Rebecca Giesler

        Photo of SAMS PhD student Rebecca Giesler

PhD student

I am interested in biofouling of marine artificial structures by non-native species.  My work focuses on looking at how these structures change environmental conditions and the structure of biofouling communities.

I am also interested in marine legislation and policy, specifically regarding invasive species management.

Contact details:

Full project title

Investigating the interaction between marine infrastructure and the environment to minimise the spread of marine fouling non-native species

Summary description

My research investigates the interaction between marine non-native species and the environmental features of artificial structures with which they interact.

Artificial structures such as marinas, breakwaters and renewable energy devices provide novel habitat for settlement by many marine species. A subset of these are non-native species, species which originate from other biogeographic areas and which may become invasive, negatively impacting native species or people.

I use marinas as a case study, investigating the way environmental characteristics, like salinity, affect the communities which colonise marina structures. Through a combination of field experiments and comparative surveys, I aim to understand whether these effects differentially impact native and non-native species. Ultimately, this could provide novel options for reducing risk of colonisation by non-native species. In addition, I aim to identify influential legislation and actors driving developments in marine invasive species policy within the UK.


Dr Elizabeth Cottier-Cook, SAMS

Dr Meriwether Wilson, University of Edinburgh


NERC E3 Doctoral Training Partnership


University of Edinburgh

Peer-reviewed publications

Foster, V, Giesler, RJ, Wilson, AMW, Nall, CR, Cook, EJ (2016) Identifying the physical features of marina infrastructure associated with the presence of non-native species in the UK. Marine Biology 163: 173. Doi: 10.1007/s00227-016-2941-8

Conference talks

Giesler, RJ, Cottier-Cook, EJ, Wilson, AMW (2015) Blue Build and Biosecurity. University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Research Conference.

Giesler, RJ, Cottier-Cook, EJ (2014) The Achilles’ heel of marine biosecurity in the Isle of Man: The establishment and spread of the invasive Wireweed, Sargassum muticum. MASTS ASM. Edinburgh, UK

Poster presentations

Giesler, RJ, Cottier-Cook, EJ, Wilson, AMW (2016) Using freshwater as a biosecurity tool for controlling marine fouling non-native species. NEOBIOTA 2016. Vianden, Luxembourg

Giesler, RJ, Cottier-Cook, EJ, Wilson, AMW (2015) Does temporary exposure to freshwater affect marina biofouling communities? University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Research Conference.

Professional activities

Neobiota 2016 – Student helper at Neobiota 2016, Vianden, Luxembourg

Geoscience GradSchool Committee 2015, University of Edinburgh

Teaching experience

2017 Guest lecturer, University of Edinburgh, MSc course 'Marine Infrastructure and Environmental Change'

2015-16 Course assistant and guest lecturer, University of Edinburgh, MSc course 'Marine Infrastructure and Environmental Change'

Public engagement experience

Introduction to Invasive Species Monitoring – Lecture for West Highland Anchorages and Moorings Association (WHAM) AGM 2015

Professional training courses

2017 ‘Taxonomic principles and tools in botanical research’, Natural History Museum, London

2016 ‘Making a difference in Invasion Biology: improving links between research, policy and practice.’ ParrotNet, Marseille

2015 ‘An introduction to PRIMER’, Herriot-Watt, Edinburgh

2015 ‘BPS Seaweed Identification Course’, MBA, Plymouth

2015 ‘MASTS Policy Day’, Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

2015 ‘Marine Policy Masterclass’, SAMS, Oban

2014 ‘International Law of the Sea’ Edinburgh School of Law

Career history

2014  Seafood Sustainability Research Intern. International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF)

2013/14  Sustainable Seafood Coalition Intern. ClientEarth


2013  MRes Ecosystem-Based Management of Marine Systems. University of St Andrews and SAMS

2012  BA (Oxon) Biological Sciences. University of Oxford