Simon Dedman

SD with tope PhD Candidate

PhD Project Title: Defining maximum sustainable yield for data poor fisheries: the case of the elasmobranch fisheries in the Irish Sea
Supervisors: Dr Rick Officer & Dr Deirdre Brophy (GMIT), Dr Maurice Clarke & Dr Dave Reid (MI)

My research focus is elasmobranch (shark, skate & ray) conservation, particularly through spatial management involving complex modelling. My specific subjects are four species of ray (cuckoo, thornback, blonde & spotted) in the Irish sea, where they are heavily fished but just about able to support a small fishery. The aim of my research is to use delta log-normal Boosted Regression Tree modelling to relate patchy ray abundance data from surveys, to environmental data (depth, temperature, current speed, etc) and human and natural mortality sources, resulting in predicted maps of abundance for areas we haven’t surveyed. This tool I am developing will be able to be used by fisheries managers to predict abundance hotspots either for species or selections of species e.g. breeding-age females, or to find nursery areas, with a view to protecting them with (e.g.) Marine Protected Areas.

BSc (Hons) Marine Biology & Oceanography, University of Southampton, UK, 2000-2004.
Dissertation title: Elasmobranches of the East Solent
Supervisor: Dr Ken Collins

MRes Marine & Fisheries Science, University of Aberdeen, UK, 2005-2006
Dissertation Title: Preferenda and thermal event response in the juvenile lemon shark Negaprion brevirostris in Bimini, Bahamas
Supervisors: Dr Les Noble & Dr Samuel Gruber

Professional Memberships
American Elasmobranch Society
European Elasmobranch Association
Shark Trust UK

Conference Participation
ICES, 2005 (Aberdeen), 2012 (Bergen)
European Marine Biology Symposium, 2013 (Galway)
European Elasmobranch Association, 2004 (London), 2013 (Plymouth)
American Elasmobranch Association, 2015 (Reno)
Fishmap Wales, 2013 (Anglesey)

Personal Sea Survival Techniques (PST) Certificate
First Aid at work training (multiple); PADI Rescue Diver
RYA National Powerboat Level 2 Certificate
Full UK Driving Licence
PADI Divemaster

Research Interests
I have been interested in elasmobranchs from a very young age, and first narrowed my interest to behaviour, movement and habitat use (bachelors and masters projects) before transitioning to fisheries management and conservation (masters and MMO job), then combining the two (using spatial management to conserve through fisheries management) for my PhD. I am personally interested in statistical modelling, and increasingly developing my programming skills to build the spatial modelling program used throughout my PhD. My role as Quota Manager for the UK’s Marine Management Organisation taught me a deep appreciation of engagement with the fishing industry and other stakeholders, and I intend to incorporate in the latter stages of the development of my model.

Research Experience
5 months boat handling, acoustic deployment & tracking sharks, suture pinger surgery on sharks, spatial statistical analysis & mappping, for MRes, in Bimini, Bahamas.
2 months catch & release shark fishing, weighing, measuring, sexing, parasite sampling, and tagging, with UK Shark Tag Project, for Bachelors, off Portsmouth, UK.
Two-week field course including ADCP and CTD measurements, bathymetric mapping using side-scan sonar, sediment sampling with Van Veen grab, depth, current and thermal profiling, sediment transport assessment, and chlorophyll and plankton sampling and identification, in Plymouth, UK.

Selected Publications
Dedman, S., Officer, R., Brophy, D., Clarke, M., and Reid, D. (2015). Modelling abundance hotspots for data-poor Irish Sea rays. Ecological Modelling 312 (2015) 77–90

Presentations: Spatial management of data-poor elasmobranchs using Boosted Regression Tree modelling (download). American Elasmobranch Society annual conference, Reno, Nevada, 2015.

Poster Presentations: Mapping to Manage: Spatial Proxies of MSY. European Elasmobranch Association conference, Plymouth, UK, 2013.

Invited Lecture: Guest Speaker on GMIT Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology Seminar Series 2013. “Defining maximum sustainable yield for data poor fisheries: the case of the elasmobranch fisheries in the Irish Sea”.

Presentation to visiting schools: Introduction to Elasmobranchs:

Work Experience:
10/2009 – 08/2012: Marine Management Organisation – International Quota Manager: Responsible for managing the UK’s fishing quota, analysing fisheries data e.g. catch patterns and logbooks, understanding and predicting the behaviour of fishermen, opening and closing fisheries, trading with international counterparts, setting, influencing and enforcing management plans and policies, interpreting and disseminating fisheries science updates (e.g. different gear and catch management trials, updated stock assessments), and constantly collaborating with colleagues in the statistics, enforcement, IUU and licensing teams.

10/2006 – 10/2009: National Institute for Health Research – Programme Manager responsible for three research funding programmes with a multi-million pound total budget, with hundreds of applicants and an advanced online application and processing system which I had a large hand in designing and improving. Required regular liaison with the very top members of the field of medical research in government and in academia, inspection visits to funded individuals and organisations, and answering parliamentary questions. I was appointed IT Security manager, and spearheaded development and deployment of a technological infrastructure that should revolutionise the way UK medical academia works.

Contact Details
Email: simon.dedman [at]
Telephone number(s): +353 (0) 85 789 7699
Postal Address: MFRC, GMIT, Dublin Road Campus, Galway, Ireland

Related Links
My homepage with links to papers, supplementary material from papers, modelling code, biography, bachelors & masters dissertations, presentations and posters.
European Elasmobranch Association
American Elasmobranch Society
Shark Trust


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