Professor Michael T. Burrows

        Professor Burrows with the coastal ocean in the background

Marine Ecologist

My research goal is to scale up from the ecology of individual animals and plants to populations, communities and ultimately whole ecosystems. I do this by a) studying the behaviour of animals and the fate of plants at the scale of individual organisms, and using this information to predict how groups of individuals might perform; b)  documenting ecosystem-scale patterns in biodiversity, and to link these patterns with important environmental variables like water flow or food supply; and c) making ecological models that try to unify processes acting at different scales into a holistic understanding of ecosystems

Most of this work is set in between the tidemarks on rocky shores and sandy beaches among the habitats and species I know best.

Contact details:

Research interests

  • >Responses of marine populations and communities to climate change
  • >Processes structuring coastal ecosystems
  • >Primary production by macroalgae and contributions to coastal food webs and carbon stores

Current research projects

Integrated Macroecology and Modelling to Elucidate Regulation of Services from Ecosystems (MERP). Funded by NERC. 2014-2017

Shifting climate as a predictor for change in marine biodiversity at local, regional and global scales (VELOCITY). Funded by the Research Council of Norway. 2014-2017

ECOWATT2050: Impacts of Very Large Scale Arrays and their Regulation. Funded by EPSRC. 2013-2017

Selected past research projects

A hierarchical approach to the examination of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem service flows across coastal margins (CBESS). Funded by NERC. 2014-2017

Large scale interactive coupled 3D modelling for wave and tidal energy resource and environmental impact (TERAWATT). Funded by EPSRC. 2011-2014

Towards an integrative theory of recruitment in marine benthic organisms. Funded by NERC. 2010-2013

Impacts of ocean acidification on key benthic ecosystems, communities, habitats, species and life cycles. Funded by NERC. 2010-2013

Consultancy and industry experience

Over the last decade I have led several large reports providing conservation advice to UK bodies including Scottish Natural Heritage and the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee on topics ranging from establishing criteria for status assessment of coastal habitats, measuring and monitoring effects of climate change, coastal Blue Carbon and stock assessment for coastal seaweeds (see publications for links to these reports).


Accessing consultancy services from SAMS

SAMS consultancy work is delivered through its wholly owned commercial subsidiary, SAMS Research Services Ltd. (SRSL). SRSL operates a comprehensive Quality Management System (QMS) that is accredited to ISO9001:2008 standard, guaranteeing that all projects deliver the best possible service to our customers. All SRSL projects are planned by a professional programme manager who oversees a team of dedicated project managers, all of whom are focussed specifically on client delivery, and have scientific experience and technical expertise in fields relevant to their assigned projects.

For further information concerning commercial enterprise opportunities at SAMS, please contact SRSL by email ( or phone +44 (0) 1631 559 470.


Marine Science BSc: Module leader for 'Marine Modelling' 4th year module

Marine Science BSc: Project supervisor for 4th year double module 'Dissertation'

Marine Science BSc: Guest lectures on climate-change impacts on several modules


List of current research students

Mairi MacArthur: Geodiversity and marine biodiversity interaction: enhancing ecosystem service provision on rocky and engineered coasts. PhD 2015-2018. University of Glasgow

Claudia Meneghesso: Upwelling and Biodiversity in a Climate Change context. PhD 2015-2019. University of Porto, Portugal


List of alumni research students

Laura Hobbs. Diel vertical migration of zooplankton across the Arctic. PhD 2013-2016. UHI Millennium Institute/Aberdeen University

Zoe Hutcheson.  Impacts of renewable energy developments on benthic fauna. PhD 2012-2015. UHI Millennium Institute/Aberdeen University

Raeanne Miller. Offshore renewable energy structures: implications for dispersal, population connectivity, and biogeography of coastal species. PhD 2010-2013. UHI Millennium Institute/Aberdeen University

Gill Andrew. Biodiversity and ecosystem function: trophic diversity versus species diversity in intertidal grazers and filter feeders as revealed by stable isotopes and diets. PhD 2006-2011. UHI Millennium Institute/Aberdeen University

