Dr Alan Fox



After a first degree in mathematics at Newcastle University (1983-86) I did an MSc and PhD in physical oceanography at Bangor University. A brief diversion into marine consultancy work followed, then I returned to academia and spent 10 years conducting research on neste

d ocean models and ocean data assimilation at the Universities of Exeter, Edinburgh and Reading. A young family and other commitments then took me away from scientific research for a while.

11 years later an interest in marine conservation developed through voluntary work led me back into academic research via a Daphne Jackson Research Fellowship with J. Murray Roberts and David Corne at Heriot-Watt University, before moving with Murray Roberts’ group to my current post at Edinburgh University working on the ATLAS project.

Current Research Interests

My current research interests are Lagrangian particle tracking in ocean models and connectivity of deep-sea benthic ecosystems. My recent work focusses on using particle tracking models to predict the sensitivity of deep-sea ecosystem connectivity to species life-history traits and changing atmospheric conditions. I also work on optimal methods for incorporating connectivity information into the design of marine protected area networks.

I am currently working on the EU-funded ATLAS project.


Figures: These two plots show modelled dispersal (paler colours) from ATLAS Case Study release sites (darker colours). The only difference is the virtual larvae for the second plot, with much wider dispersal, spent 40 days at the surface before descending. All virtual larvae live for 6 months. Vertical positioning of drifting larvae is crucial for dispersal, and for connecting physically separate populations, but for deep sea species it is almost entirely unknown.

For a list of publications see Edinburgh Research Explorer

My flight shame

While I work trying to help understand deep sea ecosystems and part of that is about protecting them in the face of climate change, I’m not sure any of it is important enough to justify additional harm to the planet. So in an attempt to reduce my impact here is a record of my work flights since 2018, all flights are returns from Edinburgh:

2018: Lisbon, Mallorca, Montreal, Crete (about 5 tonnes CO2e)