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After obtaining a Certificate in Science at the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (1999), Tom completed a BSc in zoology at the National University of Ireland Galway (2002). In 2007 Tom completed his PhD on the ‘population, origins and behaviour of leatherbacks sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) in the Irish Sea’. In June 2007 Tom was awarded a two-year IRCSET (Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology) Postdoctoral Fellowship to carryout research on leatherbacks, ocean sunfish (Mola mola) and jellyfish. In 2008, Tom was awarded two research grants to investigate the ecology and socio-economic impacts of jellyfish in Irish waters, EcoJel and GilPat.
Jellyfish studies focus on assessing the broadscale distribution and abundance of jellyfish in coastal seas. Several survey methods are used, including: aerial surveys, ferry surveys, net/plankton tows, sighting schemes and fisheries by-catch data. Acoustic tracking technology is used to determine the vertical and horizontal movements of jellyfish. Dietary analysis of jellyfish determines their impact on commercial fisheries.
Contributing to the biotelemetry research at the centre, Tom uses satellite tracking to document to movement and foraging behaviour of oceanic sunfish (Mola mola) and leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea). Tom also records all turtle strandings and sightings in Irish waters.
To access a comprehensive list of Tom’s publications on Google Scholar please follow the link.