Richard Shucksmith. Biological invasions: The role of biodiversity in determining community susceptibility to invasion. PhD 2004-2007. UHI Millennium Institute/Aberdeen University

Gail Ashton. Biological invasions - quantifying the impact of alien species on marine ecosystems, using the introduction of the amphipod Caprella mutica to the west coast of Scotland as a case study. PhD 2003-2006. UHI Millennium Institute/Open University

Paul Crozier. The Impact of Fishing on Populations of Deep-water Chondrichthyan and Teleost Fishes of the Northeast Atlantic. PhD 1999-2006. UHI Millennium Institute/Aberdeen University

Kate Cresswell. Penguin-krill interactions at South Georgia – an in situ approach.  PhD 2003-2006. British Antarctic Survey/Open University

Richard Shelmerdine. Large-scale forcing of coastal communities. PhD 2003-2006. UHI Millennium Institute/Open University

Natalie Frost. The influence of topographical complexity on community development on rocky shores. PhD 1998-2001. University of Southampton, Southampton

Herbie Smith. Models of speciation by sexual selection. PhD 1996-1999.  University of Southampton, Southampton

Simeon Hill. Search strategies of marine benthic predators.  PhD 1994-1997. University of Wales, Bangor

Reports since 2014

Burrows MT, Smale D, O’Connor N, Rein HV, Moore PJ (2014a) Marine Strategy Framework Directive Indicators for UK Kelp Habitats Part 1: Developing proposals for potential indicators. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough, UK.

Burrows MT, Kamenos NA, Hughes DJ, Stahl H, Howe JA, Tett P (2014b) Assessment of carbon budgets and potential blue carbon stores in Scotland’s coastal and marine environment. Scottish Association for Marine Science.

Burrows MT, Hughes DJ, Austin WEN et al. (2017) Assessment of blue carbon resources in Scotland’s inshore MPA network. Scottish Association for Marine Science.

Burrows, M.T., Twigg, G., Mieszkowska, N., Harvey, R. (2016) Marine Biodiversity and Climate Change (MarClim) Scotland 2014/15: Final Report. Scottish Association for Marine Science.

Burrows, M.T., Mieszkowska, N., Harvey, R., Hawkins, S.J. (2017) Development of an MSFD intertidal rocky shore indicator for climate change response and an interim assessment of UK shores. Scottish Association for Marine Science.

Peer-reviewed publications since 2011

Kaiser, M. J., Burrows, M. T. & Hughes, H. (2011) Introduction. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 430, 99-101.

Heymans JJ, Howell KL, Ayers M, Burrows MT, Gordon JDM, Jones E, Neat F (2011) Do we have enough information to apply the ecosystem approach to management of deep-sea fisheries? An example from the West of Scotland. ICES J Mar Sci 68, 265-280.

Poloczanska, E. S., Smith, S., Fauconnet, L., Healy, J., Tibbetts, I. R., Burrows, M. T. & Richardson, A. J. (2011) Little change in the distribution of rocky shore faunal communities on the Australian east coast after 50 years of rapid warming. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 400, 145-154.

Gibson, R. N., Burrows, M. T. & Robb, L. (2011) Field experiments on depth selection by juvenile plaice Pleuronectes platessa. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 430, 197-205.

Brown, C. J., Schoeman, D. S., Sydeman, W. J., Brander, K., Buckley, L. B., Burrows, M., Duarte, C. M., Moore, P. J., Pandolfi, J. M., Poloczanska, E., Venables, W. & Richardson, A. J. (2011) Quantitative approaches in climate change ecology. Global Change Biology, 17, 3697-3713.

Burrows, M. T., Schoeman, D. S., Buckley, L. B., Moore, P., Poloczanska, E. S., Brander, K. M., Brown, C., Bruno, J. F., Duarte, C. M., Halpern, B. S., Holding, J., Kappel, C. V., Kiessling, W., O’Connor, M. I., Pandolfi, J. M., Parmesan, C., Schwing, F. B., Sydeman, W. J. & Richardson, A. J. (2011) The pace of climate change in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Science, 334, 652-655.

Burrows, M. T. (2012) Influences of wave fetch, tidal flow and ocean colour on subtidal rocky communities. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 445, 193-207.

Thompson, S. A., W. J. Sydeman, J. A. Santora, K. H. Morgan, W. Crawford, and M. T. Burrows. (2012). Phenology of pelagic seabird abundance relative to marine climate change in the Alaska Gyre. Marine Ecology Progress Series 454:159–170. doi: 10.3354/meps09598.

Jørgensen, C., M. A. Peck, F. Antognarelli, E. Azzurro, M. T. Burrows, W. W. L. Cheung, A. Cucco, R. E. Holt, K. B. Huebert, S. Marras, D. McKenzie, J. Metcalfe, A. Perez-Ruzafa, M. Sinerchia, J. F. Steffensen, L. R. Teal, and P. Domenici. (2012). Conservation physiology of marine fishes: advancing the predictive capacity of models. Biology Letters. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0609.

Richardson, A. J., C. J. Brown, K. Brander, J. F. Bruno, L. Buckley, M. T. Burrows, C. M. Duarte, B. S. Halpern, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, J. Holding, C. V. Kappel, W. Kiessling, P. J. Moore, M. I. O’Connor, J. M. Pandolfi, C. Parmesan, D. S. Schoeman, F. Schwing, W. J. Sydeman, and E. S. Poloczanska. (2012). Climate change and marine life. Biology Letters. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0530.

Spencer, M., N. Mieszkowska, L. A. Robinson, S. D. Simpson, M. T. Burrows, S. N. R. Birchenough, E. Capasso, P. Cleall‐Harding, J. Crummy, C. Duck, D. Eloire, M. Frost, A. J. Hall, S. J. Hawkins, D. G. Johns, D. W. Sims, T. J. Smyth, and C. L. J. Frid. (2012). Region‐wide changes in marine ecosystem dynamics: state‐space models to distinguish trends from step changes. Global Change Biology 18:1270–1281. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02620.x.

Broom, M., R. N. Hughes, M. T. Burrows, and G. D. Ruxton. (2012). Evolutionarily stable sexual allocation by both stressed and unstressed potentially simultaneous hermaphrodites within the same population. Journal of Theoretical Biology 309:96–102. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2012.06.004.

Ciotti, B.J., T.E. Targett and M. T. Burrows. (2013). Spatial variation in growth rate of early juvenile European plaice Pleuronectes platessa. Marine Ecology Progress Series 475: 213–232. doi: 10.3354/meps10087.

Parmesan, C., M. T. Burrows, C. M. Duarte, E. S. Poloczanska, A. J. Richardson, D. S. Schoeman, and M. C. Singer. (2013). Beyond climate change attribution in conservation and ecological research. Ecology Letters 16:58–71

Ciotti, B. J., T. E. Targett, and M. T. Burrows. (2013). Decline in growth rate of juvenile European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) during summer at nursery beaches along the west coast of Scotland. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 70:720–734.

Ciotti, B. J., T. E. Targett, R. D. M. Nash, and M. T. Burrows. (2013). Small-scale spatial and temporal heterogeneity in growth and condition of juvenile fish on sandy beaches. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 448:346–359.

Cook, E., J. Stehlíková, C. Beveridge, M. Burrows, H. De Blauwe, and M. Faasse. (2013). Distribution of the invasive bryozoan Tricellaria inopinata in Scotland and a review of its European expansion. Aquatic Invasions 8:281–288.

Hawkins, S. J., L. B. Firth, M. McHugh, E. S. Poloczanska, R. J. H. Herbert, M. T. Burrows, M. A. Kendall, P. J. Moore, R. C. Thompson, S. R. Jenkins, D. W. Sims, M. J. Genner, and N. Mieszkowska. (2013). Data rescue and re-use: Recycling old information to address new policy concerns. Marine Policy 42:91–98.

