The state of the Thames

Estuaries are one of the world’s most productive ecosystems but their biological value is often over looked.  Due to their complexity, they remain poorly understood and are rarely recognised for their importance for wildlife.  The historical dependency of man on estuaries has largely resulted in them becoming environmentally impoverished.  The Thames, however, is seen as a global success story of a recovering urban estuary. Find out more about how far the Thames has come since being declared ‘biologically dead’ in 1958 and learn about some of the species that live in the estuary and how they use it.

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Download talk abstracts: PDF icon Agenda and Abstracts: the state of the Thames 11 July 2017 (378.24 KB)


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  1. Joe Pecorelli, Estuaries and Wetlands, Marine and Freshwater Project Manager, ZSL
    The Tidal Thames Tributaries
    PDF icon Joe Pecorelli: The Tidal Thames tributaries (2.99 MB)

Joe Pecorelli is a Project Manager for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). He has worked extensively in public aquaria, education and conservation. In 1997, as Curator of the London Aquarium, he founded the National Aquarium Workshop, in response to a need in the aquarium community to share experience, knowledge, improve standards of animal husbandry and encourage collaborative conservation work. In 2004 he helped set up ZSL’s Tidal Thames Eel Monitoring Programme and in 2011 introduced volunteer citizen scientist to the programme. In so doing the project became the largest and most wide-ranging study on eel migration through a single catchment in the UK. Since 2014 he has been a trustee of the Friends of River Crane Environment, a charity set up to enhance and protect the environment of his local river in West London. Joe has considerable experience of public speaking including, for 4 years, organising and participating in the Sir David Attenborough family lecture. He is a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation work that engages and benefits from the skills, energy and knowledge of volunteers.

  1. Adrian Pinder, Bournemouth University Global Environmental Solutions
    The dynamics of estuaries and their fish populations: implications for fish conservation in the Tidal Thames
    PDF icon Adrian Pinder: The dynamics of estuaries and their fish populations (3.58 MB)

Adrian is a fisheries scientist with a career extending over 30 years. Currently based at Bournemouth University, Adrian heads ‘BUG’, a consultancy undertaking fisheries investigations and developing sustainable environmental solutions throughout the UK and abroad. Outside his day job he also serves in a voluntary capacity as Director of Research for the Mahseer Trust, a NGO set up to conserve some of south Asia’s most threatened fish species. Adrian’s research extends across a broad range of species and disciplines, but a common theme and specialism throughout his career has been the early development and ecology of larval/juvenile fish, the factors which affect recruitment success and the role of estuaries in these processes.

Joanna has worked in the Marine and Freshwater Conservation team here at ZSL for the last four years. During that time, she has led on a number of projects in the Thames, with a particular focus on conservation of marine mammals and estuarine fish, as well as engaging citizen scientists in conservation. In addition, she set up the Angel Shark Project with partners in the Canary Islands and Germany in 2014, with the overall aim to safeguard the future of Critically Endangered angel sharks in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Before ZSL, Joanna studied at the University of Oxford and University of York.


  • Chaired by Richard Aylard, External Affairs and Sustainability Director, Thames Water

Richard Aylard has worked for Thames Water since 2002 and has been in his current role since 2006.  In his previous career he served in the Royal Navy and as Private Secretary to HRH The Prince of Wales.  A committed environmentalist, he has a degree in Applied Zoology and Mathematics and is a Fellow of WWF and an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management.

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