Our team categories
Susan Davies Chief Executive
Susan was appointed as Chief Executive in January 2019. Her career has been in the public sector firstly for the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) (1989-2000) and then in a range of operational, policy and science roles in Scottish Natural Heritage (2000-15) and latterly was the acting Chief Executive. Susan then moved to the third sector (2015-2018) as the Director of Conservation with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and led a wide variety of land and marine-based activities. Susan is also Chair of Venture Trust and a trustee of the James Hutton Institute.
Helen McDonald Finance Manager
Helen joined the Seabird Centre in December 2018 having moved to East Lothian from Chester. A qualified Accountant, Helen has a wealth of experience in visitor attraction finance management and spent 8 years working in the finance department for Deep Sea Leisure plc which runs various attractions across the UK.
Jess Thompson Marketing Manager
Jess joined the team in 2018. She brings with her a wealth of marketing experience, having spent the last 7 years working in leading Scottish creative agencies, on award-winning projects within the Tourism and Higher Education sectors. A PRINCE 2 qualified project manager, she started her career in publishing, working for international publishing house, Elsevier, before moving into marketing in 2012. Jess sits on the East Lothian Tourism Attraction group and is responsible for the development and delivery of the Scottish Seabird Centre’s Marketing, Social Media and PR strategy.
Carrie Bevan Marketing & Administration Officer
Carrie joined the Scottish Seabird Centre as Administration Assistant in May 2015. With a varied background in chemistry, communications, marketing and more recently bringing up two lively children, she brings a wide range of transferable skills to this role. Carrie moved to North Berwick in 2000, the year the Scottish Seabird Centre opened and after enjoying many visits to the Centre she is very happy to be part of the team.
Charlotte Bray Fundraising Manager
Charlotte joined the team in April 2016. Her experience in the charity sector includes leading successful major building appeals, as well as fundraising for education, conservation and welfare projects. As a long-term volunteer with SOS Puffin, she is pleased to be able to use her skills and enthusiasm to raise funds to increase the work of the charity.
Dora Roden Project Officer
Having enjoyed membership of the Seabird Centre for many years, Dora was delighted to join the staff team in February 2016. She studied Georgraphy at University of Edinburgh, followed by a Masters in GIS. In her role as Project Officer, she draws upon her experience on a wide-range of projects at both British Airways and Standard Life.
Jill Dryburgh Business Support Officer
Jill joined the office team in 2011 and quickly found her way around the many diverse activities that this team handles. Late in 2012 she took on additional responsibility, supporting the Board of Trustees and the Chief Executive. The variety that she encounters on a daily basis means that Jill rarely has a dull day at the office.
Malcolm Watson Science Communicator
Mal joined the Seabird Centre team in 2013. He studied Dramatic Studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama), leaving with an honors in Acting. He worked as a Science Communicator for 14 years, performing in such places as Orkney, Abu Dhabi and New Zealand. He is now responsible for delivering fun science shows for all ages within and around the Centre.
Rosamunde Attwood Finance Assistant
Rosamunde joined the finance team in August 2016. She brings with her many years of experience working in finance roles in varying fields of industry.
Fran Clark Education Officer
Fran joined the Seabird Centre team as a volunteer in 2016. She studied marine biology with ecology and conservation and went on to complete a PGCE at university. Fran has worked in various roles at the Centre, before becoming Education Officer in 2018. Fran enjoys all aspects of her role in educating and communicating the values of the Scottish Seabird Centre to children and adults.
Emily Burton Conservation Projects Officer
Emily joined the Scottish Seabird Centre team as the Volunteer Coordinator in 2019 and has since taken on the role of Conservation Projects Offcier. She has worked with several conservation charities in the past, including the RSPB, WDC and Birdlife Malta, where her main responsibilities were managing and delivering education programmes and projects. Alongside her work at the Seabird Centre, Emily is also the Associate Director of the UK youth conservation network A Focus On Nature, working to connect more young people with training opportunities and careers in conservation.
Charlotte Foster Marine Engagement Officer
Charlotte joined the team in 2019 and oversees the centre’s outreach programme. She comes from a background in marine science and has previously worked for a number of outdoor education, citizen science and environmental conservation groups. Her role as Marine Engagement Officer is to expand the centre’s onsite education programme to reach new audiences across the country and raise awareness of Scotland’s wonderful marine life. Whether it be running stands at science festivals, talks in schools, guided wildlife walks, or developing online resources, she enjoys engaging people in marine science.
Chris is a semi-retired lawyer who was previously a partner in 2 major Scottish law firms specialising in construction contracts and major projects. He has been accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a construction specialist. He is now involved in a number of different fields including advising a business start-up, a Council Member of Mortonhall Golf Club and a Vestry Member at Christ Church, Morningside. Chris has been a supporter of the Seabird Centre for many years and is particularly keen on wildlife photography.
Dr Stephen Breslin
Dr Stephen Breslin is Chief Executive Officer of Glasgow Science Centre and is committed to stimulating peoples’ interest in science and helping them to discover the pleasure and relevance in science, engineering and technology. The Science Centre is a five star attraction and plays a pivotal role in Scotland’s science infrastructure; Stephen is dedicated in driving it forward to become a key player in inspiring the scientists and engineers of tomorrow through hands-on engagement. Previously, Stephen was Chief Executive Officer of Futurelab Education and Chief Executive Officer with The Kelvin Institute Ltd, a joint venture between the University of Strathclyde, the University of Glasgow and Scottish Enterprise. Stephen has been a professional within the science and engineering industry for over 20 years, starting his career as an engineering consultant seconded to the Royal Navy at Clyde Submarine base, Faslane.
After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in London Elizabeth explored a range of careers ranging from investment banking to plant propagation at the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens. Eventually returning to the UK Elizabeth settled into a career with the NHS working in senior finance roles. During her years working with the NHS Elizabeth developed the approach to demonstrating value for money in the not-for-profit environment, led the establishment of a new finance team and worked within a turnaround team. More recently Elizabeth has moved to North Berwick where she works at Leuchie House as the Head of Finance. Outside of work Elizabeth enjoys gardening, golf and bridge.
Martha is an ICAS qualified chartered accountant and strategic finance professional with over 20 years’ experience of working across various business sectors; holding a broad range of senior financial roles in the UK and internationally. She spent 17 years working in the whisky industry including 7 years as the Finance Director of The Glenmorangie Company Ltd. More recently, Martha has set up her own Virtual Finance Director consultancy firm, Black Ink, providing on-demand strategic finance support to SMEs and scale up companies; helping them navigate business challenges and deliver growth. Martha has recently moved to East Lothian and is a strong admirer of the Seabird Centre and its important role in East Lothian and beyond.
Dr Charlotte Hopkins
Charlotte is a Lecturer in Marine Biology at the University of Hull where she teaches marine biology and marine conservation to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Her research interests include understanding human perceptions of the marine environment and how these can be incorporated into conservation planning, marine management and sustainable use. Charlotte has a PhD in marine conservation policy which specifically researched how to consider climate change in the Scottish Marine Protected Area (MPA) network. Other research has included work on sustainable fisheries management in Bangladesh, coral reef health in Egypt and shark fin commodity chains in Madagascar. Charlotte previously worked as a Marine Policy Officer for Scottish Environment LINK providing specialist scientific knowledge and leading on the production of government consultation responses, detailed policy briefings and scientific reports. Charlotte is also a SCUBA diving instructor and particularly loves diving along the North Berwick coastline.
Stuart Housden Chair
Stuart was appointed as Chairman in January 2021. Formerly RSPB Scotland’s Director, Stuart brings a wealth of charity experience and networks to the role, alongside a life-long knowledge and passion for nature conservation. A Zoology graduate, Stuart joined the staff of the RSPB in 1976 where he built the organisation’s policy, planning and advocacy programmes. In 1994 he became Director of RSPB Scotland and a member of its UK Board. His work involved developing strategic plans that saw the considerable growth of the organisation in terms of public support, income and impact. He retired from RSPB in October 2017. He was made an OBE in 2005, awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) for services to farming and conservation in 2009 and became an Honorary Fellow of Scottish Environment link in 2018. Stuart is also a member of the National Trust for Scotland’s natural heritage advisory board. Stuart is currently a member of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, where he has continued to be an advocate of the need to invest in Scotland’s natural assets.
Richard is passionate about education, particularly marine science communication and outdoor learning. His work focuses on the sustainable supply chain management of small-scale capture fisheries. He is particularly interested in the role of seagrass meadows in providing local food security and is currently working with an international team on an International Climate Initiative (IKI) project in the Indo-Pacific with this focus. His domestic work is focussed on developing and facilitating seagrass meadow (Zostera marina) restoration projects across Scotland.
Hamish is Chief Operating Officer of the Association of Research Managers and Administrators, a membership association established to provide learning and networking opportunities for those in the research services profession. He was previously Director of the University of Edinburgh's Research Office and, prior to this, he had a varied career in retail, tourism, marketing and event management, with particular experience of charity, higher education and third sectors. He was a Council member of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. Hamish is an enthusiastic amateur gardener, with a particular interest in garden history, country house gardens and designed landscapes. He is Chair of the Scottish Seabird Centre’s Trading Company and a member of the Finance, Audit & Risk Committee.
Diana has worked in the cultural and historic environment sector for over 40 years and was the Chief Executive of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and also joint CEO of Historic Scotland until October 2015. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and an Honorary Fellow of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh; a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a fellow of the Scottish Royal Geographical Society and a member if the Institute of Directors. She was for many years a non-executive director of the National Trust for Scotland and is currently the Chair of Arts and Business Scotland, as well as serving as a trustee of a number of other Scottish charities. The Murray family are founder members of the Seabird Centre and residents of East Lothian.
Professor David Paterson
David holds a personal chair in Coastal Ecology at the University of St Andrews, and for 10 years has been the Executive Director of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS). After school in Edinburgh and undergraduate study at Glasgow University, he moved to Bath University to complete a Ph.D. and then to Bristol University where he stayed for 8 years and was a recipient of a Royal Society University Research Fellowship before being appointed to a lectureship at the Gatty Marine Laboratory, University of St Andrews. There he established the Sediment Ecology Research Group (SERG), also know as the “mud lab”, and continued his work on the dynamics and ecology of intertidal and coastal systems. He has worked at sites around the world including the Bahamas, Germany, France, Italy (Venice) and Australia, as well as the Eden and Tay estuaries in Scotland. Recent research involves biodiversity, ecosystem function and ecosystem service relationships, under global change particularly the effects multiple stressors (ocean acidification, temperature and pollutants such as microplastics and pharmaceuticals). Often working with government and regulators, he also Chairs the Sullom Voe Oil Terminal Environmental Advisory Group and has an interest in the ecology of offshore structures and decommissioning. He has been a trustee to the MBA and SAMS before joining the Scottish Seabird Centre in the same role.
Tessa has led digital transformation in heritage, financial, government and third sectors for over 20 years. She is currently the digital service owner of Managed Quarantine for people travelling into Scotland, part of Scottish Government's Covid-19 Response. Tessa has previously led digital strategy and programmes for the British Film Institute, National Galleries of Scotland, National Trust for Scotland and Royal London Group. She was a Trustee for community arts charity Impact Arts and served for 3 years on the British Council's Digital Advisory Board. She has a real passion for using technology to change lives for the better and envisaging how digital can transform business outcomes and customer experiences.
Appointed as a Trustee for Scotland's Year of Young People 2018, Philip is Head of Policy and Operations at Open Seas, an organisation working to improve the sustainability of our seafood and health of our seas. He is a passionate and committed environmentalist and has been at it since his teens. He brings experience specifically relevant to marine and seabird conservation, having worked for several years at RSPB Scotland leading seabird conservation work, including projects like the Shiant Isles Recovery and BirdLife International, working to identify and protect some of the world's most important patches of sea and on reducing Albatross bycatch in the world's tuna fisheries. Philip's real passion lies in engaging people with the natural world, and thinking about the future of our environment.
Professor Steve Votier
Steve is Professor of Seabird Ecology & Conservation at the Lyell Centre, Heriot-Watt University. He has 15 years’ experience working in tertiary education - teaching and researching marine biology at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth. Prior to this, he completed his PhD and post-doctoral research at the Universities of Glasgow and Sheffield and a Fellowship in Spain, studying seabird fishery interactions and demography. His research focusses on understanding seabirds’ behavioural and demographic response to a rapidly changing world in temperate, polar and tropical seas. He first visited Bass Rock in 2002 and this was influential in his decision to begin a long-term study of gannets on Grassholm, Wales, in 2005. He is passionate about engendering a love of the marine environment - from plankton at the base to seabirds at the top of the food chain - drawing on first-hand field experiences to help. His research includes the use of new technologies such as bird-borne loggers and ‘big-data’ to address important conservation questions and make as many people as possible stakeholders in our fabulous marine resources. An avid birder since he can remember, Steve is a member of the British Birds Editorial Board, the British Birds Rarities Committee and is the outgoing Chair of the Seabird Group.
Louise Macdonald, the national director for the Institute of Directors and former CEO of Young Scot, is our first ambassador for the Centre. Louise's passion for championing and supporting children and young people in shaping their own futures is greatly admired. Also, a great lover of wild places and the benefits to wellbeing from being connected with nature. Louise will challenge how we engage with children and young people and support us in forging new partnerships that help inspire them to care for, and challenge all of us, to protect Scotland’s amazing marine wildlife.