics, modelling and machine learning for target identification of copepods and krill.

Contact details:
  • +44 (0)1631 559 232

Using autonomous wideband echosounders to characterise polar ecosystems

Copepods and krill are ubiquitous in the world’s oceans. In pelagic food webs, they provide a key trophic link between primary producers and higher trophic levels, including commercial fisheries. They also play a central role in carbon cycling and export. Conventional acoustic methods have improved estimates of their biomass, and enabled novel insights into their behaviour. However, the identity of zooplankton targets often remains ambiguous: indeed, species identification is considered the ‘grand challenge’ for acoustic methods.

This challenge forms the basis for my project. Cutting-edge wideband echosounders offer the potential for improved target identification, by exploiting the characteristic frequency response of targets. An autonomous wideband echosounder deployed in Loch Etive, Scotland, will be used to develop methods for identification of Calanus finmarchicus, a key copepod in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. I am also working with existing wideband acoustic datasets to develop a method for identification of Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, combining a range of machine learning and modelling approaches.



Dr Kim Last (SAMS)

Professor Finlo Cottier (SAMS)

Dr Sophie Fielding (BAS)

Professor Andrew Brierley (St Andrews)





University of the Highlands and Islands

Professional training courses

Ecological Niche Modelling – PRStatisics

BSAC - Dive Leader & Open Water Instructor

International Association for Nitrox and Technical Divers – Scientific Diver (MNCR phase 2)


Teaching experience

BSAC Diving Instructor


Fieldwork experience

Madagascar - Various marine and terrestrial based conservation projects including marine biodiversity assessments, MNCR phase 2 classification, lemur behaviour and distribution analysis.

Ecological Consultant – Bat roost surveys, small mammal surveying and environmental impact assessments.

Offshore environmental auditing inspections on numerous drilling platforms and mobile vessels


Public engagement experience

Media coverage

I regularly feature on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal to discuss various topical environmental and wildlife related issues. This work is primarily conducted through Gaelic.


2017 – 2018 - Hydrometry & Telemetry Officer, Environment Agency


Higher Education

2016 - BSc (Hons) Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia