Scientific Committee

Anita Franco, International Estuarine & Coastal Specialists Ltd, UK

Dr Anita Franco, PhD AFHEA, is an Estuarine & Marine Ecologist based in Hull UK ( and co-director of International Estuarine & Coastal Specialists (IECS) Ltd ( She has over 20 years of experience working in the field of estuarine and marine ecology, assessment and management. Anita’s specialist expertise include: the ecology of estuarine and marine fish (community structure and functioning, status, impacts, indicators and models); ecological monitoring strategies, design and methods; the assessment and streamlining of biodiversity and ecosystem assessments; the statistical analysis and modelling of ecological data.

Throughout her career, Anita has provided scientific and technical advice to Governments and their statutory agencies, the industry and developers on the status and condition of marine and estuarine ecological features of interest (incl. fish, benthos, birds, habitats), on the ecological value of marine habitats (including essential fish habitats) in support of marine planning programmes, and on the potential risks and impacts to the marine environment of a range of human activities, including those in the marine energy sector.

Some of Anita’s recent projects include: • Horizon Europe projects GES4SEAS (Achieving Good Environmental Status for maintaining Ecosystem Services, by assessing integrated impacts of cumulative pressures; 2022-26) and MARBEFES (MARine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning leading to Ecosystem Services; 2022-26); • the assessment of EMODnet data products and their suitability to support MSFD indicators (CINEA; 2023-25); • the development of Essential Fish Habitat indicators, modelling and mapping for fish and shellfish marine species as evidence-base to support marine planning, offshore project assessments and the management of inshore and offshore marine environment (Natural England, 2021-22; the Scottish Government, 2021-22; MMO, 2014-15); • the evidence-based appraisals of marine biodiversity and ecosystem assessments to improve streamlining at both national (JNCC 2019-20) and European level (EC, DG Environment 2020-21); • the provision of advice on compensation options for Marine Annex I habitats for offshore windfarms (Ørsted, 2019); • the delivery of a series of multi-stakeholder workshops to define a holistic and comprehensive suite of environmental metrics (indicators of state, pressure, activities, etc.) for the application of the DAPRSI(w)R(m) framework and the associated Knowledge Graph model in Abu Dhabi Emirates (Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, 2021 and 2022).

Anita has published her research in peer reviewed international journals (30+) and books (10+), technical reports (80+) and has presented it to a variety of audiences at international conferences, meetings, stakeholder events, etc (70+ presentations). She is Associate Editor of Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Sciences and an elected council member of the Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association (ECSA).

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