Dr Rebecca Scott

Post-doctoral researcher funded by "The Future Ocean Cluster of Excellence"

Research Division 3: Marine Ecology (FB3/EV)
Office Room: A 53, Phone: +49-431 600 4569, Fax: +49-431 600 4553

Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)
Düsternbrooker Weg 20
D-24105 Kiel



10/03-06/06   BSc: Ecology (University of East Anglia)

10/07-08/08   MSc: Biodiversity Conservation (University of Exeter in Cornwall)                                         Full fee MSc scholarship recieved from Exeter University 

10/09-02/13   NERC funded PhD: Spatial ecology of sea turtles (Swansea                                               University/National Oceanography Centre in Southampton)


Research Interests: The conservation of marine species (particularly migratory species) is my primary passion and interest. Consequently, my research focuses on the biological and physical determinants of the life histories and movement ecology of different life stages, populations and species of an enigmatic group of migrants; the sea turtles and the effectiveness of marine protected areas and current conservation policy for these highly mobile species.

For adult sea turtles, satellite tracking technology has been instrumental in detailing their regular to-and-fro migrations between their breeding and foraging grounds (which are typically several 100’s to 1000’s of km apart), whilst newly hatched turtles (hatchlings) can embark on transoceanic journeys (>10,000km) through dispersion with surface ocean currents. However, due to the small size of hatchlings they cannot be directly tracked at sea with large satellite telemetry devices hence their first few years of life are commonly referred to as the "lost years". Nevertheless, since hatchlings utilise ocean currents to disperse from predator rich coastal areas (near their natal beaches) to safer oceanic development habitats, Lagrangian analyses of ocean current flows can be used to study the cryptic juvenile life stages. A central theme of my research has thus been based on the analysis of (1) satellite tracking data to study the regular breeding migrations and habitat selections of adult sea turtles and (2) Lagrangian oceanography data from ocean circulation models to study the dispersal of hatchling sea turtles.

Here in Kiel, my research focuses on utilizing very recent innovations in the miniaturisation of bio-logging technology to actually track hatchling sea turtles combined with novel oceanic monitoring technology (I developed with engineers at GEOMAR) and ocean models to study their cryptic swimming aided dispersal. Through various global analyses and novel interdisciplinary research, my work has provided key new insights into sea turtle life histories which have broad applications for conservation planning. 

Postdoctoral Funding: 

Postdoctoral Fellowship funding from the Future Ocean Cluster of Excellence: €425,000 

Project start up funds from the Future Ocean Cluster of Excellence: €150,000 

Technology Seed Innovation Funding from GEOMAR: €20,000 


Jimena Gutiérrez graduated in 2015 with her thesis: "Marine debris presence in loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) from the Central Tyrrhenian Sea"

Lisa Kettemer graduated in 2016 with her thesis: "Dispersal and mortality of juvenile sea turtles: the role of temporal oceanic variation"

Lukas Wernicke graduated in 2017. Working with the TLZ and Fachhochshcule he produced some exciting new oceanic monitoring/turtle technology.  

Publications (and related media highlights): 

  • Scott, R., Biastoch, A., Agamboue, P.D., Bayer, T., Boussamba, F.L., Formia, A., Godley, B.J., Mabert, B.D.J., Manfoumbi, J.C., Schwarzkopf, F.U., Sounguet, G.-P., Wagner, P., Witt, M.J. 2017. Spatio-temporal variation in ocean current-driven hatchling dispersion: implications for the world's largest leatherback sea turtle nesting region. Diversity and Distributions. 23:604-614.
  • Schofield, G., Scott, R.,  Katselidis, K.A., Mazaris, A.D and Hays, G.C. 2015. Quantifying wildlife-watching ecotourism intensity on an endangered marine vertebrate. Animal Conservation. 18:517-528.
  • Walker, J.S., Jones, M.W., Laramee, R.S., Bidder, O.R., Williams, H.J., Scott, R., Shepard, E.L.C., Wilson, R.P . 2015. TimeClassifier - A Visual Analytic System for the Classification of Multi-Dimensional Time-Series Data. The Visual Computer. 31:1067-1078.
  • Scott R., Biastoch, A., Roder, C., Stiebens, V.A. and Eizaguirre, C., 2014. Nano-tags for neonates and ocean mediated swimming behaviours linked to rapid dispersal of hatchling sea turtles. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B.281:20141209. Science News, BBC News, New York Times Video, Weather Channel TV
  • Scott, R., Marsh, R. and Hays, G.C. 2014. Ontogeny of long distance migration. Ecology. 95:2840-2850. BBC News 
  • Scott, R., Marsh, R., Hays, G.C. 2014. Turtle Voyagers, Bulletin of the ESA. 95:257-262.
  • Scott, R. (2013) Found in Nemo: Sea turtle ocean highways tracked through satellite telemetry and the NEMO ocean model. Current Conservation. 6:18-22. 
  • Schofield, G. and Scott, R. et al. (2013) Evidence-based marine protected area planning for a highly mobile endangered marine vertebrate. Biological Conservation. 161:101-109. 
  • Hays, G.C. and Scott, R. (2013) ​Global patterns for upper ceilings on migration distance in sea turtles and comparisons with fish, birds and mammals. ​Functional Ecology. 27:748-756.
  • Scott, R. et al. (2012) Global analysis of satellite tracking data shows that adult green turtles are significantly aggregated in Marine Protected Areas. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 21:1053-1056. BBC UK
  • Scott, R., Marsh, R. and Hays, G.C. (2012) Life in the really slow lane: loggerhead sea turtles mature late relative to other reptiles. Functional Ecology. 26:227-235. BBC Nature
  • ​​Scott, R., Marsh, R. and Hays, G.C. (2012) A little movement oriented to the geomagnetic field makes a big difference in strong flows. Marine Biology. 159:481-488. 
  • Monzón-Argüello, C., Dell’Amico, F., Morinière, P., Marco, A.,  López-Jurado, L.F., Hays, G.C., Scott, R., Marsh, R. and P.L.M. Lee (2012) Lost at sea: genetic, oceanographic and meteorological evidence for storm-forced dispersal. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 9:1725-1732. 
  • ​Putman, N., Scott, R., Verley, P., Marsh, R. and Hays, G.C.(2012) Natal site and offshore swimming influence fitness and long-distance ocean transport in young sea turtles. Marine Biology. 159:2117-2126.
  • ​Brereton, T. , Wynn, R., MacLeod, C., Bannon, S., Scott, R., Waram, J., Lewis, K., Phillips, J., Martin, C. and Covey, R. (2010) Status of Balearic Shearwater, White-beaked Dolphin and other marine animals in Lyme Bay and surrounding waters. Natural England Report.