Tanya Riley

Post-graduate Marine Scientist content

Post-graduate Marine Scientist

Tanya recently joined the Marine Spatial Planning Team at UHI Shetland as a post-graduate Marine Scientist, having completed her MSci (Hons) in Marine Vertebrate Zoology from Bangor University in 2019. Her research has encompassed a diverse range of projects from habitat modelling of Eurasian Otters to benthic taxonomy and ascertaining the impact of rising carbon levels on sea urchin reproduction to assessing the use of high-energy tidal sites by Harbour Porpoises. Tanya also volunteered as a marine mammal medic for BDMLR, where she has rescued over 100 seals and assisted in the refloatation of numerous cetaceans ranging from Harbour Porpoises to Fin Whales.

Tanya Riley


Currently, her research primarily focuses on enhancing our understanding of habitats in Shetland (and beyond). Recognising the intricate web of interactions that define marine ecosystems, her studies aim to draw correlations between these habitats and various marine activities and users. A particular focus is placed on the realm of fisheries – a vital sector with multi-faceted interactions with marine habitats – and analysing the high encounter areas of fisheries with marine habitats. Tanya’s work encompasses both hands-on and analytical work. Conducting marine surveys, gathering data firsthand from the marine environment, providing a holistic view of the current state of these habitats. Furthermore, she leverages modelling techniques to predict potential habitat coverage to inform conservation.

In addition, Tanya is also currently invested in biotope coding the seabed surrounding Shetland. Utilising drop-down video footage, she is able to analyse and categorise the seabed into its diverse and intricate biotopes. This process not only shines a light on the current state of these biotopes but serves as an important repository of information for future research initiatives. She will also be working to identify key benthic habitats within the Fair Isle Demonstration and Research MPA.