Mieszkowska, N., G. Milligan, M. T. Burrows, R. Freckleton, and M. Spencer. (2013). Dynamic species distribution models from categorical survey data. Journal of Animal Ecology: online early

Miller, R. G., Z. L. Hutchison, A. K. Macleod, M. T. Burrows, E. J. Cook, K. S. Last, and B. Wilson. (2013). Marine renewable energy development: assessing the Benthic Footprint at multiple scales. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11:433–440.

Poloczanska, E. S., C. J. Brown, W. J. Sydeman, W. Kiessling, D. S. Schoeman, P. J. Moore, K. Brander, J. F. Bruno, L. B. Buckley, M. T. Burrows, C. M. Duarte, B. S. Halpern, J. Holding, C. V. Kappel, M. I. O’Connor, J. M. Pandolfi, C. Parmesan, F. Schwing, S. A. Thompson, and A. J. Richardson. (2013). Global imprint of climate change on marine life. Nature Climate Change 3:919–925.

Smale, D. A., M. T. Burrows, P. Moore, N. O’Connor, and S. J. Hawkins. (2013). Threats and knowledge gaps for ecosystem services provided by kelp forests: a northeast Atlantic perspective. Ecology and Evolution: 3: 4016-4038.

Hawkins, S. J., M. Vale, L. B. Firth, M. T. Burrows, N. Mieszkowska, and M. Frost. (2013). Sustained Observation of Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystems. Oceanography 1:e101.

Adams, T.P., Aleynik, D. & Burrows, M.T. (2014) Larval dispersal of intertidal organisms and the influence of coastline geography. Ecography, DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2013.00259.x.

Adams, T.P., Miller, R.G., Aleynik, D. & Burrows, M.T. (2014) Offshore marine renewable energy devices as stepping stones across biogeographical boundaries. Journal of Applied Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12207.

Burrows, M.T., Schoeman, D.S., Richardson, A.J., Molinos, J.G., Hoffmann, A., Buckley, L.B., Moore, P.J., Brown, C.J., Bruno, J.F., Duarte, C.M., Halpern, B.S., Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Kappel, C.V., Kiessling, W., O’Connor, M.I., Pandolfi, J.M., Parmesan, C., Sydeman, W.J., Ferrier, S., Williams, K.J. & Poloczanska, E.S. (2014) Geographical limits to species-range shifts are suggested by climate velocity. Nature, 507, 492–495.

Brodie, J., C. J. Williamson, D. A. Smale, N. A. Kamenos, N. Mieszkowska, R. Santos, M. Cunliffe, M. Steinke, C. Yesson, K. M. Anderson, V. Asnaghi, C. Brownlee, H. L. Burdett, M. T. Burrows, S. Collins, P. J. C. Donohue, B. Harvey, A. Foggo, F. Noisette, J. Nunes, F. Ragazzola, J. A. Raven, D. N. Schmidt, D. Suggett, M. Teichberg, and J. M. Hall-Spencer. (2014). The future of the northeast Atlantic benthic flora in a high CO2 world. Ecology and Evolution 4:2787–2798.

Fox, C. J., T. E. Targett, B. J. Ciotti, K. de Kroon, L. Hortsmeyer, and M. T. Burrows. (2014). Size variation of 0-group plaice: Are earlier influences on growth potential a contributing factor? Journal of Sea Research 88:59–66.

Hiddink, J. G., M. T. Burrows, and J. García Molinos. (2014). Temperature tracking by North Sea benthic invertebrates in response to climate change. Global Change Biology: 21:117-129

Hoegh-Guldberg, O., R. Cai, E.S. Poloczanska, P.G. Brewer, S. Sundby, K. Hilmi, V.J. Fabry, and S. Jung. 2014. The Ocean. Page Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, in C. B. Field, D. J. Dokken, M. D. Mastrandrea, K. J. Mach, T. E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K. L. Ebi, Y. O. Estrada, R. C. Genova, B. Girma, E. S. Kissel, A. N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P. R. Mastrandrea, and L. L. White, editors. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

Mieszkowska, N., M. T. Burrows, F. G. Pannacciulli, and S. J. Hawkins. (2014). Multidecadal signals within co-occuring intertidal barnacles Semibalanus balanoides and Chthamalus spp. linked to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Journal of Marine Systems 133:70–76.

