Professor Beth Scott
Professor Beth Scott

Professor Beth Scott

BSc, MSc, PhD

Personal Chair


Room 412 Zoology School of Biological Sciences University of Aberdeen Tillydrone Ave Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships
  • Centre for Energy Transition, Renewable Generation Champion
  • Mentoring Coordinator SBS 2016- Present
  • Athena Swan SBS committee -2016-present
  • PAST
  • Marine Research Collaboration Forum (MarCRF) Chairperson 2012-2016
  • Member for Management Group of Environmental Food Security Theme 2012-2016
  • Member of the Steering Group of the Energy Theme 2012-2016
  • Senatus Academicus - Elected Member Sept 2013-2015
  • Athena Swan College working group 2012-2014
External Memberships



Research Overview

I conduct multi-disciplinary research using my expertise in marine ecology, oceanography and fisheries sciences. My research identifies general rules in bio-physical oceanographic processes that lead to the creation of hotspots of predator-prey activity. Specifically, my research group defines biological and physical variables that provide the limited, patchy locations and conditions where trophic energy is transferred across trophic levels in marine food webs.

My research team using approaches ranging from the collection and use of fine scale (second by second) information throughout the water column from  as well as the analysis of large scale (100s or km) long term data sets on spatial population dynamics.  Both scales of information are used within simulation modelling methods which are agent based.

Current Research

MSCA-RIBES: RIver flow regulation, fish BEhaviour and Status (EU 2020-23) European Training Network (ETN) training 15 ESRs in the interdisciplinary field of Ecohydraulics to find innovative solutions for freshwater fish protection and river continuity restoration in anthropogenically (especially renewable extreaction) altered rivers. 

EPSRC  Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy  (ORE) Hub. Co-Director (2018-22) Environmental Champion



Current PhDs 

C2P3: Climate Change and Predator-Prey Populations. SUPER, NERC DTP (2020-2024)

SMEBA: Sustainable Marine Ecosystems and Offshore Energy: A Bayesian Modelling Approach. BEIS / HartleyAnderson (2019-2023)

PPCC: Modelling primary production in Scottish waters and the impact of large scale marine renewables and climate change. MASTS, MSS (2018-2022)DEPTH: Determining the ecology and physics of tidal stream habitats. EMEC, SAMS/UHI, MSS (2017-2021)

INDI-POP: Individuals to populations: The potential effects of large tidal arrays on mobile marine populations  (Open NERC CASE 2017-21)

Completed Projects

VertIBase - Supporting evidence-based decision-making on marine vertebrate interactions with wave and tidal energy. NERC KE (2016-18)  Aim: To synthesise, translate and embed the latest knowledge and understanding on marine vertebrate interactions with wave and tidal energy devices and developments to improve evidence-based decision-making, thus reducing risks to technology and site developers, investors, regulators and stakeholders.

Marine Growth Analysis on Decommissioning Offshore Installations: NERC Oil & Gas Decommissioning Innovation. (2016-17) This project is a scoping/proof of concept study and aims to use the method developed by the CoralNet project and applying it to survey footage from offshore platforms on the UKCS.  The aim of the project is to train the software to identify the main marine growth species on UKCS platforms and to calculate their percentage cover. 

CORPORATES: NERC Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) 2014-16  Cooperative Participatory Evaluation of Renewable Technologies on Ecosystem services with SAMS, MSS and JHI. See web site at CENTRAL AIM:  To exchange knowledge between the Marine Renewable Energy Industry (MREI), academic ecosystem service experts, and the planning and regulatory functions of Government co-developing a Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) decision-support system to better incorporate ES knowledge and values into business decisions.  See highlights presented at ICES Annual Conference at MSS/MarCRF Blog

Knowledge Transfer Partnership with MeyGen (2015-17)The KTP will apply the knowledge, techniques and expertise for environmental monitoring around tidal turbines to the MeyGen project. Data gathered will support achieving consent for future phases of the project. The key deliverable will be an environmental monitoring strategy comprising:• instrument selection based on FLOWBEC datasets and similar research• development of analysis software including target tracking algorithms and data interpretation• investigation of instrument translation i.e. whether ground truthing and algorithm development will allow the eventual use of a reduced cost instrument suite• development of a survey design and monitoring schedule.  

EcoWATT 2050 EPSRC (2014-2017) Impacts of Very Large Scale Arrays and their Regulation

ecowatttEcoWatt2050 seeks to provide the underpinning science for the strategic policy development and planning being undertaken by the regulatory authorities for marine renewable energy. The overarching objective is to determine ways in which marine spatial planning and policy can enable the maximum sustainable level of marine energy extraction, minimizing environmental impacts and ensuring that these meet the requirements of European law. It builds on an existing EPSRC project (TeraWatt), extending its outputs considerably to very large scale array deployments and mixes of technologies in order to determine the limits to energy extraction, and the criteria necessary to satisfy European and UK law.

 FORSITE: Modelling FORaging STrategies in high energy Environments. OPEN CASE NERC PhD studentship with CASE partners Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Marine Scotland Science (MSS)

FLOWBEC NERC (2011-2014) FLOw, Water column & Benthic ECcology 4D

flowbecConsortium project with NOC Liverpool, U. Bath, U. Edinburgh, U. Plymouth, Queens U. Belfast, U. Aberdeen, U. Exeter and PML. Using developments in high resolution physical modelling and state of the art observation systems, we aim to identify the physical conditions influencing the behaviour of fish and their predators and also benthic communities by concurrently measuring hydrodynamics and biology at 3 different wet MRE test sites, EMEC, WaveHub and Strangford Narrows.


