Dr Sally Rouse

Oil & Gas Decommissioning PDRA

I am a marine ecologist with expertise in the environmental and societal consequences of deploying and decommissioning artificial structures in the sea. My research employs a mixture of empirical studies and advanced spatial models.

I co-chair the MASTS Oil and Gas Environmental Research Forum.

Contact details:

I am interested in understanding the ecological interactions of artificial structures with the marine environment. This includes how aspects of artificial reef design influence the productivity of benthic reef communities, and the extent to which anthropogenic structures alter commercial fishing patterns. At SAMS, I have conducted experiments on the Loch Linnhe Artificial Reef complex. 

My work is of an applied nature and I collaborate with a diverse range of industry, policy and other stakeholders to ensure translation of research outcomes in to environmental, societal and economic benefits.


Current research projects

Development of a strategic framework for the comparative assessment of pipeline decommissioning options: optimising environment and fishing interests: Funded by NERC. Feb 2017-18. Co-Investigator

MASTS Oil and Gas Environmental Research Forum – Review of the OSPAR 98/3 decision in relation to marine environmental issues. 2017. Co-ordinator

Improving marine growth estimates using 3D photogrammetry. Co-PI. Funded by NERC. Jan-Jun 2018


Past projects

Optimising decommissioning of oil and gas pipelines with respect to the commercial fishing sector on the UK continental shelf. Funded by NERC. 2016-17

Quantifying benthic productivity on artificial structures: maximising the benefit of marine renewable energy devices. Funded by MASTS. 2011-2016

Peer-reviewed publications 

Rouse, S., Kafas, A., Catarino, R. & Hayes, P. (in press) Commercial fisheries use of oil and gas pipelines in the North Sea: impacts of decommissioning plans on fisheries. ICES Journal of Marine Science. https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsx212

Porter, J.S., Spencer Jones, M. E., Kuklinski, P. & Rouse, S. (2015) First records of marine invasive non-native Bryozoa in Norwegian coastal waters from Bergen to Trondheim Bioinvasion Records

Rouse, S., Spencer Jones, M.E. & Porter, J.S. (2014) The distribution and diversity of bryozoans in Scotland. Marine Ecology 1208: 1-18


Other publications 

Miller, R. G., Rouse, S., Allen C. (2016) The use of Gravity Base Structures for Enhanced Habitat Recovery. Report by SAMS Research Services Ltd., UK. 54 pp

Bell, M.C., Grist, E.M., Baston, S., Rouse, S., et al. (2011) Hydrokinetic energy as an ecological factor – how might wave and tidal energy extraction affect the distribution of marine organisms ICES CM 2011/S:16

Rouse, S., Spencer Jones, M.E. &Porter, J.S. (2010) Bryozoan biodiversity in Scotland. In:15th International Conference of the International Bryozoology Association Program and Abstracts, 2nd – 6th August 2010, Christian-Albrechts- Uniserssitat zu Kiel,Germany. GeoUnion Alfred Wegnes-Siftung, Berlin


Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy PhD programme: Lecturer on 'Marine renewables and the environment' module, teaching about artificial reef ecology.


Current research student

Grace Russell: Quantification of epifaunal biomass on man-made structures using 3D photogrammetry. MSc 2016-17. University of St Andrews and SAMS

Elise Depauw: Optimising the decommissioning of concrete mattresses and support structures in the North Sea. PhD 2017-21. University of the Highlands and Islands

Michael Redford: Artificial reef creation using decommissioned mattresses – environmental performance and fisheries enhancement potential in the North Sea. PhD 2017-21. University of the Highlands and Islands

Employment history

2016-present: PDRA Oil and Gas Decommissioning. SAMS

2011: Rubenstein EOL Fellow. Natural History Museum London



2016 PhD Artificial Reef Ecology. SAMS UHI and University of Aberdeen

2010 MSc Marine Resource Development and Protection. Heriot-Watt University

2009 BSc (Hons) Biology. Imperial College London