Seascape Consultants was established in 2010 to provide solutions and high-level advice to the rapidly developing offshore sector including industry, policymakers and regulatory bodies. Our team of scientific specialists provide expertise in the fields of ocean governance, marine biodiversity, ecosystems, seafloor geological processes and habitat mapping. Data management, legislative advice and programme management is a key part of our portfolio with our senior partners enjoying well-established and productive relationships with stakeholders across the EU and internationally.
Professor David Johnson, Director
Professor David Johnson trained as a physical geographer and completed an MSc in Recreational Land Management (National Parks) in 1982. He spent time as a Royal Navy officer (hydrography, fishery protection), co-ordinated practical conservation work (habitat restoration), and practised as an independent environmental consultant (EIAs, environmental auditing, corporate social reporting). In 1992 he joined Southampton Solent University as a Senior Lecturer in marine resource management, becoming first Head of the Maritime Studies Department and in 2003 Professor of Coastal and Ocean Management. He completed his PhD on the ecosystem goods and services of intertidal wetlands in 1998 and was a short-term Caird Fellow of the UK National Maritime Museum in 2002.
In 2006, David was appointed as Executive Secretary to the OSPAR Commission, the international convention for the environmental protection of the North-East Atlantic. He was intensively involved in the production of the OSPAR Quality Status Report 2010 and subsequent regional implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Amongst other achievements, David coordinated and negotiated legislation for carbon capture and storage in deep sea geological formations (2007), Recommendations for the management of threatened and/or declining deep sea species and habitats (2010/11), and the establishment of the world’s first network of marine protected areas in Area Beyond National Jurisdiction (2010/2012). David has convened Ministerial meetings for both the OSPAR Commission and the Bonn Agreement, moderated sessions for both the United Nations Environment Programme and the Convention on Biological Diversity, and presented at many high-level meetings including the UN Working Group, Preparatory Committee and subsequent Intergovernmental Conferences on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction.
David has also successfully concluded and operationalised partnership arrangements between OSPAR and the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission, the International Maritime Organisation and the International Seabed Authority. He is currently registered as a GESAMP expert and is a Visiting Professor at the World Maritime University in Sweden. David is the Coordinator for the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI) and led the science-policy interface work in the EU ATLAS project. Most recently, studies have been undertaken for UNEP (Regional Seas Programme and the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework) and FAO (cross-sector impacts on deep-sea fisheries).
Dr Vikki Gunn, Director
Dr Vikki Gunn trained as a geologist and completed her PhD in mining geology and petrology at the University of Southampton in 2002. Shortly afterwards, Vikki took up a position as a Project Manager at the National Oceanography Centre, and now has over 15 years’ experience in managing EC-funded multidisciplinary marine research, dating back to the EUROSTATAFORM project in Framework Five. She was the Project Manager for the FP6 HERMES project and supervised the project management team for the FP7-funded HERMIONE project, as well as leading the outreach and training activities for HERMIONE. Vikki also has over 4 years’ experience as the senior administrator and divisional manager for the Directorate of Science and Technology at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton (2009-2013). Vikki joined Seascape Consultants in 2013, bringing expertise in project coordination, communication, stakeholder liaison, project planning, reporting and reviews. She managed the EU H2020 MIDAS project on deep-sea mining and currently provides programme management and coordination support for the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI). She also led the knowledge sharing activities for the H2020 STEMM-CCS project, and currently coordinates the work on capacity building, policy, stakeholder engagement and outreach in the iAtlantic programme.
Dr Christopher Barrio Frojan, GOBI Project Officer
Chris is an applied biologist with a background in taxonomy and biodiversity research (BSc and MSc from Imperial College and the Natural History Museum, London). He has spent the past 10 years working as a benthic ecologist for the UK government after attaining his PhD in Oceanography from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. Over the years, Chris has contributed to national and international interdisciplinary projects, gathering, processing and presenting evidence in support of marine protected area designation, mapping habitats and biological resources, investigating the effects of man’s activities on the environment, recommending management strategies for resource sustainability, advising Government on the ecological aspects of licensing offshore developments, and participating in capacity building initiatives. Chris joined Seascape Consultants Ltd in September 2016 as part of the GOBI Secretariat team.
Professor Philip Weaver, Associate Consultant
Professor Phil Weaver trained as a geologist and completed a PhD in micropalaeontology in 1978. He joined the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences in the UK in 1980 and transferred with them to the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton in 1995. Through most of his career he has been involved in studies of sedimentary processes in the deep ocean, especially investigating the history of landslides from the Canary Islands and NW African margin. In 1993 he was co-chief scientist on an International Ocean Drilling Project to the Canary Basin that studied the volcanic development of Gran Canaria and the history of continental margin erosion by landsliding and sediment mass wasting. He has conducted many investigations around the world into sediment stability on continental margins, including numerous site and pipeline investigations for the hydrocarbon industry.
Phil was the scientific coordinator of the highly successful FP6 HERMES project (2005-2009) and its FP7 successor, the HERMIONE project (2009-2012). These two projects led him to develop a strong interest in sustainable management of the deep sea, and led to a role coordinating the MIDAS project (2013-2016) that investigated the environmental impacts of deep-sea mining. This programme brought together a group of scientists, legal experts, policy makers and industrial partners to understand the potential scale of the environmental issues, and resulted in a number of recommendations to aid the development of regulations for this new industry. Phil was also involved in the recently-completed Blue Nodules project where his role was to identify where improved deep-sea mining equipment design can reduce environmental impacts, and the EIT-funded Blue Harvesting project. Currently, Phil is coordinating an EU-funded initiative to work in partnership with the International Seabed Authority to assist them in developing a regional environmental management plan for sulphide mining in the Atlantic.
Professor Weaver was Director of the NERC Strategic Research Division at NOC from 2006 – 2010. He left NOC in 2010 to set up Seascape Consultants Ltd, though he remains a Senior Visiting Fellow of NOC and still actively publishes his research in leading marine science journals. Phil retired from Seascape in December 2021, but remains a close collaborator.