Dr Virginia Iorio

Dr Virginia Iorio
Dr Virginia Iorio
Dr Virginia Iorio

Research Fellow

Office Address
Lighthouse Field Station
Cromarty Campus
George Street
IV11 8YJ

View on Map

School of Biological Sciences


I have recently handed in my PhD thesis at the Lighthouse Field Station (University of Aberdeen)on the drivers of movement and foraging behaviour of marine top predators.

I am now a research assistant at the Lighthouse Field Station where I currently help in the Marine Mammal Monitoring Program. I am involved in many different research from passive acoustic, predators movement and applications of artificial intelligence to acoustic data. 

E_SDG goals_icons-individual-rgb-12.pngE_SDG goals_icons-individual-rgb-13.pngE_SDG goals_icons-individual-rgb-14.png


  • PhD Marine Biology 
    2022 - University of Aberdeen 

    PhD thesis title: "Drivers of marine top predator occurrence, movement and foraging behaviour".

  • BSc Marine Biology 
    2018 - University of Aberdeen 

External Memberships

  • British Ecological Society 
  • European Cetacean Society

Prizes and Awards

  • Best-speed talk at the Society Marine Mammalogy UK student chapter conference, Swansea, 2019
  • Mark Young Prize for service, University of Aberdeen, 2018
  • Gold STAR (Student Taking Active Roles) Award, University of Aberdeen, 2017
  • Zoology Travel Grant, University of Aberdeen, 2016

Research Overview

The Lighthouse Field Station research aims to study how natural and anthropogenic variation affects the behaviour, life history and vital rates of marine top predators.

My research interest focus in particular on the drivers of top predators movement and foraging behaviour, predator prey interactions and how might use this information to inform conservation measures.

Research Areas

Biological and Environmental Sciences

Research Specialisms

  • Acoustics
  • Ecology
  • Marine Sciences
  • Environmental Sciences

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

Moray Firth Marine Mammal Monitoring Programme [MMMP];  co-produced strategic research and monitoring programme to meet consent conditions for regional offshore wind developments.  

Ecology of marine predators: Investigating how factors such as memory and prey distribution influence predators movement and foraging behaviour. 

Harbour seal ecology: Investigating temporal changes and factors influencing harbour seal distribution in the Moray Firth (Scotland).

Artificial intelligence and acoustic data: projects to develop a automatic detectors of bottlenose dolphin and minke whale vocalizations based on deep-learning techniques.

Past Research

During my PhD I investigated the drivers of marine predators occurrence, movement and foraging behaviour. I have used a wide array of techniques, such as passive acoustic monitoring to study bottlenose dolphin behaviour, and telemetry data to study the movement and infer the foraging behaviour of harbour seals.


Moray Firth Marine Mammal Monitoring Programme [MMMP]: involves collaboration with the University of St Andrews Sea Mammal Research Unit and CEFAS.

Dolphin-SPOT and Minke-SPOT: collaborative project involving SAMS (Scotland), NOAA (USA) and Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW, Germany).


Page 1 of 1 Results 1 to 2 of 2