Rachael Sinclair

///Rachael Sinclair
Rachael Sinclair2019-03-11T16:28:06+00:00
Cormac Booth

Rachael Sinclair

(formerly Plunkett)

Senior Scientist (Europe)


Rachael  is a Senior Scientist at SMRU Consulting Europe. She has two years’ background conducting visual marine mammal surveys from land and boats and now has five years experience in marine mammal consultancy where she has participated in a wide range of project work including: visual surveys, PAM, data analysis and marine mammal impact assessment.

Degrees and Education

  • 2011 University of St Andrews, MRes Marine Mammal Science. Distinction for the dissertation: Habitat use of the South Abaco Island bottlenose dolphin community.
  • 2010 Aberdeen University BSc Hons Marine Biology (1st Class)


Rachael has been working in the field of marine mammal science for six years. She has two years’ experience conducting visual marine mammal surveys where she investigated the behavioural impacts of swim-with-dolphin tourism in New Zealand then worked as a research assistant at the University of Aberdeen on the long term bottlenose dolphin photo-identification project. Since then, Rachael has rapidly gained expertise in marine mammal consultancy with SMRU Consulting and has experienced a wide range of project work:

  • Lead author for the marine mammal ES chapter for a novel floating wind development.
  • Baseline characterisation reports for offshore wind farms, tidal and offshore infrastructure projects.
  • Input into noise impact assessments, ES chapters and marine mammal monitoring protocols for offshore wind farms.
  • Analytical work including population trajectory modelling using PCoD.
  • Seal count and telemetry data analysis.
  • Main GIS specialist at SMRU Consulting Europe.
  • Trained in spatial modelling methods for correlated data and distance sampling.
  • Visual marine mammal survey projects including designing surveys and protocols, acting as survey coordinator and analysing and reporting data.
  • Involved in designing and implementing a novel photographic geo-referencing technique to obtain more accurate sighting location data during land based vantage point surveys
  • Experienced in identifying marine mammal species from digital still images obtained during aerial surveys.
  • Experience on various PAM projects conducting analysis of data for baseline site characterisation and underwater noise monitoring during construction works.

Here are some of the reports, publications and conference presentations that Rachael has been involved in:

Verfuss, U.K., Aniceto, A.S., Harris, D.V., Gillespie, D., Fielding, S., Jiménez, G., Johnston, P., Sinclair, R.R.,  Sivertsen, A., Solbø, S.A., Storvold, R., Biuw, M., Wyatt, R. (2019). A review of unmanned vehicles for the detection and monitoring of marine fauna. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Volume 140, 2019, Pages 17-29.

Verfuss, UK, Gillespie D, Gordon J, Marques T, Miller BPlunkett R., Theriault J, Tollit D, Zitterbart D, Hubert P, and Thomas L. (2018). Comparing methods suitable for monitoring marine mammals in low visibility conditions during seismic surveys. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Volume 126, January 2018, Pages 1-18.

Booth, CG, Harwood J, Plunkett R, Mendes S, and Walker R. (2017) Using the Interim PCoD framework to assess the potential impacts of offshore wind developments in Eastern English Waters on harbour porpoises in the North Sea. Natural England Joint Report, Number 024 York.

Thompson, D, Onoufriou J, Patterson W and Plunkett R. (2017) Strategic post consent monitoring of breeding harbour seals at the Wash SAC. Presented by Plunkett, R. at the Conference on Wind Energy and Wildlife Impacts, Estoril, Portugal, September 2017.

Booth, CG, Donnovan C, Plunkett R, and Harwood J. (2016) Using an interim PCoD protocol to assess the effects of disturbance associated with US Navy exercises on marine mammal populations: Final Report. Report code SMRUC-ONR-2016-004, submitted to the Office of Naval Research – Marine Mammal and Biology Program, February 2016 (unpublished).

Plunkett, R, and Sparling CE. (2016) Dounreay Trì Floating Wind Demonstration Project Environmental Statement Chapter 10 Marine mammals, basking sharks and turtles. Report Number: SMRUC-HID-2016-003. Submitted To Hi-Def Aerial Surveying Limited, March 2016.

Verfuss, UK, Plunkett R, Booth CG,and Harwood J. (2016) Assessing The Benefit Of Noise Reduction Measures During Offshore Wind Farm Construction On Harbour Porpoises. Report Number SMRUC-WWF-2016-008.

Offshore wind farm work

Involved in all stages of the consenting process for offshore wind farm developments including scoping, baseline characterisation, quantitative impact assessment, author of EIA chapters, Habitats Regulations Assessments, shadow EPS assessments and marine mammal monitoring protocols. Project experience includes:

  • Moray West
  • Seagreen Phase 1
  • Hornsea 3
  • Hornsea 4
  • Thanet Extension
  • Dounreay Tri

Tidal turbine work

Experience includes: collision risk modelling for tidal devices, population modelling

01334 466012


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