Cormac Booth

Rachael Sinclair

(formerly Plunkett)

Senior Scientist (Europe)


Rachael  is a Senior Scientist at SMRU Consulting Europe. She has two years’ background conducting visual marine mammal surveys from land and boats and now has six years experience in marine mammal consultancy. Rachael has conducted a wide array of industry funded project work including the production of Environmental Impact Assessments and supporting documents, collision risk modelling, population modelling and survey design and coordination.

Degrees and Education

  • 2011 University of St Andrews, MRes Marine Mammal Science. Distinction for the dissertation: Habitat use of the South Abaco Island bottlenose dolphin community.
  • 2010 Aberdeen University BSc Hons Marine Biology (1st Class)


Rachael has been working in the field of marine mammal science for eight years. She has two years experience conducting visual marine mammal surveys investigating the impacts of swim-with-dolphin tourism and on a long term bottlenose dolphin photo-ID project. As a consulting scientist within the SMRU Consulting Europe team she has experienced a range of consultancy work for various industries and sectors including offshore renewables, offshore civil engineering and oil and gas. Rachael has conducted a wide array of industry funded project work including the production of Environmental Statements and supporting documents, collision risk modelling, population modelling and survey design and coordination.

  • Production of and input into baseline characterisation, noise impact assessments, ES chapters, habitats regulations assessments, shadow EPS assessments and marine mammal monitoring protocols for offshore wind farms including: Dounreay Tri, Thanet Extension, Moray West, Hornsea Three, Seagreen Phase 1 and Hornsea Four.
  • Analytical work including collision risk modelling for tidal devices and population trajectory modelling using the iPCoD model for offshore wind farms, cumulative assessments and tidal device collision impacts.
  • Main GIS specialist at SMRU Consulting.
  • Visual marine mammal survey projects including designing surveys and protocols, acting as survey co-ordinator and analysing and reporting data.
  • Involved in designing and implementing a novel photographic geo-referencing technique to obtain more accurate sighting location data during land based vantage point surveys at the Skerries tidal array site.
  • Experienced in identifying marine mammal species from digital still images obtained during aerial surveys and using photogrammetry methods to assess the health of populations.
  • Experience on various PAM projects conducting analysis of data for baseline site characterisation and underwater noise monitoring during construction works.
  • Trained in spatial modelling methods for correlated data and distance sampling.


Hornsea Project Four Offshore Wind Farm. Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR), Volume 2, Chapter 4: Marine Mammals. August 2019.

Verfuss, U.K., Sinclair, R.R. & Sparling, C.E. (2019). A review of noise abatement systems for offshore wind farm construction noise, and the potential for their application in Scottish waters. Scottish Natural Heritage Research Report No. 1070.

Sinclair, RR & Booth, CG. (2019). Aerial survey data for monitoring harbour porpoise population health. Report Number SMRUC-BEI-2019-003 Provided to BEIS, March 2019.

Hornsea Project Four Offshore Wind Farm. EIA: Scoping Report, Chapter 6.5 Marine Mammals. October 2018.

Seagreen Alpha and Bravo. EIA Report Volume I, Chapter 10 – Marine Mammals. September 2018.

Seagreen Alpha and Bravo. EIA Report Volume III, Appendix 10A – Marine Mammal Baseline Technical Report. September 2018.

Moray West Offshore Wind Farm. EIA Report Volume 2, Chapter 9 – Marine Mammals. July 2018.

Moray West Offshore Wind Farm. EIA Report Volume 4, Technical Appendix 9.1 – Marine Mammal Baseline Characterisation Report. July 2018.

Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm. Environmental Statement Volume 2, Chapter 4 – Marine Mammals. May 2018.

Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm. Environmental Statement Volume 5, Annex 4.1 – Marine Mammal Technical Report. May 2018.

Thanet Extension Offshore Wind Farm. Environmental Statement Volume 2, Chapter 7 – Marine Mammals. June 2018.

Verfuss, U.K., Aniceto, A.S., Harris, D.V., Gillespie, D., Fielding, S., Jiménez, G., Johnston, P., Sinclair, R.R.,  Sivertsen, A., Solbø, S.A., Storvold, R., Biuw, M., Wyatt, R. (2019). A review of unmanned vehicles for the detection and monitoring of marine fauna. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Volume 140, 2019, Pages 17-29.

Verfuss, UK, Gillespie D, Gordon J, Marques T, Miller BPlunkett R., Theriault J, Tollit D, Zitterbart D, Hubert P, and Thomas L. (2018). Comparing methods suitable for monitoring marine mammals in low visibility conditions during seismic surveys. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Volume 126, January 2018, Pages 1-18.

Plunkett, R. (2017). Seal Telemetry Data in Relation to the Hornsea 3 Project. Report Number SMRUC-RPS-2017-008, Submitted To RPS, March 2017.

