UCL Department of Geography


Jason Lynch

Research Title

A social-ecological approach to understanding the footprint of fisheries on tropical coral reef biodiversity in Fiji.

More about Jason

Research background

I have a multi-disciplinary background that uses an array of fieldwork and laboratory techniques to assess how intertidal ecosystems respond to natural and human-induced pressures. Further to this, I developed a keen interest in how these environments provide a ‘safe haven’ for juvenile fish species and invertebrate communities, yet how little they are valued.


I find myself in the kitchen cooking more and more as to destress from the busy world of academia. I am also a keen footballer and have played both semi-professionally and at university level (including twice internationally). The latter experiences have led me down the rabbit hole of ‘acting’ and I appear as West Ham captain with my university team mates in the Hollywood blockbuster film, The Final Score.


  • 2019 – present: PhD Student, London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership. University College London and Institute of Zoology.
  • 2018 – 2019: Environmental Science Masters by Research, Queen Mary University of London.
  • 2015 – 2018: Environmental Science Bachelor of Science, Queen Mary University of London.
  • 2012 – 2015: Environmental Science Bachelor of Science , Open University.


  • 2020 – present: Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, Independent Study Module, UCL.
  • 2018 – 2019: Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, Geographic Information Systems, Queen Mary University of London.
  • 2016 – 2019: Assistant Laboratory Technician, Physical Geography Laboratories, Queen Mary University of London.
  • 2016: Project Manager, University of Cambridge.
  • 2012 – 2015: Clinical Academic Training Office and Educational Coordinator, University of Cambridge.
  • 2008 – 2012: Medical Recruitment and Training Coordinator, National Health Service (NHS).
Research Interests

Coral reef ecosystems are facing unprecedented natural and human-induced stressors. Declines in reef fish abundance and diversity in Fiji is primarily attributed to overfishing of fish stocks, a key food source and significant staple to the Fijian economy. This research will employ a multi-method approach to assess coral reef ecology across a gradient of human pressure, within the boundaries of associated governance frameworks.

Fish diversity, biomass and community composition will be quantified utilising stereo-video with photogrammetry used to assess habitat complexity, and interwoven with a governance analysis creating an interdisciplinary project to aid local management of inshore reef fisheries.

This project is a collaborative effort working aligning to the Biome Health Project running out of the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research (CBER) whilst working with the funding partner, World Wildlife Fund UK (WWF-UK) and connecting with regional WWF offices.



This research will be used to aid in the management of local fisheries working with local stakeholders and established NGOs.

Research, Grants and Awards
  • A.E. Smailes Prize for my third year dissertation.
  • Draper’s Company College Prize for academic excellence.
  • Environmental Science Outstanding Performance Prize for highest overall grade.
  • Student Services and Contribution Award.
  • Charles Boyden Award: Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association covering Masters fieldwork costs