Murua, J., M. T. Burrows, R. N. Hughes, S. J. Hawkins, R. C. Thompson, and S. R. Jenkins. (2014). Phenotypic variation in shell form in the intertidal acorn barnacle Chthamalus montagui: distribution, response to predators and life history trade-offs. Marine Biology 161:2609–2619.

Poloczanska, E. S., O. Hoegh-Guldberg, W. Cheung, H.-O. Pörtner, and M. Burrows. (2014). Cross-chapter box on observed global responses of marine biogeography, abundance, and phenology to climate change. Pages 123–127 in C. B. Field, V. R. Barros, D. J. Dokken, K. J. Mach, M. D. Mastrandrea, T. E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K. L. Ebi, Y. O. Estrada, R. C. Genova, B. Girma, E. S. Kissel, A. N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P. R. Mastrandrea, and L. L. White, editors. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

Wilson, L. J., M. T. Burrows, G. D. Hastie, and B. Wilson. (2014). Temporal variation and characterization of grunt sounds produced by Atlantic cod Gadus morhua and pollack Pollachius pollachius during the spawning season. Journal of Fish Biology 84:1014–1030.

Hawkins, S.J., Mieszkowska, N., Firth, L.B., Bohn, K., Burrows, M.T., MacLean, M.A., Thompson, R.C., Chan, B.K.K., Little, C. & Williams, G.A. (2015) Looking backwards to look forwards: the role of natural history in temperate reef ecology. Marine and Freshwater Research, 67, 1–13.

Firth, L., White, F., Schofield, M., Hanley, M., Burrows, M., Thompson, R., Skov, M., Evans, A., Moore, P. & Hawkins, S. (2015) Facing the future: The importance of substratum features for ecological engineering of artificial habitats in the rocky intertidal. Marine and Freshwater Research, 67, 131-143.

Firth, L.B., Mieszkowska, N., Grant, L.M., Bush, L.E., Davies, A.J., Frost, M.T., Moschella, P.S., Burrows, M.T., Cunningham, P.N., Dye, S.R. & Hawkins, S.J. (2015) Historical comparisons reveal multiple drivers of decadal change of an ecosystem engineer at the range edge. Ecology and Evolution, 5, 3210–3222.

Santini, G., Burrows, M.T. & Chelazzi, G. (2015) Lessons from a limpet: modelling decisions of central place foragers. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 27, 29–41.

O’Connor, M. I., J. M. Holding, C. V. Kappel, C. M. Duarte, K. Brander, C. J. Brown, J. F. Bruno, L. Buckley, M. T. Burrows, B. S. Halpern, W. Kiessling, P. Moore, J. M. Pandolfi, C. Parmesan, E. S. Poloczanska, D. S. Schoeman, W. J. Sydeman, and A. J. Richardson. (2015). Strengthening confidence in the climate change impact science: Strengthening confidence in climate impact science. Global Ecology and Biogeography: 24, 64-76

Brown, C.J., O’Connor, M.I., Poloczanska, E.S., Schoeman, D.S., Buckley, L.B., Burrows, M.T., Duarte, C.M., Halpern, B.S., Pandolfi, J.M., Parmesan, C. & Richardson, A.J. (2015) Ecological and methodological drivers of species’ distribution and phenology responses to climate change. Global Change Biology, 22, 1548–1560.

García Molinos, J., Halpern, B.S., Schoeman, D.S., Brown, C.J., Kiessling, W., Moore, P.J., Pandolfi, J.M., Poloczanska, E.S., Richardson, A.J. & Burrows, M.T. (2016) Climate velocity and the future global redistribution of marine biodiversity. Nature Climate Change, 6, 83–88.

