Cormac Booth

Carol Sparling

Technical Director (Europe)


Leads a team of scientists working on a large range of projects involving the quantification, assessment and interpretation of the potential effects of marine activities on marine mammals. Provides specialist technical input into EIAs, mainly in the marine and offshore renewable energy sectors and provides data and expert advice for monitoring and mitigation studies relating to impacts on marine mammals. Provides specialist expert support to the Scottish Government and UK Statutory Nature Conservation Agencies.

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.


21 years’ experience in marine mammal science and 9 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. Hornsea One, Hornsea Two, Hornsea Three, Hornsea Four, Thanet Extension, Moray West, Seagreen Firth of Forth Round Three site, Inch Cape offshore wind farm, Neart na Gaoithe 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.
  • Seconded to the Scottish Government one day per week to provide senior level marine mammal expertise and support.
  • Lead Scientist on Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Project: Use of Deterrent Devices and Improvements to Standard Mitigation during Piling for Offshore wind farm development
  • 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.
  • Project manager for marine mammal monitoring for the world’s first commercial tidal turbine in Strangford Lough and the world’s first tidal array at MeyGen. Developing novel, robust approaches for monitoring marine mammals around renewable energy devices.
  • Development of guidance on survey for marine energy sites for Natural Resources Wales

Malinka, C.E., Gillespie, D.M., Macaulay, J.D., Joy, R. and Sparling, C.E. (2018). First in situ passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals during operation of a tidal turbine in Ramsey Sound, Wales. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 590, pp.247-266.

Sparling, C., Lonergan, M. and McConnell, B. (2018). Harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) around an operational tidal turbine in Strangford Narrows: No barrier effect but small changes in transit behaviour. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 28(1), pp.194-204.

Sparling, C., Gillespie, D., Hastie, G., Gordon, J., Macaulay, J., Malinka, C., Wu, M. and McConnell, B. (2016). Scottish Government Demonstration Strategy: Trialling Methods for Tracking the Fine Scale Underwater Movements of Marine Mammals in Areas of Marine Renewable Energy Development. Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science, 7, p.114.

Verfuss, U.K., Sparling, C.E., Arnot, C., Judd, A. and Coyle, M. (2016). Review of offshore wind farm impact monitoring and mitigation with regard to marine mammals. In The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life II (pp. 1175-1182). Springer, New York, NY.

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.

Maclean, I., Inger, R., Benson, D., Booth, C.G., Embling, C.B., Grecian, W.J., Heymans, J.J., Plummer, K.E., Shackshaft, M., Sparling, C.E. and Wilson, B. (2014). Resolving issues with environmental impact assessment of marine renewable energy installations. Frontiers in Marine Science, 1, p.75.

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.

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, 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.

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

Offshore Wind Experience includes:

  • Hornsea Projects One, Two, Three and Four
  • Thanet Extension
  • Moray West
  • Seagreen Phase 1
  • Dublin Array
  • Inch Cape
  • Neart na Gaoithe
  • Triton Knoll
  • Navitus Bay
  • Forth and Tay Offshore Wind Developers Group

Tidal Experience includes:

  • SeaGen
  • MeyGen
  • DeltaStream
  • Skerries

Advice and Guidance Experience includes:

  • Use of Deterrent Devices and Improvements to Standard Mitigation during Piling for Offshore wind farm development
  • SNH Wet renewable monitoring guidance for seals
  • Review of monitoring of Post Consent Monitoring for marine mammals at offshore wind farms
  • Guidance on survey for marine energy sites for Natural Resources Wales

Client Experience includes:

Orsted, GoBe Consultants, EDPR, Vattenfall, Forth and Tay Offshore Wind Developers Group, SeaEnergy Renewables Ltd, Scottish Power Renewables, SeaGreen Wind Energy Ltd, Navitus Bay Ltd, Marine Current Turbines, Atlantis Resources Ltd, , Tidal Energy Ltd, Minesto, Tidal Lagoon Power, Glaxo SmithKline, ENECO, CEFAS, NIRAS, ERM, Fugro EMU, Royal Haskoning, Natural Power, PMSS, Xodus, ORJIP, DECC, Aquatera, Envirocentre, Marine Scotland, The Marine Management Organisation, RenewableUK, Scottish Renewables, NERC, Scottish Natural Heritage, Marine Scotland Science, Natural Resources Wales, Statoil.

+44 (0)1334 464746 – then Option 1

Scottish Oceans Institute
East Sands
University of St Andrews
KY16 8LB