Amy Shurety

Amy Shurety


I am a network ecologist passionate about the marine environment and interested in answering key questions in social-ecological and sustainability research. I am trained as a marine biologist and network ecologist and hold a MSc (Cum Laude) in biology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. My master’s dissertation developed an ecological resilience framework using ecosystem networks of South African east coast estuaries. I am interested in quantitative ecology and believe it is an innovative and powerful tool with the potential to provide clear-cut advice to sustainability researchers. Since finishing my masters I worked at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Research at James Cook University, Australia. Here I worked on network and social-ecological research aimed to link ecosystem structure and function. Other work and education experience has provided me with a background in conservation and marine based field work. Currently I am a PhD candidate at the University of Essex, United Kingdom where I focus on environmental drivers of food web structure and energy flux in marine ecosystems. I am keen to undertake my PhD research as it has a broad aim to improve foundations of ecosystem-based management and vulnerability risk assessments in the face of global change.

Amy Shurety

PhD title: Environmental drivers of food web structure and energy flux in marine ecosystems.

Global environmental change is predicted to alter the structure and stability of marine ecosystems with major implications for the sustainability of commercial fisheries. The aim of my PhD project is to determine major drivers of trophic complexity and biomass distributions in marine ecosystems of the North Sea. It will quantify changes in food web structure and energy flux to fish predators along large-scale environmental gradients. A main goal of the research is to provide multiple measures of ecological stability to highlight vulnerable species, which will ultimately enable more effective ecosystem-based advice.


    Shurety, A.L., Bodin, Ö. and Cumming, G.S., 2022. A comparative approach to quantify the heterarchical structures of complex systems. Ecology and Society, 27(3), 38. DOI: 10.5751/ES-13551-270338.

    Shurety, A.L., Bartelet, H.A., Chawla, S., James, N.L., Lapointe, M., Zoeller, K.C., Chua, C.M. and Cumming, G.S., 2022. Insights from twenty years of comparative research in Pacific Large Ocean States. Ecosystems and People, 18(1), 410-429. DOI: 10.1080/26395916.2022.2086924.

    IPCC. 2020. Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. Chapter 5: Changing Oceans, Marine Ecosystems and Dependent Communities. 179.


  • CEFAS and University of Essex Studentship


  • FSBI International Conference. Notingham, UK. 25th - 29th July 2022. Role: Poster Presentation
  • The International Society of Ecological Modelling Global Conference. Salzburg, Austria. 1st - 5th October 2019. Role: Oral presentation.
  • 8th World Conference on Ecological Restoration. Cape Town, South Africa. 24th - 28th September 2019. Role: Oral presentation.
  • The African Marine Waste Conference. Port Elizabeth, South Africa. 4th - 7th July 2017. Role: Poster presentation.
  • South African Marine Science Symposium. Port Elizabeth, South Africa. 9th - 13th July 2017. Role: Oral Presentation.

Awards and Prizes

  • National Research Foundation Bursary Holder (Covered the tuition of my MSc and BSc (Hons) degrees)
  • Golden Key International Honours Society
  • Alan Grey Top Achievers candidate 2017
  • UKZN Best Marine Biology Honours Student 2017


Further information

I participated in outreach programs such as BlueWise and Ocean Stewards aimed to increase marine conservation awareness and education in South Africa.