Benjamin Lawrence Jones

Benjamin Lawrence Jones

Research Associate

Email:
jonesb67@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2068 8841
Location:
2.1, 33 Park Place, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3BA
Media commentator

I'm based at the Sustainable Places Research Institute where my work is focused on tropical seagrass meadows and small-scale fisheries. I work closely with Research Fellow Dr Leanne Cullen-Unsworth on multiple projects investigating drivers of seagrass decline.

As a founding director of the marine conservation charity Project Seagrass, my work focuses on improving knowledge and understanding of seagrass ecosystems while working to enhance public awareness of their importance and threats using creative design to communicate scientific research to the wider public.

I'm especially interested in developing technologies for seagrass conservation which include citizen-science applications and drones. My research has taken me to Mozambique, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Mexico. I collaborate with The National Trust, Wildlife Trusts, BBC, Flora and Fauna International, Seagrass-Watch, The Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project, and others.

In the News

I obtained a B.Sc. in Marine Biology at Swansea University where I went on to obtain an M.Res. in Aquatic Ecology and Conservation. My master's thesis focused on the role of seagrasses as indicators of change in the British Isles where multiple characteristics were used to assess how seagrasses responded to varying degrees of anthropogenic stress.

During my masters, I co-founded the marine conservation charity Project Seagrass. Project Seagrass aims to conserve seagrass ecosystems through education, influence, research, and action. As a director, I focus on working to enhance understanding of the importance of seagrass using creative design to communicated scientific research to the wider public, as well as communicating this directly through workshops and events.

My previous research has focused on examining the factors that affect seagrass growth and I was involved with an international project with the Zostera Experimental Network (ZEN) & Swansea University to examine these factors on a global scale. Other experience lies within the use of Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) to assess fish abundance and diversity across multiple habitats in the Indian Ocean.

More recently I have been involved as a technical expert in development of The Dugong and Seagrass Research Toolkit (developed in collaboration by Total, Total Abu Al Bukhoosh, the Environment – Agency Abu Dhabi and the Convention on Migratory Species Dugong MOU; http://www.conservation.tools) and as a scientific advisor in the development of BBC’s landmark series Blue Planet 2.

Professional memberships

  • Member of the British Ecological Society
  • Member of the World Seagrass Association

Academic positions

  • 2015 - present: Research Associate, Cardiff University, UK
  • 2013 - present: Director and Founder, Project Seagrass, UK.
  • 2014 - 2015: Marine Technician, SEACAMS, Swansea University, UK.
  • 2013: Hourly Paid Lecturer, University of South Wales, UK

Speaking engagements

Oral Presentations

Jones, B.L, 2016. Developing strategies for seagrass conservation: a focus on food security provision. Presentation delivered at MSEAS: Understanding marine socio-ecological systems: including the human dimension in Integrated Ecosystem Assessments, Brest, France. June 2016

Jones B.L., 2016. Small Scale Seagrass Fisheries in Sri Lanka. Presentation delivered at the 12th International Seagrass Biology Workshop, Gwynedd, UK. October 2016

Workshops

Jones B.L., 2017. SeagrassSpotter: Crowdsourcing seagrass conservation. Workshop delivered in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. March 2017.

Committees and reviewing

World Seagrass Association

Steering Committee Member, 2016 - present

International Seagrass Biology Workshop

Scientific Steering Group Member and Local Organiser, 12th International Seagrass Biology Workshop, 2016

Sub-Committee Member, 2018 - present

2018

2017

2016

Lecturing

I have previously taught undergraduates at the University of South Wales. During a Tropical Marine Ecology field course, I taught topics including Scientific Diving Techniques and Seagrass Monitoring.

Supervision

Through Project Seagrass, I supervise Professional Training Year (PTY) students from the School of Biosciences. Additionally, I regularly host work experience students who are eager to learn more about seagrass conservation.

Seagrass Ecosystems Research

My research is currently focused on both tropical seagrass meadows where I am investigating drivers of seagrass decline across multiple scales throughout South East Asia. The project, Empowering Community Action for Seagrass Conservation in Southeast Asia: Seagrass Meadows Support Food Security, aims to drive an agenda of policy change across Southeast Asia that gives high priority to the conservation of seagrass meadows and determines the actions required to achieve conservation by identifying socio-cultural and economic drivers of exploitation. Additional to this project I've recently lead a field expedition to the Myeik Archipelago, Myanmar to conduct the first investigation of fish diversity within seagrass meadows in the region and experimented with drone technology as a means for mapping these sensitive marine habitats.

Citizen Science

I co-developed SeagrassSpotter (www.seagrassspotter.org), an entry-level citizen science project. Established in 2016 in the UK, the project uses a smartphone app and website database as its platform and facilitates a participants’ ability to spot something interesting and upload geo-tagged photographs. Expanding across Europe in late 2016, since its release the project has accumulated over 700 sightings from 93 locations in 21 countries and engaged nearly 350 users.

Grants Awarded

Communicating seagrass science using citizen science and electronic resources (2015 -  ongoing)

Projects developing a seagrass focused community citizen science programme.

  • 2016-present: Co-I Developing SeagrassSpotter as a global quantitative citizen science programme £20k research project (multiple mixed funding sources)
  • 2015-16: Co-I Seagrass education and awareness programme for Wales. £10k community project (AwardsForAll)
  • 2015-16: Co-I Seagrass education and monitoring programme for Wales. £5k community Project (Waterloo Foundation)

I am interested in hosting Professional Training Year (PTY) students looking to be involved in seagrass or small-scale fisheries research.