Dr Hannah Grist

        Co-Coast Officer Dr Hannah Grist surveying life on a rocky seashore by a rockpool

Marine Ecologist / CoCoast Project Officer

My research interest is on individual variation in animal distributions and behaviour, and the impact on population dynamics under changing environments.

My enthusiasm and fascination for science has led to me becoming a passionate advocate for public engagement, particularly through citizen science.

Contact details:

I am an ecologist, with a research focus on behavioural and population ecology in the marine environment. My main interests are in individual and/or geographical variation, how these scale up to the population or ecosystem level, and the implications for conservation and policy. 

My interests also lie in teaching, public outreach and engagement. I have worked in community outreach and outdoor learning, including as a Royal Society Partnership Scientist developing a marine education programme with local schools. I enjoy working with citizen scientists, and believe strongly in the value of engaging the non-academic community in answering ecological questions, to the benefit of both the participants and the science. 

I am currently working as a coordinator for the Capturing our Coast project in Scotland. This large-scale project will (hopefully!) be the largest marine citizen science project undertaken in the UK, training and supporting thousands of people to survey their local coastline and provided unprecedented widespread data on intertidal species distribution and ecology. The project is led by Newcastle University and has a range of academic, non-governmental and charitable partners working in partnership. 


Current project

Capturing our Coast (CoCoast). Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund. 2015-18

Peer-reviewed publications

GRIST, H., DAUNT, F., WANLESS, S. et al. (2017) Relationship between migratory strategy and reproductive performance in a partially migratory population. Journal of Animal Ecology, DOI:10.1111/1365-2656.12691.

GRIST, H., DAUNT, F., WANLESS, S. et al. (2014) Site fidelity and individual variation in location in partially migratory European shags. PLoS One 9.6: e98562.

O'CONNOR, E. O., SAUNDERS, J. E., GRIST, H. et al. (2011) The relationship between the comb and social behaviour in laying hens. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 135, 293-299.

O'CONNOR, E. O., PARKER, M.O., GRIST, H. et al. (2011). The effect of low light and high noise on behavioural activity & physiological indicators of stress in hens. British Poultry Science, 52, 666-674.


Marine Science BSc: Lecturer year 1 'Fundamentals of Marine Biology'

Marine Science BSc: Lecturer year 2 'Marine Biology'

Marine Science BSc: Lecturer year 3 'Marine Zoology'

Marine Science BSc: Lecturer year 4 'Science Communication'

IDCORE: Lecturing about seabirds and renewables as well as rocky shores

Professional memberships

Higher Education Academy: Associate Fellow

British Ecological Society: Member

British Ornithological Union: Member

Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment: Associate Member


Argyll & Isles Countryside Trust Advisor since 2015

British Ecological Society Scottish Policy Group Communications Officer since 2015

Scottish Children’s Panel Member since 2015

Outdoor Learning Scotland Committee Treasurer 2015 – 2016

Marine Task Force Member, Scottish Environment LINK 2012 – 2015

Council Member, Scottish Ornithologists’ Club 2012 – 2014

United Nations Delegate, World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002


Selected public engagement

Invited Presenter, 34 public lectures & conferences since 2013

Runner up, I’m a Scientist Get me Out of Here 2016               

British Ecological Society Public Engagement design team 2016

“Survival of the Fittest”, Glasgow Science Festival Activity 2015

Expert Contributor, I’m a Biologist.com 2014 – 2015

Invited Lecturer, Webinar Series, University of Sheffield 2013

Planet Earth Guest Podcaster 2013


Awards and prizes

Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship 2017: to travel to several countries and provide a report on the uses of participatory science to improve scientific literacy

ERAMUS+ Travelling Fellowship 2015: to travel to Slovenia and work with local communities on how to engage visitors with conservation.

President’s Award for Public Engagement 2014: Awarded early-career researcher prize for excellence in public engagement.

UK Centre for Bioscience Postgraduate Student Award 2011: Awarded prize for best UK postgraduate public engagement essay.

Conference Presentation Award, University of Aberdeen 2011: Awarded best public talk at conference.

NERC Scholarship, University of York 2008

Employment history

2015 - present Marine Ecological Researcher. SAMS

2014 - 15 Lifelong Learning Officer / Manager. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

2009 - 10 Research Assistant. Royal Veterinary College

2009 Research Assistant. University of Rhode Island

2007-08 Michael Hearn Intern. Save the Rhino International



2014 PhD Ecology. University of Aberdeen

2009 MRes Ecology and Environmental Management. University of York

2007 BA (Hons) Biological Sciences. University of Oxford