Marine Scotland Science: directory

Details of specialists working for Marine Scotland Science.

This document is part of a collection

Dr Sue O’Brien 

Renewables And Energy Programme
Renewable Energy Environmental Advice Group 
Renewables Science Project Leader

E-mail: Sue.O'

Marine Scotland Science, Marine Laboratory, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen, AB11 9DB, UK

Details of specialism

I have a long-standing interest in identifying and delivering high quality applied science to answer real world problems relating to marine birds and the wider marine environment. My particular interest lies in marine renewables, using collaborative approaches to obtain evidence to better understand the effects of offshore wind development on the marine environment.

Within the broad topic area my particular focuses currently include:

  • identifying key evidence needs for policy and licensing relating to environmental effects of marine renewables development
  • facilitating delivery of collaborative research projects to fill key evidence needs
  • building strong effective networks across the marine renewables sector

Main policy links

  • marine renewables licencing
  • marine planning (science advice)

Papers of relevance

Duckworth J, O’Brien S, Väisänen R, Lehikoinen P, Petersen IK, Daunt F and Green JA (2020) First biologging record of a foraging Red-Throated Loon Gavia stellata shows shallow and efficient diving in freshwater environments. Marine Ornithology 48, 17-22.

Thaxter C, Buchanan G, Carr J, Butchart S, Newbold T, Green R, Tobias J, Foden W, O'Brien SH and Pearce-Higgins J (2017) Bird and bat species’ global vulnerability to collision mortality with wind farms revealed through a trait-based assessment. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284, 20170829.

O’Brien SH, Cook ASCP and Robinson RA (2017) Implicit assumptions underlying simple harvest models of marine bird populations can mislead environmental management decisions.  Journal of Environmental Management 201, 163-171.

Horswill C, O'Brien SH and Robinson RA (2017) Density dependence and marine bird populations: are wind farm assessments precautionary? Journal of Applied Ecology 54, 1406-1414. 

O’Brien SH, Webb A, Brewer MJ and Reid JB (2012) Use of kernel density estimation and maximum curvature to set Marine Protected Area boundaries: Identifying a Special Protection Area for wintering red-throated divers in the UK. Biological Conservation 156, 15–21.



Marine Scotland Science
Scottish Government
Marine Laboratory
PO Box 101
375 Victoria Road
AB11 9DB


+44 (0)131 244 2500


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