Hobday, A.J., Alexander, L.V., Perkins, S.E., Smale, D.A., Straub, S.C., Oliver, E.C.J., Benthuysen, J., Burrows, M.T., Donat, M.G., Feng, M., Holbrook, N.J., Moore, P.J., Scannell, H.A., Gupta, A.S. & Wernberg, T. (2016) A hierarchical approach to defining marine heatwaves. Progress in Oceanography. 141, 227-238

Hutchison, Z.L., Hendrick, V.J., Burrows, M.T., Wilson, B. & Last, K.S. (2016) Buried alive: the behavioural response of the mussels, Modiolus modiolus and Mytilus edulis to sudden burial by sediment. PLoS ONE, 11, e0151471.

Hyder, K., Rossberg, A.G., Allen, J.I., Austen, M.C., Barciela, R.M., Bannister, H.J., Blackwell, P.G., Blanchard, J.L., Burrows, M.T., Defriez, E., Dorrington, T., Edwards, K.P., Garcia-Carreras, B., Heath, M.R., Hembury, D.J., Heymans, J.J., Holt, J., Houle, J.E., Jennings, S., Mackinson, S., Malcolm, S.J., McPike, R., Mee, L., Mills, D.K., Montgomery, C., Pearson, D., Pinnegar, J.K., Pollicino, M., Popova, E.E., Rae, L., Rogers, S.I., Speirs, D., Spence, M.A., Thorpe, R., Turner, R.K., van der Molen, J., Yool, A. & Paterson, D.M. (2015) Making modelling count - increasing the contribution of shelf-seas community and ecosystem models to policy development and management. Marine Policy, 61, 291–302.

Notman, G.M., McGill, R.A.R., Hawkins, S.J. & Burrows, M.T. (2016) Macroalgae contribute to the diet of Patella vulgata from contrasting conditions of latitude and wave exposure in the UK. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 549, 113-123

Poloczanska, E.S., Burrows, M.T., Brown, C.J., García Molinos, J., Halpern, B.S., Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Kappel, C.V., Moore, P.J., Richardson, A.J., Schoeman, D.S. & Sydeman, W.J. (2016) Responses of Marine Organisms to Climate Change across Oceans. Global Change and the Future Ocean, 62.

Smale, D.A., Burrows, M.T., Evans, A.J., King, N., Sayer, M.D.J., Yunnie, A.L.E. & Moore, P.J. (2016) Linking environmental variables with regional-scale variability in ecological structure and standing stock of carbon within UK kelp forests. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 542, 79–95.

Torres, G., Giménez, L., Pettersen, A., Bue, M., Burrows, M. & Jenkins, S. (2016) Persistent and context-dependent effects of the larval feeding environment on post-metamorphic performance through the adult stage. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 545, 147–160.

Gallego A, Side J, Baston S et al. (2016) Large scale three-dimensional modelling for wave and tidal energy resource and environmental impact: Methodologies for quantifying acceptable thresholds for sustainable exploitation. Ocean & Coastal Management.

Hawkins SJ, Bohn K, Sims DW et al. (2016) Fisheries stocks from an ecological perspective: Disentangling ecological connectivity from genetic interchange. Fisheries Research, 179, 333–341.

Fogarty HE, Burrows MT, Pecl GT, Robinson LM, Poloczanska ES (2017) Are fish outside their usual ranges early indicators of climate-driven range shifts? Global Change Biology, 23, 2047–2057.

Garciá Molinos J, Burrows MT, Poloczanska ES (2017) Ocean currents modify the coupling between climate change and biogeographical shifts. Scientific Reports, 7.

García Molinos J, Takao S, Kumagai NH, Poloczanska ES, Burrows MT, Fujii M, Yamano H (2017) Improving the interpretability of climate landscape metrics: an ecological risk analysis of Japan’s Marine Protected Areas. Global Change Biology, n/a–n/a.

