Nicole Esteban Ph.D., FHEA, MSc

Swansea University


I am a marine ecologist interested in developing our understanding of animal movements within marine and coastal habitats; and applying that knowledge to development of appropriate conservation policies for effective protection of species and their habitats.

I have been studying sea turtles in the Chagos Archipelago since 2012, working closely with Professor Graeme Hays and Dr Jeanne Mortimer.

During 2012-2021, we satellite tracked 36 post-nesting green turtles (Chelonia mydas) using Fastloc – GPS telemetry and recorded a huge range in migrations, from 75 km within the MPA surrounding the Chagos Archipelago to >5000 km to distant foraging grounds on the east coast of Africa, including Mozambique, Kenya and Somalia. Our current work includes use of satellite telemetry and other technologies such as drones and loggers to increase our understanding of key nesting and foraging grounds for immature and adult stages of both green turtles and the critically endangered hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the Western Indian Ocean. We are also conducting long-term monitoring of sea turtle nesting and foraging populations in the Chagos Archipelago, including long-term records of sand temperature to assess likely sea turtle hatchling sex ratios and hatching success.

Our satellite tracking research in the Chagos Archipelago has led to incredible discoveries of extensive seagrass meadows on the Great Chagos Bank at unexpected depths of 25-30 metres – providing critical habitats for juvenile fish populations and foraging green turtles.

Nicole Esteban


2019 Present
Associate Professor in Marine Biology, Swansea University, UK
2017 2019
Research Fellow, Bioscience Department, Swansea University, UK
2011 2016
Part-time Ph.D. : Ecology of sea turtles in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean
2010 2017
SEACAMS Project Manager, Swansea University, UK
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

  • Island Reef Connections
    Reducing the Impacts of Plastic around the Indian Ocean Natural Environment
  • Species Distribution and Ecology
    Conservation of Sea Turtles in the Indian Ocean Region

Other interests

Currently investigating the effects of macro- and microplastics on sea turtle incubation conditions using a range of field and controlled laboratory conditions. This research is funded by DEFRA Darwin Plus project (2019-2022): Reducing the impacts of plastic on the Chagos Archipelago natural environment.

My Publications

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