Specialist Consultancy

Meet the FjordStrong Team

As a commercial spinout from the Queen's University Marine Laboratory, our team includes benthic and pelagic ecologists, fisheries scientists, elasmobranch specialists, bio-statisticians and 3D imaging analysts. Our academic involvement ensures our clients benefit from emergent analysis techniques and data processing methods. Our advisory panel includes research-active experts at the forefront of marine policy and regulation ensuring our advice is up to date with the latest directives at a local, regional, national and EU scale.

Our clients include:

Ruairí GallagherCEO and Ecological Consultant
Ruairí possesses a diverse and heavily applied Marine Biology and Aquatic Engineering background, with experience across Europe at research institutes, government agencies and International Councils. Specialised in oceanography and fisheries, he has extensive knowledge of marine ecology and biodiversity management through applied research involving genetics, acoustics and destructive trawling. It is these experiences that fuel Ruairi’s aim of establishing an alternative method for biodiversity assessments, in addition to forming his optimism for balancing healthy oceans with a sustainable blue economy.

Mary McKenna - Business & Strategy Advisor
An exited entrepreneur and angel investor, Mary left her professional career as a corporate accountant in 2006, to co-found Northern Ireland- based Learning Pool, an online learning platform and community. Since selling her Learning Pool stake in 2014, Mary has focused on being an active Angel investor and innovation expert, focusing on areas including EdTech, HealthTech, CareTech and SportsTech - and recently Marine Consveration Tech. She is an EU Horizon Europe innovation judge, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Oxford and in 2020 along with some like-minded friends she launched the AwakenHub community for female founders across the island of Ireland. Mary was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the 2014 New Year’s Honours for services to digital technology, innovation and learning.

Dr Patrick Collins - Benthic Ecologist & Elasmobranch Specialist
Dr Collins is a lecturer in marine biology focusing on marine policy and benthic ecology. His extensive experiences within environmental consultancy, policy advice and conservation of endangered species will ensure your project's success across all dimensions without impacting the health of our ecosystems.

Dr Jon Houghton - Marine policy and ecology advisor
Dr Houghton is a senior lecturer in marine biology focusing on the ecology and movement patterns of large bodied animals including finfish, sharks and turtles. He has extensive experience serving as an advisor for government policy, such as his role assessing climate change impacts on migratory species for the UK government which lead to a statutory requirement (CMS 1979). Dr Houghton's role in FjordStrong ensures your project will benefit from expert ecological consulting while conforming to the latest guidance on marine policy.

Dr James Thorburn - Elasmobranch Specialist
Dr Thorburn is a Post Doctoral researcher focusing on elasmobranchs, marine protected areas and conservation policy. He also works on ethical welfare. He has extensive experience with tracking large marine species in a range of habitats.

Sophie Loca - Data Analyst
Sophie Loca specialises in the analysis of ecological data to inform species conservation and management. She has experience working on large fisheries bycatch datasets, visual observational data and animal-borne tracking data. She uses these data to understand the movements, behaviours, and habitat use of wild species in relation to global pressures and human communities. Sophie also has strong experience in researching the human component of conservation using questionnaire-based approaches.

Reece Mills - 3D Video Analyst
As a marine biology student at Queen’s University, Belfast, Reece completed a year of professional work placement with us where he excelled in photogrammetry processing and video analysis for ecological data.

Samuel Smith - Field Technician & Inventory Manager
Sam is a PhD Student at Queen’s University Belfast. His work focuses on exploring ecological interactions between marine species, and is interested in how those interactions are important for environmental stability and resilience. He has experience with fisheries management and policy at an inter-governmental level, and is keen to promote a ‘whole-ecosystem’ approach to environmental conservation.