Cormac Booth

Carol Sparling

Technical Director (Europe)


Lead scientist and project manager for multiple projects involving the quantification, assessment and interpretation of the effects of marine activities on marine mammals. Provide specialist technical input into EIAs, mainly in the marine and offshore renewable sectors and provide data and expert advice for monitoring and mitigation studies relating to impacts on marine mammals.

Degrees and Education

  • 2003 University of St Andrews PhD Marine Mammal Science. The causes and consequences of variation in energy expenditure of grey seals.
  • 1996 University of Aberdeen BSc (Hons) Zoology (Marine Biology) First Class.


15 years’ experience as marine mammal scientist and 7 years of experience in applied science consultancy working with both industry and government clients. A wide range of practical, analytical and management skills developed through involvement with numerous projects. Technical lead on numerous projects considering the impact of renewable energy developments on marine mammals.

  • Marine mammal EIA and technical advisor for several offshore wind developments in UK waters, e.g. Seagreen Firth of Forth Round Three site, Inch Cape offshore wind farm, Neart na Goithe offshore wind farm; Triton Knoll R2 Offshore wind farm; Navitus Bay offshore wind farm and specialist technical advice and cumulative impact assessment services to the Forth and Tay Offshore Wind Developers Group.
  • Project manager and technical lead for marine mammal monitoring for Marine Current Turbine’s (MCT) SeaGen tidal turbine projects at Strangford Lough and The Anglesey Skerries Array. Developing novel, robust approaches for monitoring marine mammals around renewable energy devices. Expert marine mammal specialist on associated Science groups for these two projects (group includes Regulator, developer and independent expert scientists and is designed to progress post consent environmental monitoring and mitigation and deal with the discharge of licence conditions).
  • Analysis of marine mammal baseline survey data for Scottish Power Renewables Sound of Islay Project.Lead scientific advisor to Tidal Energy Ltd. Developing robust, proportionate and appropriate mitigation and monitoring programme for marine mammals in relation to the DeltaStream Demonstrator Project in Ramsey Sound, Pembrokeshire. This involves working very closely with the developer, the Marine Consent Unit of the Welsh Government and their Statutory Nature Advisers (CCW) to ensure that the monitoring meets the requirements of the consent conditions.
  • Member of Scottish Renewables Marine Work Group.
  • Lead scientist on government guidance projects: SNH Wet renewable monitoring guidance for seals 2011; DEFRA/MMO funded review of monitoring of Post Consent Monitoring for marine mammals at offshore wind farms.
  • Lead marine mammal expert on Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Project 4, Phase 1: Use of Deterrent Devices and Improvements to Standard Mitigation during Piling for Offshore wind farm development.


  • Lonergan, M.L.,Sparling, C.E. & McConnell, B.J. (in prep) Behavioural changes among harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) around an operational tidal turbine. Planning to submit to International Journal of Marine Science.
  • Plunkett, R & Sparling, CE.Dounreay Trì Floating Wind Marine Mammal Environmental Statement. Report Number: SMRUC-HID-2016-003. Submitted To Hi-Def Aerial Surveying Limited, March 2016.
  • Sparling, C, E.& Plunkett, R. 2016. Appendix A To The Hornsea Project 1 MMMP: PTS Risk Assessment For Minke Whale And White-Beaked Dolphin. Report Number SMRUC-GOB-2016-002. February 2016.


  • Plunkett, R; Booth, CG. & Sparling, CE.(2015). Tidal Lagoon West Cumbria: Review Of Marine Mammal Baseline Information. SMRUC-TLP-2015-009, Submitted To Tidal Lagoon Power, December 2015 (Unpublished).
  • Plunkett, R., Booth, C., & Sparling, C. Tidal Lagoon West Cumbria: Recommendations For Marine Mammal Monitoring. SMRUC-TLP-2015-023, Submitted To Tidal Lagoon Power, December 2015 (Unpublished).
  • Sparling, C.,Plunkett, R., Gordon, J. & Gotz, T. (2015). The Use Of Acoustic Deterrents For The Mitigation Of Injury To Marine Mammals During Pile Driving For Offshore Wind Farm Construction: Review And Gap Analysis. SMRUC-TCT-2015-006, Submitted To The Carbon Trust, June August 2015 (Unpublished).
  • Booth, C.G., Sparling, C.E., Plunkett, R., Scott-Hayward, L. & Rexstad, E. Collision Risk Simulation Modelling: Marine Mammals And Deep Green Device At Holyhead Deep. Report Number SMRUM-MIN-2015-005 provided To Minesto UK Ltd, March 2015 (Unpublished).


