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Phillip Cowie



Research output per year

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Personal profile


I am a highly experienced marine biologist with a wide range of technical skills. My research focusses on the impact of microplastics on marine organisms, with a focus on Firth of Clyde intertidal and sublittoral habitats and I have published several papers on the subject. I believe in inter-disciplinary research and I have run an Anti-fouling/Biofouling consultancy liaising with marine engineers and chemists to solve applied problems. I also have an interest in all aspects of marine, terrestrial and freshwater conservation.

Current research activities

I am involved in a collaborative project with the Natural History Museum and Royal Holloway, University of London (started 2018) examining the distribution of microplastics in sandy shore communities, around the Isle of Cumbrae, Firth of Clyde. I am the Principal Investigator working with UWS colleagues on an innovation voucher examining the potential for the deployment of artificial reefs in pre-impacted sea-bed areas around Scotland in order to enhance biodiversity.

Current teaching activities and interests

I am an experienced and dedicated lecturer used to teaching a wide range of different subjects related to the life-sciences. My main teaching responsibilities at UWS, revolve around the BSC Applied Bioscience and Zoology Programme (School of Health and Life Sciences). I am the module coordinator for the L8 module: ‘Biosphere and Man’ and for the L9 module ‘Animal Diversity.’ I also contribute to teaching the new L7 module Diversity of Life (BIOL 07020) and the L9 Field Biology module (BIOL09035). I can supervise up to 10 undergraduate project students at a time conducting research on a wide range of terrestrial, freshwater and marine subjects. Additionally, I have a significant involvement in outreach activities related to the division and organize both of the popular Glasgow Science Festival events held each year in June at the Paisley and Lanarkshire campuses.

Other areas of expertise available for knowledge exchange

Other areas of expertise include: Conducting/reporting marine environmental impact studies, marine monitoring instrumentation, whale and seabird surveys, terrestrial, freshwater and marine conservation, benthic survey design and Biofouling research. 


Target collaborative organisations

Keen to work with conservation organisations working to preserve and enhance biodiversity, assess the environmental impacts of microplastics and general environmental pollutants. 

External positions

Honorary Lecture: University of Glasgow

1 Aug 20151 Aug 2020


  • QL Zoology
  • Marine Biology
  • Microplastics
  • Benthic Ecology
  • Marine Conservation
  • Intertidal Ecology
  • Environmental Impact Assessment

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Research Output

Ingestion of plastic by fish: a comparison of Thames Estuary and Firth of Clyde populations

McGoran, A. R., Cowie, P. R., Clark, P. F., McEvoy, J. P. & Morritt, D., 7 Dec 2018, In : Marine Pollution Bulletin. 137, p. 12-23 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    62 Downloads (Pure)

    Degradation of common polymer ropes in a sublittoral marine environment

    Welden, N. A. & Cowie, P. R., 15 May 2017, In : Marine Pollution Bulletin. 118, 1-2, p. 248-253 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 18 Citations (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)

    Environment and gut morphology influence microplastic retention in langoustine, Nephrops norvegicus

    Welden, N. A. C. & Cowie, P. R., 7 May 2016, In : Environmental Pollution. 214, p. 859 - 865 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 54 Citations (Scopus)

    Long-term microplastic retention causes reduced body condition in the langoustine, Nephrops norvegicus

    Welden, N. A. C. & Cowie, P. R., 30 Nov 2016, In : Environmental Pollution. 218, p. 895-900 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 63 Citations (Scopus)

    Plastic contamination in the decapod crustacean Nephrops norvegicus (Linnaeus, 1758)

    Murray, F. & Cowie, P. R., 2011, In : Marine Pollution Bulletin. 62, 6, p. 1207-1217 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    • 1 Types of Public engagement and outreach - Festival/Exhibition

    UWS Super Science Festival

    Phillip Cowie (Presenter), Kath Sloman (Presenter), Mhairi Alexander (Presenter), Marie Seraphim (Presenter), Guillermo Bardera (Presenter)
    Feb 2019

    Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Festival/Exhibition