Blog & Media

SharkBytes Interview: Why are Lemons Yellow? and more

Kris from Shark Bytes (on Youtube and Instagram) explores the awesome Lemon shark. I was able to chat with Kris about my work studying the behaviour of juvenile lemon sharks in Bimini, an island in the Bahamas. It was great to talk about some of our findings especially regarding the improtance of mangrove habitat for young sharks.  Thanks Kris! 

Sharks! with Molly: virtual talk for school-aged

In April 2024, I gave a virtual talk to school aged children (around 7-8 years old) at a school in Atlanta, Georgia. My cousin is a student teacher at the school, and she reached out asking if I would give a broad shark biology talk with information on my own research. It was a great chance for me to practice my wider audience speaking and connect with young kids about sharks.

It was special getting to hear and answer their questions - I'm always blown away by the level of insight and curiosity in young children particularly around sharks and the ocean. The students bravely stood up and asked me their questions, and I loved answering each and every one.

Hopefully I'll have some more of these opportunities in my calendar soon! If you run a classroom, or school, and would like a virtual speaker to discuss ocean systems, what sharks are, their role in the oceans, and why they are important to study and protect, please get in contact through the Contact page. I've uploaded a few slides here as an example of the kinds of imagery I use, and how I keep slides light on text and heavy on pictures so that it's an accessible talk for children of all abilities. 

Local talk, Camborne, Cornwall

In February 2024, I had the opportunity to speak to year 10-12s at the Nexus campus for the Camborne Science and International Academy’s Centre of Excellence. We covered everything from my path to the PhD, my current and previous research, and being a disabled female in marine science. They were the best audience I could have asked for my first long format (45 min.) public engagement talk. Thank you to Nexus for having me!

'Big Guest' on BBC Radio Cornwall

In January 2024, I was the Big Guset on the mid-day show with Julie Skentelbery on BBC Radio Cornwall. it was a great introduction to radio interviews, and my first with the BBC. You can find the interview on the website until the end of February 2024 - the image is a hotlink, so check it out if you have 9minutes! I talk sharks in Cornwall and my origins with marine ecology. 

SEE-scapes, a framework for modern marine ecology

A framework for studying ecological energy in the contemporary marine environment. Kressler, MM., Dall, SRX., & Sherley, RBS. (2023). ICES Journal of Marine Science. DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsad082.

Click for Open Access link

Our paper describes the Seascapes of Ecolopgical Energy framework (SEE-scapes). SEE-scapes embeds behavioural ecology first principles into a workflow for the modern marine environment. Our goal for SEE-scapes is to contextualise the hierarchical and dynamic ecological decisions which study species have to consider, to better equip researchers to capture the natural variance of their study system. 

Learning by watching: videos of protocols for collaborators and citizen scientists

As part of the research project eDNA in the Blue , I have and continue to produce videos which demonstarte or highlight protocols and best practices for collaborators and citizen scientitsts nvolved in the project. 

Beyond provdng those directly involved in the project with a helpful tool to quickly refresh their memory when needed, these videos provide the wider community a glimpse into the 'behind the scenes' work of marine science. As a disabled female in science I sometimes get nervous about being in front of the camera, but I hope that young women, and even more so young disabled children interested in being marine biologists, may stumble across the videos and see some aspect of themselves reflected in me. 

You can find me on social media at @marinemollyk - I post regularly on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.

Citizen Science in the Southwest UK

As part of my research project eDNA in the Blue , I'm working with local tour operators and engaging with the visiting and local yachting community to achieve sampling of the massive pelagic areas off of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 

So far we're utilising local and nationalwide Yacht Associations communication channels, and Twitter to engage with a wider audience. The response thus far has been positive and overhwleming, and we're really looking forward to gettign to engage and work with so many keen marine enthusiasts. 

Top Cited Paper

I was really excited to learn that my first first author paper was one of the Ethology's top cited works from 2021-2022. Not only that but that it was judged to ‘generate immediate impact in your community’.  

I feel so lucky and grateful to have had (and still have) supervisors and mentors who have held open doors behind them and who support me and my ideas. And I’m also really proud of myself. 

Women in Conservation Podcast Interview

University of Exeter

In January 2023, I received an email from the organisation Women in Conservation (WiC) asking if I would be willing to give up some time to be on their podcast and talk about my science and my experiences as a women in conservation. WiC is a student run group, who have hosted some really fantastc events and talks at the Unversity of Exeter over the past few years. So when I got the email I was very excited to say yes. The podcast is broadcast over Youtube, and you can find the interview embedded here. 

It was a really fun half hour, and I got to talk about my science and some of my experiences as a women, and a disabled women, in the marine conservation space. I hope it's well received and that maybe someone finds it informative or helpful! 

Sharks International 4

In October 2022, I attended the fourth instalment of the Sharks International Conference, held at the Oceanografic in Valencia, Spain. 

It was a jammed packed couple of days and I was left exhausted but really enriched by the science and the opportunities to meet researchers of all stages and interests. It was amazing to meet early career researchers like myself, and all-time greats whose papers I've read and admired my entire career. 