RESPONSE NERC (2011-2014) Understanding How Marine Renewable Device Operations Influences Fine Scale Habitat Use And Behaviour Of Marine Vertebrates

responseConsortium project with SMRU, SAMS, Loughborough U., U. Aberdeen, U. Edinburgh and Cranfield U. Do marine renewables pose a real risk to marine wildlife? This project is a multi-disciplinary, multi-taxa study focussing on causal links between renewables and changes in the fine-scale distribution and behaviour of marine vertebrates. This will allow us to identify and quantify actual risk of negative consequences and therefore remove one key layer of uncertainty in the scale of risk to the industry.


CMARHAB NERC (2008-2010): Critical Marine Habitat

Share the adventure of at-sea research on the James Cook see blogImages from CMarHab

NERC funded project lead by University of Aberdeen with Proudman Oceanographic Laboratories , MSS, CEFAS and JNCC as well the Marine Resource Assessment Group and the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation. The success of the Ecosystem Approach, the sustainable use of fishing areas and the delineation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) all require a fundamental understanding of the mechanistic links between oceanographic properties, fish, top predators and fisheries activities. This requires multi-disciplinary, multi-trophic research to define critical marine habitats where multiple species of predators (including fishermen) are most likely to forage for their prey. This project tests two hypotheses concerning the underlying mechanistic forcing that may be occurring in newly identified areas with disproportionately high abundances of top predators (seabirds, marine mammals and fishing activity) and high levels of sub-surface chlorophyll. To test these hypotheses we have used a unique survey framework which can provide the synoptic measurement of many components of the ecosystem.



Funding and Grants

  • 2022-25 PELAgIO: Physics-to-Ecosystem Level Assessment of Impacts of Offshore Windfarms (NERC, TCE, Defra)
  • 2022-24 EcoNex: Physics-to-Ecosystem Level Assessment of Impacts of Offshore Windfarms (UKERC)
  • 2021-24 PREDICT: Predicting seasonal movement of marine top predators using fish migration routes and autonomous platforms. Ørsted
  • 2018-22 ORE SuperGen HUB:  Offshore Renewable Energy SuperGen Hub. (EPSRC)
  • 2019-23 SMEBA: Sustainable Marine Ecosystems and Offshore Energy: A Bayesian Modelling Approach. BEIS / HartleyAnderson
  • 2018-22 PPCC: Modelling primary production in Scottish waters and the impact of large scale marine renewables and climate change. MASTS, MSS 
  • 2017-21 INDI-POP: Individuals to populations: The potential effects of large tidal arrays on mobile marine populations  (Open NERC CASE)
  • 2017-21 DEPTH: Determining the ecology and physics of tidal stream habitats. EMEC, SAMS/UHI, MSS 
  • 2016-18 Environmental Studies of the MeyGen Tidal Turbine Array:  HartleyAnderson Contract 
  • 2016-18 VertIBase  NERC KE - Supporting evidence-based decision-making on marine vertebrate interactions with wave and tidal energy.
  • 2016-17 Marine Growth Analysis on Decommissioning Offshore Installations. NERC
  • 2015-17 Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP - TSB) with MeyGen
  • 2015 NERC Marine Renewable Energy KE Internship for Benjamin Williamson.
  • 2014-16  NERC Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) grant entitled Cooperative Participatory Evaluation of Renewable Technologies on Ecosystem services (CORPORATES) with SAMS, MSS and JHI.
  • 2014-17 EcoWatt 2050 EPSRC Consortium of Universities of Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh, UHI, Strathclyde, Swansea, St Andrews, NERC and MSS
  • 2014-15 Tansley Workshop: Planet Earth-Planet Ocean,  Work of John Steele, joint with Tom Webb
  • 2013-17 NERC CASE PhD Modelling Foraging Strategies in High Energy Environments (FORSITE) CASE partner is Marine Scotland Science.
  • 2011-14 NERC Marine Renewables, Flow, Water Column and Benthic Ecology 4D (FLOWBEC).  Consortium grant  with NOC Liverpool, Uni. Bath, Uni. Edinburgh, Uni. Plymouth & PML, Uni. Exeter and Queens Uni. Belfast.
  • 2011-14 NERC Marine Renewables, Understanding how Marine Renewable device operation influences habitat use and behaviour of Marine Vertebrates (RESPONSE). Consortium grant with  SMRU, Uni. St Andrews, Uni. Loughborough, Uni. Edinburgh, Uni. Cranfield.
  • 2008-14 Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) 'Potential Ecological Impact of a Small Scale Tidal Renewable Device on the Isle of May'.
  • 2008-10  NERC Sustainable Marine Bio-Resources (SMB) Grant 'Do oceanographic characteristics and predator-prey behaviours define critical marine habitats?'  (CMarHab).  
  • 2007-08 Scottish Executive & FRS Grant 'Impact of temperature on overwinter condition and reproductive potential of sandeel'
  • 2005-06 SHEFC Knowledge Transfer Grant 'Sensitivity of ecosystems to tidal renewable energy extraction'

Teaching Responsibilities

LEVEL 5  (MSc/MRes)

Programme Coordinator MSc/MRes in Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology (AMFE): Concepts and Practices for Ecosystem-based Managementfrom 2008-2014

Course Coordinator for 2 of following courses within MSc/MRes AMFE: 

  • ZO5012 Marine and Fisheries Ecology, Conservation and Management
  • ZO5518 Marine Spatial Management 

LEVEL 5 Post-Grad Lecturing in:

  • Z05304 Population Ecology
  • EV551 Spatial Information Analysis

LEVEL 2-4 Undergraduate Lecturing in:

  • SBS Honours Essays and Projects
  • BI25Z2 Ocean Biology
  • Z03305 Animal Population Ecology