Project Seagrass

Advancing seagrass conservation through education, influence, research and action  


We're a small team of scientists and conservationists with offices at the Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. We work all over the world, with current research and conservation projects in Asia and Europe.

Founding Director

Ben has a degree in Marine Biology from Swansea University and as part of the Seagrass Ecosystem Research Group he completed an MRes Degree in Aquatic Ecology and Conservation. Ben's currently based at the Sustainable Places Research Institute and is an expert in science communication and environmental education. He has research interests in indicators of seagrass health and fisheries by-catch. His recent field research work has taken him to Myanmar, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. As director, his work focuses on improving knowledge and understanding of seagrass ecosystems using citizen science while working to enhance public awareness of their importance and threats using creative design to communicate scientific research to the wider public

Richard 'RJ' Lilley

Founding Director

RJ has a BSc in Natural Sciences from Durham University, a PGCE in Secondary Science from Warwick University, an MRes in Aquatic Ecology and Conservation from Swansea University and an MSc in Social Science Research Methods from Cardiff University. At both Swansea and Cardiff he was part of the Seagrass Ecosystem Research Group. RJ is currently leading our efforts in Scotland. His research focuses on the role of seagrass meadows in providing food security and the implications for the future of fisheries as extractive industries in the creation of sustainable places. This research is based on the Island of Lipsi in Greece. He is a qualified PADI and BSAC scuba-diving instructor and recreational free diver.

Richard Unsworth

Founding Director

Richard is a marine ecologist and leads the Seagrass Ecosystem Research Group at Swansea University. Richard's expertise lie in the ecological structuring processes of marine systems and the implications of these systems for society. This focuses primarily on the interrelationships between foundation species, habitat, and associated productive fauna (mainly fish). He is particularly interested in the consequences of cross-scale environmental changes on seagrass meadows functioning and the implications of this for global food security and other ecosystem services. Richard has more than twelve years’ experience of research in marine systems and conducts collaborative interdisciplinary research in Europe, Australia, Indonesia, Columbia and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Leanne Cullen-Unsworth


Leanne is currently working as a Research Fellow within the Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff University. Leanne's research interests are in coupled social-ecological systems and sustainability in the marine environment, in particular, marine and coastal resource use and management. She currently leads an international project investigating drivers of seagrass decline across multiple scales throughout SE Asia. Through her role as a director of Project Seagrass she is working to improve our understanding of seagrass systems in the UK and raise awareness of their ecosystem service value. Co-development of solutions to resource problems using a variety of mixed methodological approaches, including cooperative research, is a strong interest of hers.


Greg Brown (Wales)

Greg worked with us during his MSc at Swansea University, where he conducted an exploratory seagrass mapping project.

Josephine Wilde (Wales)

Josephine completed a BSc in Marine Geography, and MRes in Biosciences at Cardiff University. She regularly helps at events and completed a 2 month Placement with us following her undergraduate.

Lauren Clayton (Scotland)

Lauren has recently graduated with a Masters in Marine Biology from the University of Glasgow, as part of her program she undertook a work placement with Project Seagrass and continues to volunteer at outreach events across Scotland.

Laura Pratt (Wales)

Laura has recently graduated with a BSc Biology from Cardiff University. She undertook a internship with Project Seagrass as part of her Professional Training Year (PTY), and while working with us, she investigated changes in the status and distribution of Zostera noltii across Wales.

Jake Davies (Wales)

Jake is a BSc Applied Marine Biology student currently Studying at Bangor University. He has an internship working with Natural Resources Wales. He also has a partnership internship with Project Seagrass, where he assist’s in data collection and spreading awareness of seagrass within North Wales.

Evie Furness (Wales)

Evie is studying for a BSc in Marine Biology at Swansea University. She had previously (2016-2017) undertaken an internship with Project Seagrass for her 'Year in Industry' placement.

Max Robinson (Wales)

Max is a member of the SEACAMS2 team and worked with on the Dugong and Seagrass Research Toolkit

Rufus Sullivan (Scotland)

Rufus has recently graduated from St Andrews University with a degree in Marine Biology. He is currently working for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and continues to volunteer at outreach events across Scotland.  

Evie James (Wales)
Evie is studying for a BSc in Zoology at Cardiff University. Currently she is undertaking an internship with Project Seagrass for her 'Professional Training Year.

Chathurika Munasignhe (Sri Lanka)
Chathurika is studying from a MPhil in Coral Reef Biology at the University of Peradeniya. She undertook a 2 month internship with us during 2017 in collaboration with the Sustainable Places Research Institute. She worked on investigating the link between seagrass knowledge and willingness for conservation in Sri Lanka.