Oenone Scott

Oenone Scott


I am currently finishing my MRes in Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution at Imperial College London. I have been working with phylogenetic trees and extinction risk data for major vertebrate clades to estimate expected phylogenetic diversity loss within the clades. I am using this data to create conservation prioritisation lists that highlight species that are both threatened with extinction and whose extinction would result in large losses to preserved evolutionary history. This project initially started off by just focusing on the Actinopterygii (ray-finned fish) and then grew to include five other clades of vertebrates within the gnathostomata.

My broad interests are in marine biology and ecology, and conservation. I received my BSc from Duke University majoring in Biology, with a concentration in Marine Biology and a minor in Environmental Science and Policy. In between my undergraduate and graduate degree I spent 3 years working in an energy-tech startup.

Oenone Scott

University of Essex, School of Life Sciences

PhD title: Seascape genomics of Antarctic deep-sea coral: Groundtruthing larval dispersal models with genetic connectivity data

Detailed understanding of dispersal and genetic connectivity is critical in determining processes
underpinning population persistence and productivity, speciation, appropriate scales for
management, and the potential for recovery from detrimental impacts e.g. climate change and/or

Larval dispersal models (LDMs) integrate mathematical hydrodynamic models with species’
biological data to predict population connectivity. They are economical, in time and effort,
compared to genetic connectivity research (no sampling/expensive laboratory analyses). For this
reason, LDMs are increasingly used in marine environments to investigate connectivity (Ross et al.,
2016; 2019), especially in areas challenging to sample, e.g. deep sea. However, very few LDMs
are validated with genetic connectivity data. This project creates LDMs and then compares outputs
with ground-truthed genomic connectivity data – a combined approach called “seascape genomics”
(Selkoe et al., 2016). By using environmental data alongside genomic data, the drivers of
connectivity across this rapidly-changing region are investigated. The study focuses on deep-sea
octocorals from sub-Antarctic UK overseas territories – some are MPAs giving this project an
applied output with great potential for management impacts.

Further Information

I have been volunteering with the ‘Coronavirus Tutoring Iniative’ to support students who would otherwise be taking their GCSEs and A-levels but who currently do not have access to school, or who need extra support with their studies.



Research Gate