The South West Marine Ecosystem Conferences

Russell Wynn set up the annual SWME conferences in 2007 to ensure that results of the five-year SeaWatch South West project were put in the context of the wider marine conservation and ecology community in the southwest region; the first meetings were held at the Marine Biological Association.

Bob Earll took over in 2013 and in 2014 SWME moved to the larger rooms at PML enabling 150+ delegates to attend; during this period the annual reports and the website was set up.

Natasha Bradshaw became involved in SWME17 with the move to Plymouth University for more attendance capacity and networking space. Ruth Williams of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust became part of the team for the SWME18 conference.

The Objectives for the SWME conferences have been developed with the delegates and were revised in 2017; they are as follows:


1. Networking
Through the conferences, website and mailings, to provide a networking opportunity for a wide cross section of people to meet, exchange views and build networks for the south-west’s marine ecosystems in order to:

  • Provide active support for existing networks enabling and building citizen science projects;
  • To encourage collaboration between users, researchers/scientists and managers/policy makers;
  • Encourage links between researchers on science projects throughout the region’s seas (e.g. the English Channel, Bristol Channel, Celtic Seas and the wider Atlantic Ocean).


2. Annual Events & Recording  
To use the annual conference to record observation on ecological and oceanographic events of the previous year that have affected the south west marine ecosystems and to make the linkages between environmental and biological phenomena. To publish these observations annually. To promote the recording of observations through the year and ongoing regional and national marine recording projects through the SWME website.


3. Ecology of marine species
To promote research studies that focus on the ecology of marine species, planktonic, benthic and ‘mobile’ species (fish, birds, mammals, turtles) and the ecosystem that supports them.  To understand the status of populations of marine species in the region’s seas and how they are responding to environmental and anthropogenic pressures. To enable stories to be told about the ecology of our common species, their distribution, movements and numbers, and importantly to highlight the gaps in our knowledge.


4. Management of south west marine ecosystems
To encourage strong relationships between policy makers and scientists; to promote science and the evidence base that underpins management of human activities in the coastal and marine environment with a view to supporting and promoting the health of south west’s marine ecosystems.


5. Marine Education and Outreach
To highlight marine education and outreach programmes in the south west. To support the development of new programmes that promote marine management and make use of marine science. To promote good practice in environmental education, interpretation, signage and outreach.

…and to come together to celebrate being part of the SWME!

Thanks to Keith Hiscock and Tony Taylor for the images.



  • Attendance at the event exceeds 150+ delegates from 75+ organisations and this offers unparalleled networking opportunities.
  • Delegates are emailed the attendance list with emails 3 days before the event.

Social Media

  • Join the discussion online by using the hashtag #SWME18

To be put on the contact list email: bob.earll@coastms.co.uk

Sign-up Here to receive mailings on the South West Marine Ecosystems Meetings, related topics and reports:


Please contact Natasha Bradshaw

E: njb.bradshaw@gmail.com

M: 07755 510362

Observations, Recording Schemes & Annual Reports