Prof Katherine Yates

School of Science, Engineering & Environment

Photo of Prof Katherine Yates

Current positions

Professor of Marine & Coastal Management


My academic career started at the University of East Anglia, where I studied Environmental Science and where I first began to really grasp the multi-disciplinarity of environmental management problems. I then spent several years working for conservation NGOs, including Coral Cay Conservation and ARCAS. I returned to University to undertake my MSc at the University of York with Callum Roberts and got interested in marine protected areas and fisheries management. As part of my MSc I won a grant to work in Bermuda and develop spatial conservation plans for their nearshore reefs.

I then worked as a Field Instructor for Ecology Project International, where I had the opportunity to take groups of students to remote field stations for up to two weeks. I delivered a range of classes in tropical ecology and conservation, ran team building exercises and supported the students in conducting independent research projects. Having found my ideal PhD, I returned to the UK to study at Ulster University with Dr David Schoeman and undertake a project looking at Northern Ireland’s network of marine protected areas.

From my PhD I published five papers and provided data that feed directly into the local marine spatial planning process. Whilst at Ulster University I also worked as a tutor on an MSc Coastal Management course and I have published with a number of my students. During my PhD I won a scholarship to spend six months at the University of Queensland in Australia, in the prestigious Centre for Excellence in Environmental Decisions (CEED) with Hugh Possingham.

I stayed in Australia after that and worked as a Postdoctoral Research for the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). There I was developing distribution models for various aspects of fish biodiversity and testing the transferability of those models in space. Since joining Salford in 2016 I have I continued with research on spatial conservation planning, both from ecological and socio-economic perspectives. I have secured four NERC grants, including Knowledge Exchange Fellow working with the UK Marine Management Organisation, exploring barriers and incentives to science-policy collaborations and facilitating the incorporation of cutting-edge science into policy and management. In 2023 I was part of European multinational consortium that secured a 1.5 million Euro Biodiversa bid looking at integrated conservation planning across realms.

I am the Deputy Chair of the Marine Social Sciences Network. The international network established to facilitate knowledge exchange between diverse stakeholders and establish an active community of interdisciplinary researchers. I am also a member of the international ICES expert working group for marine planning and coastal zone management, an inter- and transdisciplinary group that focuses on assessing the key issues in the development of marine plans and making recommendations to address these. I am an Editor of the ICES journal of Marine Science.

In 2021 I took up the role of Director of the Doctoral School, providing strategic leadership for all matters of postgraduate research across the University of Salford. In this exciting and demanding role, I get to support both our postgraduate researchers and their supervisors and I have introduce new training and development programs, new governance policies and new scholarships schemes. My focus is on creating an inclusive and supportive postgraduate research community.

Areas of Research

Biodiversity Conservation Planning, Marine Spatial Management, Stakeholders, Policy, Marine Protected Areas, Fisheries Management

Areas of Supervision

Spatial Conservation Planning
Marine Spatial Planning
Stakeholder engagement in conservation/planning

Qualifications and Recognitions

  • PGCert in Academic Practice

    2017 - 2018
  • PhD in Marine Spatial Management

    2010 - 2014
  • MSc in Marine Environmental Management

    2008 - 2009
  • BSc in Environmental Science

    2000 - 2003