Nicole Esteban Ph.D.

Swansea University


My current research investigates the movement ecology of hawksbill and green turtles within the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)

I am a marine ecologist interested in developing our understanding of current and future animal movements within marine and coastal habitats. I apply that knowledge to the development of appropriate conservation policies for long term protection of species and their habitats. I have been also studying sea turtles in the British Indian Ocean Territory since 2012, working closely with Prof. Graeme Hays from Deakin University and Dr Jeanne Mortimer who is based in the Seychelles.

During 2012-2018, we satellite tracked 35 post-nesting green turtles (Chelonia mydas) using Fastloc-GPS telemetry and recorded a huge range in migrations, from 75 km within the BIOT MPA to >4000 km to distant foraging grounds on the East coast of Africa. Our current work in the Western Indian Ocean, includes use of satellite telemetry to increase our understanding of key nesting and foraging grounds for both green turtles and the critically endangered hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). We are also conducting long-term monitoring of sea turtle nesting and foraging populations in BIOT. This includes long-term records of sand temperature to assess likely sea turtle hatchling sex ratios and hatching success.

Our satellite tracking research in the British Indian Ocean Territory has led to discoveries of extensive seagrass meadows on the Great Chagos Bank at unexpected depths of 25-30 meters, providing critical habitats for juvenile fish populations and foraging green turtles.

Nicole Esteban


2019 Present
Lecturer in Marine Biology, Swansea University, UK
2017 2019
Research Fellow, Bioscience Department, Swansea University, UK
2010 2017
SEACAMS Project Manager, Swansea University, UK
2011 2016
Part-time Ph.D. : Ecology of sea turtles in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean
2003 2010
Marine and Terrestrial Park Manager, St Eustatius, Netherlands Antilles
2000 2003
Environmental Consultant, MRAG Ltd, London, UK
1998 1999
MSc. Tropical Coastal Management, Newcastle University, UK
1994 1998
BSc. (Hons). Marine Biology, Swansea University, UK

My Project

  • Improving MPA Management
    Reducing the Impacts of Plastic on the BIOT Natural Environment
  • Sentinel Species Research
    The Ecology of Sea Turtles in the British Indian Ocean Territory

Other interests

Currently investigating the impacts of plastics on sea turtles and hoping to use results to influence use of plastic in BIOT. Darwin Initiative funded project (2019-2022): Reducing the impacts of plastic on the BIOT natural environment.

My Publications