Dr. Tom Letessier
2019: Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology, ZSL
2016: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Institute of Zoology, ZSL
2014: Chagos Consortium Science Coordinator, Conservation Programmes, ZSL
2011: Research Assistant Professor at the University of Western Australia
2011: PhD Marine Biology, University of St Andrews
2006: BSc Honours in Marine Biology, University of Aberdeen
I am a marine-biologist with a keen interest in both tropical and pelagic ecosystems. My research primarily focuses on the spatial ecology of predators such as sharks, rays, and their prey. I use a diversity of platforms, including drones, baited cameras, and echosounders, to inform marine conservation and management strategies. Although my background is in ecology, I am increasingly interested in the human dimensions of conservation and sustainable fisheries, and the different ways in which the success and failures of management are linked to compliance and socioeconomics. My research relies heavily on empirical field-work, and I have conducted research in Pitcairn, the Chagos Archipelago, Belize, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Australia, Palau, Cape Verde, Columbia, and in Norway. A primary question driving my work over the last 8 years is how large-scale MPAs can be utilised to further conservation and global food security. I am currently involved in projects exploring the socioeconomic drivers of illegal fishing, and how drones and other technologies can be utilised for the dual purpose of MPA surveillance, fisheries enforcement, and megafauna monitoring.
I am fascinated by the challenges surrounding sampling and preserving the pelagic realm. The two are very much intertwined – we cannot hope to adequately protect oceanic sharks and tuna unless our decisions are informed by reliable data on their distribution and movement. I maintain close ties with the University of Western Australia, where I am an adjunct research fellow.
Letessier, T. B., Mouillot, D., Bouchet, P. J., Vigliola, L., Fernandes, M. C., Thompson, C., et al. (in press). Remote reefs and seamounts are the last refuges for marine predators across the Indo-Pacific. PLoS Biology.
Juhel, J. B., Vigliola, L., Mouillot, D., Kulbicki, M., Letessier, T. B., Meeuwig, J. J., & Wantiez, L. (2018). Reef accessibility impairs the protection of sharks. Journal of Applied Ecology, 55(2), 673–683. http://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13007
Tickler, D.M., Letessier, T.B., Koldewey, H. & Meeuwig, J.J. (2017) Drivers of abundance and spatial distribution of reef-associated sharks in an isolated atoll reef system. PloS one, e0177374.
Letessier, T.B., Bouchet, P. & Meeuwig, J.J. (2017) Sampling mobile oceanic fishes and sharks: implications for fisheries and conservation planning. Biological Reviews 92, 627–646.
Letessier, T.B., Cox, M.J., Meeuwig, J.J., Boersch-Supan, P.H. & Brierley, A.S. (2016) Enhanced pelagic biomass around coral atolls. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 546, 271–276.
Braithwaite, J., Meeuwig, J.J., Letessier, T.B., Jenner, C.S. & Brierley, A.S. (2015) From sea ice to blubber: linking whale condition to krill abundance using historical whaling records. Polar Biology 38, 1195–1202.
Laptikhovsky, V., Boersch-Supan, P., Bolstad, K., Kemp, K., Letessier, T. & Rogers, A.D. (2015) Cephalopods of the Southwest Indian Ocean Ridge: A hotspot of biological diversity and absence of endemism. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 1–38. Elsevier.
Letessier, T.B., De Grave, S., Boersch-Supan, P.H., Kemp, K., Brierley, A.S. & Rogers, A. (2015) Seamount influences on mid-water shrimps (Decapoda) and gnathophausiids (Lophogastridea) of the South-West Indian Ridge. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 1– 60.
Letessier, T.B., Juhel, J.B., Vigliola, L. & Meeuwig, J.J. (2015) Low-cost small action cameras in stereo generate accurate measurements of fish. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 466, 120–126.
Bouchet, P.J., Meeuwig, J.J., Salgado Kent, C.P., Letessier, T.B. & Jenner, C.K. (2014) Topographic determinants of mobile vertebrate predator hotspots: current knowledge and future directions. Biological Reviews 90, 699–728.
Letessier, T.B., Bouchet, P.J., Reisser, J. & Meeuwig, J.J. (2014) Baited videography reveals remote foraging and migration behaviour of sea turtles. Marine Biodiversity.
Letessier, T.B., Kawaguchi, S., King, R., Meeuwig, J.J., Harcourt, R. & Cox, M.J. (2013) A robust and economical underwater stereo video system to observe Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Open Journal of Marine Biology 03, 148–153.
Letessier, T.B., Meeuwig, J.J., Gollock, M., Groves, L., Bouchet, P.J., Chapuis, L., Vianna, G.M.S., Kemp, K. & Koldewey, H.J. (2013) Assessing pelagic fish populations: The application of demersal video techniques to the mid-water environment. Methods in Oceanography 8, 41–55.
Cox, M.J., Letessier, T.B. & Brierley, A.S. (2013) Zooplankton and micronekton biovolume at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone estimated by multi-frequency acoustic survey. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 98, 269–278.
Priede, I.G., Bergstad, O.A., Miller, P.I., Vecchione, M., Gebruk, A.V., Falkenhaug, T., et al. (2013) Does the Presence of A Mid-Ocean Ridge Enhance Biomass and Biodiversity? PloS One 8, e61550.
Sutton, T.T., Letessier, T.B. & Bardarson, B. (2013) Midwater fishes collected in the vicinity of the Sub-Polar Front, Mid-North Atlantic Ocean, during ECOMAR pelagic sampling. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 98, 292–300.
Letessier, T.B., Pond, D.W., McGill, R.A.R., Reid, W.D.K. & Brierley, A.S. (2012) Trophic interaction of invertebrate zooplankton on either side of the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone / Subpolar Front of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Journal of Marine Systems 94, 174–184.
Letessier, T.B., Falkenhaug, T., Debes, H., Bergstad, O.A. & Brierley, A.S. (2011) Abundance patterns and species assemblages of euphausiids associated with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic. Journal of Plankton Research 33, 1510–1525.
Letessier, T.B., Cox, M.J. & Brierley, A.S. (2011) Drivers of variability in Euphausiid species abundance throughout the Pacific Ocean. Journal of Plankton Research 33, 1342–1357.
Letessier, T.B., Cox, M.J. & Brierley, A.S. (2009) Drivers of euphausiid species abundance and numerical abundance in the Atlantic Ocean. Marine Biology 156, 2539–2553.