• About Me

    I'm James. I'm a third-year PhD student at the University of Leeds and The Natural History Museum, London. I'm currently studying faunal assemblage and trophic structure in Southern Ocean deep-sea ecosystems.


    Passionate about deep-sea biology, my kids and pizza

    Community Ecology

    How do habitats determine faunal distribution and assemblage structure in the deep-sea?

    Trophodynamics & Stable Isotopes

    Bulk and compound-specific stable isotope analyses to study deep-sea food webs

    Science Engagement

    Comedy or Serious?

    Young or Old?


    I love it!

  • Blog Posts

    Basically just things that don't fit into a tweet

    December 19, 2016
    Read on if.... My problem with most of the 'how to get a job after you finish your PhD' style articles that I've seen is that a) they're always very vague and so not really helpful and b) usually written by someone who has very obvious industry potential (e.g. they did a PhD in electronic...
    Today I submitted my first grant as a principal investigator. I'm very nearly at the end of my PhD and still very keen to stay in science and it seemed like a great option. The chance to create your own job, study the things you are most interested in and seek out new and exciting projects. It's...
    Just a quick post while I'm waiting for some code to finish running...  If you use stable isotope analysis and R, like I do, you've probably come across the excellent package 'siar'. This is really great for extracting isotope-related stats, like layman metrics or bayesian ellipses. My only...
    More Posts
  • Publications

    Recent and ongoing work

    Biogeosciences (open review phase)

    Microbial and faunal trophodynamics at a sedimented vent. Limited by widespread use of chemosynthetic OM. Isotopic niche diversity trends similar to abundance and species diversity. Evidence of indirect dependence upon hydrothermal activity as much as 150km from vent site!

    Bell et al. 2016. Frontiers in Marine Science

    Faunal assemblages in and around sedimented hydrothermal vents. These types of vents are really fascinating places to study ecology because they combine the dynamic geochemical conditions of hydrothermal vents with the physical habitat structure of the majority of the deep-sea.

    Benthic megafauna on steep slopes at the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

    Bell et al. in press. Marine Ecology

    Megafaunal assemblage composition on steep slopes of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Lots of lovely sponges and soft corals to see here!

    Royal Society Open Science (in press.)

    Peripheral seep sediments - how do they influence sediment geochemistry, faunal assemblage structure and trophodynamics?

    Georgieva et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology

    Distribution and ecology of a globally distributed chemosynthetic endemic species, found at sedimented vents, mud volcanoes and more!

    Bell et al. 2013. Deep-Sea Research II

    Megafaunal bioturbation around the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Remarkably similar compositional trends in megafauna and lebensspuren types.


    Also.... 20,484 images analysed!!

    Bell. 2014. Geology Today

    Short piece for the natural hazards section of Geology Today, highlighting the threats posed by submarine methane hydrates

    Ongoing Work

    Planned publications

    Bell et al. (in prep.) Benthic food web modelling at Sedimented Hydrothermal Vents in the Bransfield Strait


    Reid et al. (in prep.) Elucidating trophodynamics at hydrothermal vents using stable isotope analysis


    ...and more

  • Tweets

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  • Public Engagement

    Some times I've talked about science. More on the way!

    Bright Club

    A really cool initiative. In brief, scientists are helped to write a ~10min set that tells the funny side of their research.


    Done it a couple of times now, great fun!! Thanks to the Bright Club Leeds organisers


    Second attempt here - definitely still need practice (in this set, I actually forgot a third of what I'd planned to say, all new material of course)

    I'm a Scientist: Get me out of here!

    An awesome platform for scientists to engage with primary and secondary school age children. Popular questions included: "What's the fastest fish in the sea?"; "Why did you want to be a marine biologist?" and "what's it like being a scientist". We also had some more left field questions like our opinions on eugenics


    Thoroughly enjoyed it, would recommend to anybody!






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