Antony Knights Ph.D.

University of Plymouth


The dispersal and recruitment of early life stages (larvae) of marine organisms is fundamental to the distribution of life in our oceans.
Understanding these processes and the mechanisms that affect them is essential. It supports our efforts to protect biodiversity and install sustainable management practices. Moreover, it allows us to combat climate change from our coastal seas to the deep ocean.
Assessing the distribution of adults and larvae across depth gradients and understanding their physical environment helps us understand patterns of biodiversity. Sea mounts, or underwater mountains, are hot-spots of biodiversity. Yet, we still know little about the processes that structure the community of marine organisms associated with them.
The British Indian Ocean Territory’s sea mounts are largely unimpacted by human activities. They provide a unique opportunity for us to explore the role of sea mounts in supporting marine biodiversity. Additionally, it promotes further understanding of how ocean currents influence the distribution of marine organisms across marine landscapes

Understanding the link between larval dispersal and recruitment patterns is fundamental. It enables us to predict the distribution of marine species, identification of areas of high biodiversity value, and the development of effective conservation measures.

Antony Knights


2018 Present
Associate Professor of Marine Ecology, University of Plymouth
2014 2018
Lecturer in Marine Ecology, University of Plymouth
2013 2014
Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow, National University of Ireland, Galway
2010 2013
Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Liverpool
2008 2010
Senior Marine Scientist, APEM Ltd
2006 2008
Visiting Professor and postdoctoral research associate, Coastal Carolina University, USA
2003 2006
Ph.D. Student, University College Cork, Ireland

My Projects

  • Island Reef Connections
    Mesophotic Reefs in the Indian Ocean Region
  • Species Distribution and Ecology
    Internal Waves as an Oceanographic Driver of Ecosystem Variability

Other interests

I am interested in mechanisms that facilitate the dispersal and persistence of marine populations under climate change. Most recently, my research focusses on two aspects: the role of climate change (i.e. changes in ocean acidification and sea-surface temperature) on the functioning of marine invertebrates, especially bivalves grown for aquaculture; and understanding the role of swimming in supporting early life-histories of marine invertebrates to move across marine landscapes, for instance, using tides to facilitate their transport.

I also work extensively on understanding how human activities combine to threaten large marine ecosystems, and the development of risk-based modelling approaches to mitigate their impacts and direct management toward the most harmful activities.