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In memoriam - Clare Greathead

We are deeply saddened to inform about the passing of our colleague Clare Greathead.
Published: 28 July 2020
​​Silvana Birchenough, Steven Degraer, and Paolo Magni on behalf of ICES Benthos Ecology Working Group

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Clare Greathead died on Friday 24 July, following a long illness.  

​In recent years, Clare worked as a benthic ecologist in the Ecology and Conservation group at Marine Scotland Science (MSS), Aberdeen. Ever since her MSc project, she has retained a long-standing interest in Pennatulids (sea pens). As one of MSS's experts on benthic habitats, her work contributed to advice on benthic impacts of fisheries and marine protected areas (MPAs). 

Clare was a member of ICES Benthic Ecology Working Group (BEWG) and the group wish to recognize Clare and her efforts to bring the conservation angle to our work. In 2014, she presented “Distribution and environmental requirements for three sea pen species and the implications for marine protected areas”, inspiring us to work on benthos and MPAs from 2015 onwards. 

Clare led the recent BEWG paper, "A generic framework to assess the representation and protection of benthic ecosystems in European marine protected areas", which summarizes the efforts of 20 benthologists, all active participants of BEWG. Assessing 102 MPAs, the research assessed the role of benthos in regard to the designation of MPAs, management measures used, and monitoring and assessment. The results found that while over 70% of MPA case studies considered the benthos to some extent during selection and designation, there were clear gaps with the appropriate management measures and good practice during the implementation phase. The authors emphasize that some of these challenges could be attributable to an ongoing process and/or an indication that some MPAs only have a superficial level of "paper protection". BEWG acknowledges Clare’s efforts, dedication, and ideas that supported, guided, and completed this work. This paper will be a fantastic legacy for benthic ecology and conservation.

Professionally, Clare was a great ben​thologist: responsible, diligent, and with an interest in sea pens and conservation. ​On a personal level, she was sociable, kind, and always supportive of friends and colleagues. Clare will certainly be missed by all that knew her, and her contributions will be remembered by benthologists, conservationists, and beyond. 
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In memoriam - Clare Greathead

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