It's a experience I won't soon forget and I look forward to the next one in 2026. 

FSBI Annual Symposium 2022

In July 2022, I was able to attend the Fisheries Society of the British Isles annual symposium, titled 'Fish in a Dynamic World', at Nottingham-Trent University's Brackenhurst Campus, in the UK. 

It was a great few days of getting to meet fish biologists and ecologists from around the world who conduct their research or work in the UK. All delegates stayed on the campus in the student accommodation, and this allowed for really natural conversation over meals, coffees, and the amazing walking paths around the rural campus. We had talks from megalodon to fish larvae to the economics of feeding the world with seafood. It was an amazing experience, and I'm so glad it was my first in-person conference. 

Well done and many thanks to the organisers from the FSB and Nottingham Trent University!

Visit to the Environmental Learning Center, July 2022

In July 2022 I was home visiting family in both New Jersey and Florida. Having recently been in touch with the ELC for an 'Our Impact...' piece in their Annual Report, I reached out to say I was in the neighbourhood and would stop by to show my partner around the campus and see what new educational installations the ELC has been hard at developing over the years since I left. It was so great to be back and see the work going on to preserve the beautiful cross-mangrove trails and viewing platforms, and to see the student learning places so well-maintained and multiplying! I took a few photos and videos of our visit there, so please enjoy the scenes from the Indian River Lagoons Environmental Learning Center! 

It was great to be back, and I hope to be back in the area again and get to walk the trails again soon! 

(For more information on my time at the ELC, and the impact it's had on my career, see the item below 'Interview for the Environmental Learning Center'.)

Interview for Environmental Learning Center

Indian River Shores, Florida, USA

The ELC is a conservation and and ecology education centre in south east Florida. I've been lucky enough to visit the ELC my entire life as it's just around the corner from my grandparents house. And when I was looking for opportunities in between years at University, it was my first stop. In the summer of 2015 I was part of the first ever Naturalist internship programme at the ELC. It was an amazing experience: I received Naturalist training, and applied those skills in developing ethograms for the various locations around the ELC grounds, and connected locations; I worked with the Dept. of Environmental Protection to conduct seagrass surveys in the brackish Indian River; I worked with a Land Trust to survey salt marshes along the river; and I got to experience seahorse husbandry research at the Vero Beach Marine Laboratory (FAU); and some how even more. 

For this Annual Report I was asked to reflect on my time at the ELC, and the impact it has had on my career. Click on through and give it a read! (You can find the interview it on pages 10-11)

Journal Club, October 2021: Bayesian regression model of Chimp behaviour

Kalan, A.K., et al. 2020. Environmental variability supports chimpanzee behavioural diversity. Nat Commun 11, 4451.Link to article.

This paper is a great example of how to apply Bayesian principles to an ecological question and interpret the results - the language is accessible, and the methods clear, making it a great entry point to applying Bayes. It's also accessible to those who don't do chimpanzee behavioural research. Not to mention the results were really interesting, well stated, and provide lots to discuss, in the wider sphere of ecology, evolution, and within-species behavioural diversification. 

Discussion points include but are not limited too:

Blog Post: Why do I care about lemon sharks? 

I am a part of the ConScience Conservation Science Hub at the University of Exeter. In Autumn 2021, I contributed a blog post to their website titled 'Why do I care about lemon sharks?'. The piece discusses how my experiences in youth translated to a passion for mangrove ecosystems, and later behavioural ecology and conservation. It tracks through my early early career, through work experiences, to my current position as a PhD student at the University of Exeter, studying the complex seascape of juvenile lemon sharks in a shallow mangrove nursery, in Bimini, Bahamas. To read more, click the 'My Blog Post' button located adjacent to this! I hope you enjoy. 

After the post was published by ConScience, I was contacted by an environmental outreach centre I had volunteered with back in 2015, the Environmental Learning Center (ELC), located on the Indian River Lagoon in south east Florida. You can read the article based on our interview above ('Interview for Environmental Learning Center').

Journal Club, September 2021: the STRANGE framework, and sTrange stickles

My 2021 publication in Ethology, concerning about sticklebacks and personality-bias in a common trapping method, is the foundational work for the 'T' in Mike Webster and Christian Rutz's 'STRANGE' framework

The STRANGE framework is a tool for assessing the potential biases in your research of wild, semi-captive, and captive animals. Though not all bias can be eliminated, it should be a priority of modern ecology to be transparent in identifying and stating the potential areas of bias in our work. The STRANGE framework is a tool for doing just this, and also lends well to academic discussion groups. 

I lead a Journal Club style discussion in Richard Sherley's research group at Exeter, Marine Predator Ecology and Conservation, of which I am a member, where we discussed the ways in which our methods may introduced bias in our analyses. 

'sTrange stickles'

ASAB Summer Conference 2021, recorded talk. 

I was asked to present my work on personality bias in three-spined sticklebacks as part of the STRANGE framework satellite meeting. This is my pre-recorded talk. I hope you enjoy the content and format!