Foras na Mara

Our People – Roxanne Duncan

In 2021, the Marine Institute is profiling our people, sharing their study and career paths, the work they do at the Marine Institute and the important contribution their work delivers.

Roxanne Duncan, Marine InstituteRoxanne Duncan
Scientific and Technical Officer, Fisheries Ecosystems and Advisory Services
Marine Institute

What is your current role at the Marine Institute and what's involved in your daily work?
I am a Scientific and Technical Officer and the stock coordinator for boarfish in the Fisheries Ecosystem and Advisory Services team at the Marine Institute. As the stock coordinator, some of my main tasks are collecting the catch and discard data from the countries that take part in the boarfish fishery, running the stock assessment, presenting the results of the assessment to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) working group and drafting the advice document and report. As a Scientific and Technical Officer, I'm also responsible for preparing and submitting the Irish data for other stocks; for example, blue whiting, horse mackerel and sardines.

What did you study and why?
Since my childhood, I've always been interested in learning about animals, both land and water based. In my undergraduate degree I studied Biology, Marine Biology and Oceanography; the latter two subjects helped me shift to studying marine organisms and how they interact with their environment. I attained my Masters' degree in Biological Oceanography and at this level I focused on developing my technical and statistical skills. My PhD thesis was on understanding the population structure and management of albacore tuna in the North Atlantic Ocean. My doctoral work involved analysing otoliths (the ear stones of teleost fish) and using statistical programs such as 'R' to investigate the presence of subpopulations in the stock. During my doctoral degree, I became familiar with stock assessments and its various models. The knowledge and statistical skills which I have acquired throughout my studies are vital to my role. I continue to use and expand my knowledge as I perform my responsibilities.

What are you interests and passions?
I enjoy spending time outdoors and my two favourite activities are hiking and camping. I've also recently started fishing; I'm not very good at it but I enjoy the process and the anticipation of catching a fish. When I'm not outdoors, I enjoy sewing and painting.

What is the best thing about working in the Marine Institute? What do you enjoy most about your job?
I'm still fascinated by the amount of information that is recorded for different fish stocks. I'm also impressed by all the variables that are used to describe and quantify a fishing trip. What I find satisfying about my job is being able to use this information to answer data calls and to run stock assessments for boarfish or another stock. I also like seeing how everyone's work comes together to present a cohesive picture of a stock's health and condition.

What is something you think everyone should know about the ocean?
It is an amazing but complex ecosystem which nourishes us and makes living on this planet possible - therefore, we need to take care of it.

ENDS