The SMASS team

Dr Andrew Brownlow


Andrew has headed up the strandings team since 2009. As a veterinary pathologist he undertakes most of the post mortem examinations and has oversight for data collection, management and reporting. He has a background in veterinary epidemiology, provides scientific direction to the project and will likely be the face you see wielding a scalpel on our training and outreach courses. Andrew graduated as a vet from the University of Edinburgh in 2000 and completed a PhD in veterinary epidemiology in 2007. Andrew holds a lot of expertise in the field of wildlife disease and is interested in the cumulative effects of disease, physiology and environmental stressors on wild populations.

Nick Davison


Nick is the strandings coordinator, responsible for the collection of marine animal stranding reports and carcases for necropsy. He manages the SMASS database, carries out and assists with post-mortem examinations and contributes to the production of scientific and governmental publications and reports. Nick manages our volunteer network and will most likely be the person answering the phone when you report in a stranding. He is also a highly experienced bacteriologist, and performs determinative bacteriology on all cases that are necropsied. Nick was involved with the development of the UK post-mortem protocols for cetaceans and pinnipeds in the early 1990’s, and brings a lot of expertise to the project having previously worked on stranded marine mammals and as a microbiologist for the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in Cornwall for nearly 27 years.

Mariel ten Doeschate


Mariel joined the team in September 2014, after finishing her MSc in Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology from the University of Aberdeen. Before that she worked for the strandings networks in the Netherlands, which started her interest in strandings and their use for population monitoring. She is our resident data specialist and will be responsible for most of the graphs, charts and statistics we put in our reports. Mariel also manages the sample archives and provides administrative support as well as assistance with the post-mortem examinations.

Ellie MacLennan

Ellie Joined the SMASS team in April 2018 and co-ordinates the Scottish Entanglement Alliance (SEA), a two year EMMF-funded collaboration which aims to work with Scottish inshore creel fishermen to better understand the scale and impacts of marine animal entanglement in our waters. A Skye native with a strong family connection to the local fishing industry, Ellie has experience in working as a commercial diver, as well as in various marine and fisheries research, consultancy and community conservation roles. Prior to joining SMASS Ellie spent time in the USA and Canada worked closely with fishermen, disentanglement teams and fisheries and conservation organisations currently affected by and working to reduce entanglements.