William Goodall-Copestake


  • Lecturer in Biological Oceanography, SAMS UHI
  • United Kingdom

Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Expertise

Will has a background in biotechnology and molecular ecology gained through a BSc in Agricultural Botany (University of Glasgow), PhD in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, University of Glasgow) and several research positions in Dutch, French and Scottish laboratories that involved the development and use of molecular markers. He subsequently gained experience in marine science during a 13-year period working for the British Antarctic Survey, and has been based at the Scottish Association for Marine Science since 2020 where he currently co-leads the Dynamic Coasts research area.

Research Interests

Will's research aims to support conservation efforts and technological innovations through an increased understanding of the diversity and interactions of species in the wild. His research primarily involves the use of genetic data, including environmental DNA, complemented by image data obtained through morpho-taxonomy and environmental surveys. Current areas of research activity concern the marine biodiversity of the Scottish Coast and the biodiversity of the Southern Ocean and South Atlantic.

Scottish Coast
  • 2022. PI on the project: Rapid on-site Harmful Algal Bloom monitoring for the European Aquaculture Industry. Funding: EU EIT Food Strategy.
  • 2022. Pilot studies exploring the use of Environmental DNA and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles to support Ecological Restoration activities at Loch Craignish and Loch Melfort with the support and collaboration of the Kilchoan Estate, Seawilding and PicSea Ltd.
  • 2020 to 2022. Partner for the project: Global Ocean Surveillance Network. Funding: MarRI-UK, PI Andrew Durrant (PicSea Ltd) with additional project partners from the Fort William Underwater Trials Center, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, University of Edinburgh and University of York.
Southern Ocean and South Atlantic
  • 2022 to 2025. Co-I on the project: Improving identification of fish bycatch in the Antarctic krill fishery. Funding: Darwin Plus Round 10, PI: Phil Hollyman (British Antarctic Survey) with additional project partners from Newcastle University, the Marine Resources Assessment Group and the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
  • 2022 to 2026. Antarctic fur seal diet PhD project - see below.
  • 2021 to 2025. Antarctic brittle star phylogeography PhD project - see below.

PhD Supervision

  • 2022 to 2026. Co-supervisor for University of Edinburgh student Katia Treviño Cuéllar. PhD thesis: Diet analysis of Antarctic fur seals to inform ecosystem-based management of South Georgia fisheries. Funder: NERC E4 DTP, Primary supervisor: Sílvia Pérez Espona.
  • 2021 to 2025. Primary supervisor for Scottish Association for Marine Science / University of Highlands and Islands student Chester Sands. PhD thesis: Elucidating the evolution and diversity of the Southern Ocean ophiuroids with reference to present day ecosystem management. Funder: British Antarctic Survey.
  • 2017 to 2022. Co-supervisor for University College London student Ekta Rayani - now a biochemical engineer at FabricNano. PhD thesis: Stabilisation of Low Temperature Biocatalysts for the Degradation of Plastic. Funder: EPSRC, Primary supervisor: Brenda Parker.
  • 2017 to 2021. Co-supervisor for University of Cambridge student Danielle Buss - now a marine historical ecologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. PhD thesis: Foraging ecology and population structuring of baleen whales in the western South Atlantic and eastern South Pacific. Funder NERC ESS DTP, Primary supervisor: Jen Jackson (British Antarctic Survey).
  • 2016 to 2021. Co-supervisor for University College London student Alexander Cotton - now a molecular biologist at Touchlight Genetics. PhD thesis: Nature inspired engineering: bioprospecting for novel psychrophilic enzymes from the Antarctic tunicate, Salpa thompsoni. Funder: EPSRC, Primary supervisor: Brenda Parker.
  • 2014 to 2018. Co-supervisor for University of Cambridge student George Foot - now Founder/co-CEO at Sixfold Bioscience. PhD thesis: Liverwort-Fungal Associations: Novel symbioses in Polar regions? Funder NERC ESS DTP, Primary supervisor: Kevin Newsham (British Antarctic Survey).

Teaching Expertise

  • From 2020. Module Leader and principal lecturer delivering the University of Highlands and Islands Marine Science degree module Fundamentals of Marine Biology to first year undergraduates. Nominated by students for the Most Inspiring Lecturer in the HISA Awards 2021 and for the Above and Beyond - Staff Award in the HISA Awards 2022.
  • 2018 to 2020. Guest lectures for Bio-Integrated Design MArch / MSc students for the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.
  • 2016. Guest lectures and tutorials for final year Applied Ecology undergraduates for the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge.
  • 2013 to 2014. Guest lectures for Animal Behaviour, Applications for Conservation MSc students for the Department of Life Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

External positions

Council Member

2018 → …


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