Reagan Pearce

Reagan Pearce

Profile Display Name:

Reagan Pearce

E-mail Address:

Start Year

2020 (Cohort 7)

Research interests:

Aquatic science, freshwater ecology and ecosystems, habitat restoration, rewilding, Arduino, citizen science, novel monitoring techniques.

Hobbies and interests:

Hiking, camping, surfing, swimming, rugby, tennis, dodgeball, and reading.

PhD Project
PhD Title

Bringing back the burbot via hydrological rewildling

Research Theme

Environmental Hazards and Pollution

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution


CASE Partner

Norfolk Rivers Trust (NRT)

CASE Supervisor

Jonah Tosney

Additional supervisor(s)

Helene Burningham (UCL),
Gemma Harvey (QMUL),
Bernd Hänfling (University of Hull),


With a focus on how species reintroductions can be used as a conservation tool to improve ecological integrity alongside river restoration that focuses on improving the physical quality of riverine habitats. The examples used here will focus on the burbot (Lota lota) and the River Wissey, Norfolk. This project will also lay the groundwork for a future species reintroduction in the River Wissey, Norfolk, UK.

The burbot is a freshwater fish that requires good water quality and a mixture of slow flowing, deep water, backchannel, and floodplain habitat. These requirements have the potential to drive reach-scale restoration for the benefit of local aquatic biodiversity and ecosystem services, improving longitudinal and lateral habitat connectivity and habitat quality. The work will seek to establish baseline ecological, hydrological, hydro-chemical, and climatological data in order to launch a successful reintroduction scheme. The river hydrology will be studied using hydrological modelling to understand temporal and spatial variations in floodplain inundation, key to burbot spawning. Low-cost, opensource environmental sensors will be established in a local monitoring network for water level and temperature in order to understand the temporal and spatial variations in thermal regime, to validate the habitat’s suitability alongside historical data. Walkover surveys will also be used to map biotopes within the study area. The results will provide a comprehensive study of the potential reintroduction site, key for the success of a species reintroduction and to help prioritise future restoration activities.

Policy Impact
Background Reading
  • Worthington, T., Kemp, P., Osborne, P. E., Howes, C. and Easton, K. (2010). ‘Former distribution and decline of the burbot (Lota lota) in the UK’. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 20 (4), pp. 371–377. doi: 10.1002/aqc.1113.
  • Worthington, T., Kemp, P. S., Osborne, P. E., Dillen, A., Coeck, J., Bunzel-Drüke, M., Naura, M., Gregory, J. and Easton, K. (2012). ‘A spatial analytical approach for selecting reintroduction sites for burbot in English rivers’. Freshwater Biology, 57 (3), pp. 602–611. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2011.02712.x.
  • Worthington, T., Tisdale, J., Kemp, P., Williams, I. and Osborne, P. E. (2010). ‘Public and stakeholder attitudes to the reintroduction of the burbot, Lota lota’. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 17 (6), pp. 465–472. doi:
  • Collaborators

    Johan Auwerx (Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)) website:

    Grants and awards
    • Research Scholarship – The Anglo-Danish Society
    • Mead Travel Fund – UCL
    • Faculty Research and Impact Fund – King’s College London
    • Student Opportunity Fund – King’s College London
    • Travel Award – International Congress on Fish Biology
    • Small Grants Fund – King’s College London



    “Bringing Back the Burbot” Stop Motion Animation for Public Engagement. Contributors: Reagan Pearce

    News & Blogs

    Could the long-lost burbot return to our rivers?, Eastern Daily Press

    Conferences and Workshops
    • London NERC DTP Students For Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion
    • London NERC DTP Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Student Representative
    • The Rubbing Out Project
    DTP Activities

    Social Links
    University Departmental Website:
    Personal Website:



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