  • Plunkett, R, Sparling, C. & Kidney, D. Anglesey Skerries Marine Mammal Monitoring: Land Based Vantage Point Survey trial. Report Number SMRUM-MCT-2014-012 Provided To MCT, November, 2014 (Unpublished).


  • Sparling C.E., Coram, A.J., McConnell, B., Thompson, D., Hawkins, K. and Northridge, S.P. (2013). Wave and Tidal consenting Position paper Series: Marine Mammal Impacts. Renewable UK, Scottish Renewables and Natural Environment Research Council publication.
  • Hershel, A., Stephenson, S., Sparling, C., Sams, C. and Monnington, J. (2013) Use of Deterrent Devices and Improvements to Standard Mitigation during Piling. Joint Xodus and SMRU Marine Report to the Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP).
  • Verfuß, U., Sparling, C., Arnot., C., Judd, A. and Coyle, M. (2013) Review of offshore wind farm impact monitoring and noise mitigation measures with regards to marine mammals Invited talk at the StUKplus Conference: Five Years of Ecological research at alpha ventus– Challenges, Results and Perspectives. 30-31 October 2013, Berlin.


  • Keenan G.,Sparling, C., Williams, H. and Fortune, 2012. Final Report of the SeaGen Environmental Monitoring Programme for Marine Current Turbines.
  • EIMR presentation – invited speaker at International Conference on the Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables Conference, Orkney, May 2012.
  • All Energy, Aberdeen, May 2012 Organised and led a workshop on the environmental impacts of the world’s first commercial tidal turbine (Marine Current Turbines’ SeaGen device in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland).


  • Sparling et al (2011) Monitoring marine mammals around the world’s first commercial tidal turbine: 3 years post installation. Poster at Society for Marine Mammalogy Biennial Conference, Tampa, Florida, USA.
  • Sparling, C., Grellier, K., Philpott, E., Macleod, K., and Wilson, J. (2011). Guidance on survey and monitoring in relation to marine renewables deployments in Scotland. Volume 3. Seals. Report to Scottish Natural Heritage and Marine Scotland.
  • Faustino, C.E.S., McConnell, B.J., Duck, C.D., Grellier, K &Sparling, C.E. (2011) Bio-logging science into management policy. Presentation to the Fourth International Science Symposium on Biologging. Hobart, Tasmania.
  • McConnell, B.J., Lonergan, M.E. &Sparling C.E. (2011) Fine scale interactions between harbour seals and operating tidal turbines. Presentation to the Fourth International Science Symposium on Biologging. Hobart Tasmania.


  • Iverson, S.J., Sparling, C.E., Williams, T.E., Lang, S.L.C. and Bowen, D.W. (2010) Measurement of Individual and Population Energetics of Marine Mammals. In Marine Mammal Ecology and Conservation: A Handbook of Techniques. Boyd, I.L., Bowen, W.D., & Iverson, S.J. (Eds).


  • Sparling C. E., D. Thompson, M. A. Fedak, S. L. Gallon, J. R. Speakman . (2008) Estimating field metabolic rates of pinnipeds: doubly labelled water gets the seal of approval. Functional Ecology, Volume 22, Issue 2, Pages: 245-254
  • Sparling C.E.,Fedak MA, Thompson D. (2007) Eat now, pay later? Evidence of deferred food-processing costs in diving seals. Biology Letters 2007 Feb 22;3(1):94-8.
  • Sparling, C.E., Georges J.Y., Gallon S.L., Fedak M.A. & Thompson D. (2007) How long does a dive last? Foraging decisions by breath-hold divers in a patchy environment: a test of a simple model. Animal Behaviour. 74:207-218.
  • Hooker, S.K., Biuw, M., McConnell, B.J., Miller, P.J.O. & Sparling, C.E.(2007) Biologging Science: Logging and relaying physical and biological data using animal attached tags. Deep Sea Research II 54:177-182
  • Gallon S.L., Sparling C.E., Georges J.Y., Fedak M.A., Biuw M., Thompson D. (2007) How fast does a seal swim? Variations in swimming behaviour under differing foraging conditions. Journal of Experimental Biology. 210(18):3285-94.
  • Sparling, C.E.,Speakman, J.R. & Fedak M.A. (2006) Seasonal variation in the metabolic rate and body composition of female grey seals: fat conservation prior to high-cost reproduction in a capital breeder? Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 176(6)505-512
  • Sparling C.E. & Fedak M.A. (2004). The metabolic rate of captive grey seals during voluntary diving. Journal of Experimental Biology. 207 1615-1624
  • Sparling C.E. & Smout, S.C. (2003) Population energy budget for UK North Sea grey seals. SCOS Briefing paper 03/09.

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