Morven Rae-Seaman (she/her)


I am a PGR based in the School of Biology at the University of Leeds. I work with Dr Maria Beger & Dr Steve Sait, looking at how coral reefs might be able to adapt to ongoing climate change. I also have links to multiple NGOs, including The Nature Conservancy & The Coral Reef Alliance.

I previously studied Biology at the University of York and a Masters in Computational Ecology at the University of Glasgow. I have worked on a variety of projects during my academic career, from insect foraging behaviour to seabird migration patterns and niche distribution. Beyond my PhD, I enjoy running, hiking, generally staying active and reading.



2020 – 2021: MSc in Quantitative Methods in Biodiversity, Conservation & Epidemiology from University of Glasgow

2016 – 2020: MBiol in Biology from University of York

Research Interests

I am interested how we can use rapidly developing large datasets and advancing computational tools to address broad-scale questions in ecology and conservation. I am particularly interested in marine ecology and community ecology, looking at how ecosystems as a whole are responding to climate change. I also believe in the importance of doing actionable and applicable research, and I work closely with conservation practitioners to ensure my research is relevant and useful for management.

Teaching interests

I enjoy teaching both undergraduate and Masters level statistics. I have also been involved with module development for a first-year undergraduate class focusing on research and project management skills.

Project Title

Identifying and protecting coral reef adaptive potential


Dr Maria Beger; Dr Steve Sait


Project outline

Ecosystems worldwide are facing unprecedented levels of climate change, and in order to respond, individuals, species and communities must move to more favourable conditions, or adapt to new levels of stress. Coral reefs support up to 1 billion people worldwide and are key for ~25% of all marine biodiversity, yet are at risk of extinction from anthropogenic climate change. My project aims to understand how reefs might adapt to rising temperatures, and identify reefs that may respond faster or more positively to changes in climate.

I work across multiple disciplines, including ecological theory; field ecology for reef surveys; statistical modelling and GIS to work with remotely sensed data; conservation science; and integration with conservation planners and managers. I use habitat maps from the Allen Coral Atlas, a freely available online resource mapping coral reefs, alongside survey data collected in the field on SCUBA to link from broad to local scales. I will also carry out spatial planning runs using Marxan to identify priority sites for coral reef conservation.