Founding Director


Director and Co-Founder, Project Seagrass
Teacher of Biology, Scotland.

RJ’s previous work at the Sustainable Places Research Institute was focused on Caribbean and Mediterranean seagrass meadows. In both regions he worked on an interdisciplinary projects investigating seafood supply chains derived from small-scale capture fisheries.

As a founding director his work focuses on improving knowledge and understanding of seagrass ecosystems, primarily in the Scotland. He continues to work to enhance public awareness of the importance of seagrass meadows, particular at science festivals, and he continues to enjoy working with the Coastal Communities Network at sites across the country.


RJ obtained a BSc (Hons) in Natural Sciences from Durham University in 2006 before training to be a Teacher of Biology at Warwick University. After a few years of teaching Biology in England, he then worked as PADI Divemaster in Thailand, before returning to study a Tropical Marine Ecology short course at Stockholm University in the summer of 2011. It was here that he was first introduced to seagrass ecosystems.

In the autumn of 2011 RJ moved to Swansea University in Wales to study for an MRes in Aquatic Ecology and Conservation. This is where he met both Ben Jones and Richard Unsworth – the rest, they say, is history!

Since 2011 RJ has completed both an MSc in Social Science Research Methods, and an interdisciplinary PhD in Place-based Sustainable Supply Chain Management at Cardiff University. In both these pieces of research RJ was looking into small-scale capture fisheries links to seagrass meadows.

He now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland and works as a Teacher of Biology.


Seagrass meadows play an important role both as valuable nursery habitat for juvenile fish species as well as a key foraging ground for adults. RJs research investigates the role of seagrass meadows in contributing to fisheries productivity, by investigating the relationship of fish habitat usage to fisheries catch and local seafood supply.


Cullen-Unsworth, al. 2018. Secret gardens under the sea: What are seagrass meadows and why are they important?Frontiers for Young Minds 6(2) (10.3389/frym.2018.00002)

Lilley, R and Unsworth, R. K. F. 2014. Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) benefits from the availability of seagrass (Zostera marina) nursery habitat. Global Ecology and Conservation 2, 367-377 (