The environmental drivers influencing the movement networks and ecology of reef sharks in the British Indian Ocean Territory

Profile Display Name:

Michael J Williamson

E-mail Address:

Start Year

2017 (Cohort 4)

Research interests:
Hobbies and interests:
PhD Project
PhD Title

The environmental drivers influencing the movement networks and ecology of reef sharks in the British Indian Ocean Territory

Research Theme

Biodiversity and Ecology

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution



Marine predators play an important role in coral reef ecosystem functioning. As such, understanding how reef sharks utilise reef ecosystems is important for the conservation of both shark species and reefs themselves. Animal movement networks are a novel tool that can reveal important insight into ecological connectivity and wildlife behaviour. However, given climate change is predicted to cause increased fluctuations in environmental factors, integrating environmental data in analysis techniques, and investigating how environmental factors can influence the movement dynamics and spatial networks of species, is important for future shark conservation and management. Increasingly powerful remotely-sensed satellite data is available to researchers. However, despite this, there is currently little integration of environmental data into wildlife movement and social networks. This project will use extensive acoustic tracking data from grey reef and silvertip sharks over a five-year period from the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), and environmental data from satellite remote sensing to provide insights into how animal movement and social patterns are influenced by environmental change (for example, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation event during 2015-2016). This is valuable data for policy makers in order to aid management decisions for the conservation of highly mobile marine fauna.

Policy Impact
Background Reading
News & Blogs

Satellites used to protect endangered sharks, Satellite Remote Sensing in Shark and Ray Ecology, Conservation and Management

Training courses
  • PR Statistics Move02 Workshop, hosted by PR Statistics. March 2019
  • Movebank Workshop 2019, hosted by Movebank. May 2019
  • ESA Ocean Remote Sensing Workshop, hosted by European Space Agency. November 2019
Social Links
University Departmental Website:
Personal Website:



Stay informed

Click here to subscribe to our RSS newsletter by email.

Find Us

University College London is the administrative lead.

North-West Wing, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Follow us on Twitter