Gimenez L, Torres G, Pettersen A, Burrows MT, Estevez A, Jenkins SR (2017) Scale-dependent natural variation in larval nutritional reserves in a marine invertebrate: implications for recruitment and cross-ecosystem coupling. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 570, 141–155.

Hawkins SJ, Evans AJ, Mieszkowska N et al. (2017) Distinguishing globally-driven changes from regional- and local-scale impacts: The case for long-term and broad-scale studies of recovery from pollution. Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Serpetti, N., Baudron, A.R., Burrows, M.T., Payne, B.L., Helaouët, P., Fernandes, P.G. , Heymans, J.J., 2017. Impact of ocean warming on sustainable fisheries management informs the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 13438,

Oliver, E. C. J, M. G. Donat, M. T. Burrows, P. J. Moore, D. A. Smale, L. V. Alexander, J. A. Benthuysen, M. Feng, A. S. Gupta, A. J. Hobday, N. J. Holbrook, S. E. Perkins-Kirkpatrick, H. A. Scannell, S. C. Straub, and T. Wernberg. 2018. Longer and more frequent marine heatwaves over the past century. Nature Communications 9:1324.

Hobday, A. J., E. C. J. Oliver, A. S. Gupta, J. A. Benthuysen, M. T. Burrows, M. G. Donat, N. J. Holbrook, P. J. Moore, M. S. Thomsen, T. Wernberg and D. A. Smale (2018). Categorizing and Naming Marine Heatwaves. Oceanography. 31(2):


Other publications

Aleynik D, Adams T, Davidson K, Dale A, Porter M, Black K, Burrows M (2018) Biophysical modeling of marine organisms: fundamentals and applications to management of coastal waters.  Environmental Management of Marine Ecosystems. Edited by Md. Nazrul Islam & Sven Erik Jorgensen CRC press ISBN 9781498767729  pp 65-98

Employment history

Since 2011: Professor in Marine Ecology; SAMS

2009 – 2013: Head Ecology Department; SAMS

1991 – 2009: Senior Researcher in Marine Ecology; SAMS

1986– 1990: Postdoctoral Researcher; University College of N Wales, Bangor


1995 – 1999 Ph.D. Marine Ecology: University of Manchester and The Marine Biological Association, Plymouth

Dissertation: The Comparative Biology of Chthamalus stellatus (Poli) and Chthamalus montagui Southward

1979– 1982: B.Sc. (Hons.) Marine Biology 1st Class. University of Liverpool

Wave fetch model description

Wave Fetch Model - Design and Use - November 2007 - updated April 2009

This document describes the design and use of the wave fetch model as implemented in Microsoft Visual Basic 6.

  • >Model Interface
  • >Basic model structure
  • >File formats: Comma-separated files
  • >File formats: ESRI ASCII raster file format
  • >Input format
  • >Output format
  • >Program Operation
  • >Example data
  • >Disclaimer and License
  • >Model Interface


The model has a graphical user interface as shown below, with a number of menu-driven commands and a display of the currently loaded coastline grid (right) with details of the dimensions and location of the grid (left).  A text box allows the user to input the maximum range (in grid cells) for searching for nearby land masses.

Wave Exposure Source Code

Once the grid data has been loaded into the model (mnuFileLoadMap_Click), the program identifies the coastal cells as those adjacent to the sea (GenerateCoast) and plots these as green squares on the map graphic.  The model grid is stored as a 2D array (HabitatMap(j&, i&)) with 0s for sea cells, 1 for land cells and 2 for coastal cells. Data for each individual coastal cell are stored as another array (CoastCell(k&, 20)) to hold grid coordinates, calculated wave fetch in different angular sectors, summed fetch and neighbourhood average fetch values.

Initiating the calculation of fetch for coastal cells (CalculateFetch) starts the model running.  Three scales of searching are repeated for each coastal cell.  If the cell searched is a land cell (checked using IsItCoast), then the distance to that cell is compared to the last recorded distance to the nearest land in that angular sector.  If this distance is closer than the last, this new distance becomes the distance to the nearest land. The screen grab above shows the model running.  Grey dots are plotted for each searched cell for one coastal cell in every  1000.

