Sophia Coveney MSc

Swansea University


I am using molecular biology to investigate the foraging ecology of sea turtles in the Western Indian Ocean.

It is critical to identify and protect the habitats of endangered hawksbill and green turtles. To do this effectively, we require knowledge of their diet and feeding areas, but currently little is known about the diet of immature sea turtles in key developmental habitats within the Western Indian Ocean.

Using a combination of laboratory-based methods including DNA metabarcoding, microbiome characterisation and stable isotope analysis, I hope to describe diet composition, identify foraging habitats and better inform conservation planning for green and hawksbill turtles in the Western Indian Ocean. This research will help to conserve the two species and the diverse ecosystems they contribute to.

I also aim to contribute to the application of molecular biology to sea turtle diet research, optimising DNA metabarcoding methodology in order to inform the future of the field. Developments in molecular biology are providing powerful new techniques for monitoring marine trophic ecology, which is becoming increasingly important as the environmental conditions change in our oceans.

Recent molecular biology developments can provide powerful new techniques for monitoring and preserving marine life as the biodiversity crisis heightens. I hope to use these techniques to contribute to conserving sea turtles, the animals that inspired my career, and the marine ecosystems they form an integral part of.

Sophia Coveney


2023 Present
PhD Student - Swansea University, UK
2022 2023
Research Fellow - MARE-ISPA, Lisboa
2021 2022
MSc in Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation - University of Exeter, UK
2019 2022
Sea Turtle Conservation Field Leader - Wildlife Sense, Kefalonia, Greece
2016 2019
BSc in Biology and Psychology - Durham University, UK

Other Interests

I am interested in population biology using genetics and genomics, particularly regarding migratory marine species. Other research I am involved with examines the population structure and movements of Atlantic green turtles using mitochondrial DNA.