Research PG

Email Address
Office Address

National Decommissioning Centre 

Main Street



Aberdeenshire AB41 9AR

School of Biological Sciences


Edward Sibley holds a Masters in Ecological & Enivronmental Research (Distinction) and BSc Biology (First) from the University of Sheffield.

As a student on the National Decommissioning Centre (NDC)-Chevron anchor partnership, Edward's PhD combines high-frequency acoustic instruments known as Imaging Sonars with optical methods to study reef fish communities, particularly those on tropical oil and gas structures.

Edward is applying his experience studying tropical coral reef fish communities to the oil and gas industry, with a focus on developing monitoring methods that can ultimately inform management of tropical oil and gas structures and their associated fish assemblages. Based at the NDC, Edward is focusing his research efforts on Chevron's oil and gas assets in several regions, including Angola, Thailand and Australia, as well as developing novel, sonar-based approaches to quantify reef fishes.  


  • MRes Ecological and Environmental Research 
    2019 - University of Sheffield 
  • BSc Biology 
    2018 - University of Sheffield 

Research Overview

The Ecology and Distribution of Fishes on Tropical Oil and Gas Structures

Current Research

The offshore expansion of the oil and gas industry has resulted in the installation of thousands of artificial structures across the oceans. In tropical regions, these Oil and Gas Structures (OGSs) coincide with some of the most biodiverse habitats on Earth, most notably coral reefs. Despite occupying a far smaller area than coral reefs, OGSs provide complex artificial habitat for reef fishes, utilised for refuge, foraging and reproduction. Consequently, tropical OGSs house highly diverse fish communities, leading to debate as to the ecological impact of removing structures upon reaching the end of their operational lives. Alternatives to removal, including leaving OGSs intact, are widely advocated. However, a greater understanding of how fishes utilise OGSs is needed before deciding the fate of obsolete structures. To that end, Edward's PhD aims to resolve several prominent questions regarding OGS fish communities, including:


  • How are OGS fish communities distributed across vertical and horizontal distances?
  • How do fishes utilise the physical structure of OGSs?
  • What monitoring methods are most appropriate for studying OGS fish communities? 


By furthering our understanding of these topics, Edward hopes to shed light on the value of OGSs to tropical fish communities, at a time when the future sanctity and stability of tropical marine ecosystems are uncertain.  




Professor Paul Fernandes

Dr. Alethea Madgett