When complete, the wave fetch data can be saved as a comma-separated value file (*.csv or *.dat; mnuFileSaveFetch_Click) or as an ArcGIS ASCII raster file (*.asc; mnuFileSaveTGrid_Click). 

File formats: Comma-separated files

Comma-separated wave fetch files have a single header row with the names of 22 fields for each coastal cell. The first four specify cell ID and location, followed by fetch values for each sector, then two summary values.

Field Description 
Cell No Cell ID number 
OSEast X-coordinate of the coastal cell in original distance units
OSNorth Y-coordinate of the coastal cell in original distance units
Col Grid column
Row Grid row
d1-d16 Fetch values (see below) in multiples of the grid cell size
fetchsum Sum of the fetch values in d1-d16
f3avg Average of the summed fetch values for the cell and its immediate neighbours

Fetch values for each angular sector are given in grid cell units in fields d1-d16:

FetchSectorCmpassMean angle (o)fromto
d1 1 W 270 258.75 281.25 
d2 2 WNW 292.5 281.25 303.75
d3 3 NW 315 303.75 326.25 
d4 4 NNW 337.5 326.25 348.75
d5 5 N 0 348.75 11.25 
d6 6 NNE 22.5 11.25 33.75 
d7 7 NE 45 33.75 56.25 
d8 8 ENE 67.5 56.25 78.75 
d9 9 E 90 78.75 101.25
d10 10 ESE 112.5 101.25 123.75
d11 11 SE 135 123.75 146.25
d12 12 SSE 157.5 146.25 168.75
d13 13 S 180 168.75 191.25
d14 14 SSW 202.5 191.25 213.75
d15 15 SW 225 213.75 236.25
d16 16 WSW 247.5 236.25 258.75


File formats: ESRI ASCII raster file format

Full details of the ArcGIS ASCII raster file format are available from a large number of online sources (e.g. Wikipedia).

The first six lines of the file contain the specifications of the grid.  For example:

ncols 5508
nrows 7618
xllcorner -349500
yllcorner -253400
cellsize 200
NODATA_value -9999

ncols and nrows specify the number of rows and columns as integers

xllcorner and yllcorner are the x-and y-coordinates of the lower left corner of the grid, usually the easting and northing in metres.

cellsize is the length of one side of a grid cell

nodata_value is the value representing missing data

Data values follow these lines, either in rows with as many elements as there are columns in the grid, or as single values for each grid cell. 

Input format

The input file (see below) must have the above header rows as appropriate for the area of the coastal grid. The data must consist of 0s for all sea cells and 1s for all land cells.

Output format

For output, the model puts the summed fetch values in the file for all coastal cells.

Program Operation

Three steps are needed to generate wave fetch data using the model.


  • >Load the coastal grid file (*.asc)
  • >Select ‘File > Load Map’ then locate and select the file
  • >The file needs to be in ArcGIS ASCII raster format
  • >Successful completion of this step results in a plot of the map of grid area, with land shown in blue, coast in green and sea in grey


  • >Start the fetch calculations
  • >Select 'Calculate > Fetch'
  • >The calculation begins.  Progress can be seen on the left hand progress bar and in the progressive plotting of fetch values from south to north.


  • >Save the fetch data.  Select either  'File > Save Fetch Data as XYZ to File' or 'File > Save Fetch Data as &Grid' as required.


Example data

Two files are provided with the model:

  • >, 0.27Mb containing eu200msb.asc, 81.9Mb.  This input file has a 200m-scale coastal grid for the UK and near continent produced from the GSHHS digital coastline dataset projected on the British National Grid.
  • >F200mEUndiagNLL, 2.7Mb containing F200mEUndiagNLL.dat, 13.1Mb.  This comma-separated output file has the wave fetch data used in the paper.


Disclaimer and License

This software is offered without warranty under the terms and conditions of the GNU General Public License.