About

Emily Cunningham Sicily Portrait - Copy

Emily Cunningham is an independent Marine Conservation Consultant and Freelance Writer currently based in England.

Emily specialises in growing ocean literacy through the development of pioneering projects, campaigns and digital communications. She is currently self-employed and works with a number of UK NGOs on various aspects of marine conservation practice.

Away from the “day job”, Emily is an independent researcher and is currently working with a grassroots community group to produce a research paper on their findings; championing the model of citizen science and helping to communicate their important work to the scientific community. Emily shares her marine science adventures on Marine Biology Life.

Her step into self-employment allows Emily to offer an unbiased, pragmatic voice on many marine conservation topics and issues. She is a passionate ocean advocate and has appeared on TV, radio and in magazines to discuss the marine issues of the day.

In her spare time (!), Emily is to be found outside: camping, watching wildlife and/or sunsets or exploring a new bit of the world.

Key Career Achievements

  • Developed the UK’s first marine Landscape (Seascape!) Partnership Scheme, a Β£5m scheme of marine conservation, education and heritage projects.
  • Appeared on national TV/Radio and in magazines as an invited expert on UK marine life and conservation issues.
  • Met with the UK Environment Minister to advocate for the designation of Marine Protected Areas for mobile species in UK seas.
  • Managed a national (UK-wide) underwater survey programme collecting data to ensure special places at sea gain protection.
  • Co-led research expeditions to Sicily and the Azores to collect samples for the study of population genetics of Bottlenose Dolphins and Yellowmouth Barracuda.

Key Career Highlights

  • Saving countless stranded Green Sea Turtles whilst working on Ascension Island (ask Emily about the turtle sledge…).
  • Being amidst a group of 100 Bottlenose Dolphins whilst leading a dolphin monitoring survey in North Wales, UK.
  • Being presented with a specially made wall hanging as a thank you for developing a women’s art project whilst working in Sea Turtle Conservation in Sri Lanka.
  • Filming spawning Land Crabs with the BBC’s Natural History Unit (and trying to count thousands of them for a survey using a chalk marker pen!).

What is Emily up to at the moment?

  • Emily is developing a new transboundary project for a partnership of UK NGOs, focussing on the conservation and celebration of estuary wildlife.
  • Emily is working with a UK NGO on their campaign for more and better managed Marine Conservation Zones in the seas around England.
  • Emily recently presented her work on the new SeaScapes initiative at the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC5) in Kuching, Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo) and at the European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA) conference in Newcastle (England).