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Mrs Sophie Nedelec

Mrs Sophie Nedelec

Mrs Sophie Nedelec

Research Collaborator

Area of research

Effects of man-made noise on fish development and behaviour

Life Sciences Building,
24 Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TQ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 39 41415


Fish are dependent on their auditory systems for communication, orientation and evaluation of ‘acoustic daylight’, but could be under threat from rising levels of anthropogenic noise. Boats, ships, construction, resource extraction, and other human activities create underwater noise that could cause tissue damage, auditory threshold shifts, masking and a range of behavioural changes. Fish provide a vital food source to millions of people and form crucial links in many food webs, studying their development and behaviour can give us an insight into population and community level impacts of noise that are relevant to species survival and evolution.

Ships are the most widespread source of chronic noise and during my PhD I will investigate how this affects the vulnerable developmental stages of fish. I plan to test how ship noise affects fluctuating asymmetry (a measure of an animal's ability to deal with environmental stress), growth, responses to natural sounds, auditory thresholds (using auditory evoked potentials), behaviour, and whether different behavioural types are better equiped to deal with noise stress.

I am working under the supervision of Drs. Andy Radford, Marc Holderied and David Lecchini, with Steve Simpson, Julia Purser, Irene Vollmy and Rick Bruintjes. Our research pages can be found here. Part of my work is based in the UK on threatened yet commercially important species such as cod, the other part is based at CRIOBE in French Polynesia on a variety of species inhabiting fragile coral reef ecosystems.


Academic Qualifications

2011-2015: Ph.D, University of Bristol and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes: "Impacts of anthropogenic noise on behaviour, development and fitness of fishes and invertebrates". Supervisors: Dr. Andy Radford, Dr. Steve Simpson and Dr. David Lecchini.

2009-2010: M.Sc by research, University of Bristol: "The Impact of Ship Noise on Three-Spined Stickleback Behaviour". Supervisor: Dr. Andy Radford. Awarded commendation for excellence in a masters thesis by the faculty of Science, University of Bristol.

2006-2009: B.Sc (Hons) Zoology, University of Durham. Third year project: "Could playbacks of loud calls mitigate crop-raiding behaviour by Buton macaques?" Supervisors: Dr. Phil Stephens and Dr. Nancy Pristol. First class (85%).


Research Experience

2011: Lead Scientist, Humpback whale monitoring project, Western Australia Marine Science Institute (WAMSI)

2011: Laboratory assistant, Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Perth: Investigating effect of extreme climatic events on fish growth using otolith biochronologies.

2010-2011: Field assistant, Le Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l’Environnement de Polynésie Française (CRIOBE): Investigating the effect of boat noise on adult and larval coral reef fish.



Demonstrating and marking BSc Hons student practicals, University of Bristol

L1 Diversity of life, L2 Evolutionary Biology, Acquisition of Behaviour

2009-2010 Author for AQA Biology A level teaching and revision material.
2009-2010 Co-supervision of two BSc Hons students: Projects on effects of noise on stickleback behaviour.

Demonstrating and marking BSc student practicals, University of Bristol

L1 Diversity of life, L2 Behavioural Ecology



  • Animal behaviour
  • Sensory ecology
  • Bioacoustics
  • Anthropogenic disturbance
  • Learning and cognition


  • Playback experiments
  • auditory brainstem response audiometry
  • acoustic analysis

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Networks & contacts

  • Suzie Mills

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