David Curnick Ph.D.

Zoological Society of London


My research seeks to understand the spatial and temporal behaviour patterns of sharks and tuna, and how they are impacted by both marine protected areas and fisheries.

Around the world these apex pelagic predators are under increasing threat from both legal and illegal exploitation. It is therefore vital that we increase our understanding of the role that large MPAs can play in the conservation of these species.

Using a multi-disciplinary approach of electronic tagging, biochemical tracers and fisheries analyses. I am assessing the extent to which the MPA surrounding the Chagos Archipelago provides protection to these commercially important pelagic predators in the Indian Ocean and whether it contains important sites for key life-stages such as breeding and feeding.

I am also investigating the impact of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and fish aggregation devices (FADs) on the MPA and its inhabitants.

Sharks and tuna are key to the health of our oceans and thus humanity. We urgently need to find more effective ways to manage and conserve them.

David Curnick


2019 Present
BPMS Research Fellow at the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
2013 Present
Visiting Lecturer and Examiner at the Royal Veterinary College
2012 Present
Member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission and Mangrove Specialist Group
2009 Present
Committee Member at Reef Conservation UK
2016 2019
Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
2013 2016
Ph.D. Student within the Centre for Diversity and Environment Research, University College London
2009 2013
Marine and Freshwater Programme Coordinator at the Zoological Society of London

My Project

  • Species Distribution and Ecology
    The Ecology and Ecosystem Roles of Reef Sharks in the Indian Ocean MPA
  • Species Distribution and Ecology
    The Importance of the Chagos Archipelago for Pelagic Predators in the Indian Ocean

Other interests

Aside from working on the MPA surrounding the Chagos Archipelago, I am also the marine lead on the Biome Health Project investigating the impact of fishing pressure on coral reef health. I am also on the committee of Reef Conservation UK and an active member of the IUCN Mangrove Specialist Group.

My Publications

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