Sparling, C. & Plunkett, R. (2017). Predicting population change under different scenarios of population parameters and mortality rates. Report Submitted to Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay.

Sparling, C., Cook, A., Thompson, D., Smout, S., Tollit, D., Verfuss, U., Plunkett, R., Wood, J., Brookes, K., Bennet, F., Morris, C., Stringell, T. & Smith, K. (2017). Acceptable thresholds of change: how much is too much? A review of the population assessment of impacts on marine mammals. Submitted to NRW, April 2017.

Booth, CG, Harwood J, Plunkett R, Mendes S, and Walker R. (2017). Using the Interim PCoD framework to assess the potential impacts of offshore wind developments in Eastern English Waters on harbour porpoises in the North Sea. Natural England Joint Report, Number 024 York.

Thompson, D, Onoufriou J, Patterson W and Plunkett R. (2017). Strategic post consent monitoring of breeding harbour seals at the Wash SAC. Presented by Plunkett, R. at the Conference on Wind Energy and Wildlife Impacts, Estoril, Portugal, September 2017.

Sparling, CE. & Plunkett. R. (2016). Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay – Monitoring and mitigation review and feasibility report. Report number SMRUC-TLP-2016-010 provided to Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay, August, 2016.

Plunkett, R., Sparling, CE., Russell, DJF., Moss, S. & Hastie, GD. (2016). Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm Harbour Seal Telemetry Study: Interim Report #1 – Fieldwork Report. Report Number SMRUC-DON-2016-014 Provided to Dong Energy, November 2016.

Verfuss, UK, Plunkett R, Booth CG,and Harwood J. (2016). Assessing The Benefit Of Noise Reduction Measures During Offshore Wind Farm Construction On Harbour Porpoises. Report Number SMRUC-WWF-2016-008.

Plunkett, R, and Sparling CE. (2016). Dounreay Trì Floating Wind Demonstration Project Environmental Statement Chapter 10 Marine mammals, basking sharks and turtles. Report Number: SMRUC-HID-2016-003. Submitted To Hi-Def Aerial Surveying Limited, March 2016.

Booth, CG, Donnovan C, Plunkett R, and Harwood J. (2016). Using an interim PCoD protocol to assess the effects of disturbance associated with US Navy exercises on marine mammal populations: Final Report. Report code SMRUC-ONR-2016-004, submitted to the Office of Naval Research – Marine Mammal and Biology Program, February 2016 (unpublished).

Plunkett, R; Booth, CG. & Sparling, CE. (2015). Tidal Lagoon West Cumbria: Review of Marine Mammal Baseline Information and Recommendations for Marine Mammal Monitoring. SMRUC-TLP-2015-009 and SMRUC-TLP-2015-023, Submitted to Tidal Lagoon Power, December 2015.

Sparling, C., Plunkett, R., Gordon, J. & Gotz, T. (2015). The Use of Acoustic Deterrents For The Mitigation Of Injury To Marine Mammals During Pile Driving For Offshore Wind Farm Construction. SMRUC-TCT-2015-006, Submitted to The Carbon Trust, June August 2015.

Booth, C.G., Sparling, C.E., Plunkett, R., Scott-Hayward, L. & Rexstad, E. (2015). Collision Risk Simulation Modelling: Marine Mammals and Deep Green Device at Holyhead Deep. Report Number SMRUM-MIN-2015-005 provided To Minesto UK Ltd, March 2015.

Plunkett, R, Sparling, C. & Kidney, D. (2014). Anglesey Skerries Marine Mammal Monitoring: Land Based Vantage Point Survey trial. Report Number SMRUM-MCT-2014-012 Provided To MCT, November, 2014.

Booth, C.G., Plunkett, R. & Verfuβ, U. K. (2014). Interim Marine Mammal and Noise Monitoring at Invergordon Report. Report Number SMRUL-AFF- 2014-003 Provided to Affric Ltd, May 2014.

The following are a few of the key projects Rachael has been involved in:

  • Awel y Mor offshore wind farm EIA
  • Rampion 2 offshore wind farm EIA
  • Dublin Array offshore wind farm EIA
  • Hornsea 4 offshore wind farm EIA
  • Moray West offshore wind farm EIA
  • Seagreen Phase 1 offshore wind farm EIA
  • Hornsea 3 offshore wind farm EIA
  • Thanet Extension offshore wind farm EIA
  • Dounreay Tri floating offshore wind farm EIA
  • PCoD East of England CIA
  • Seal telemetry and haul-out data in relation to various offshore developments
  • Review of noise abatement systems
  • Assessing the Benefit of Noise Reduction Measures
  • Aerial survey photogrammetry assessment
  • PCoD+ Priorities for Monitoring Programs
  • iPCoD testing and development

+44 (0)1334 466011

Scottish Oceans Institute
East Sands
University of St Andrews
KY16 8LB