Dr Jenny Gales

Dr Jenny Gales

Lecturer in Hydrography & Ocean Exploration

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)


  • Lecturer in Hydrography and Ocean Exploration 
  • Research interests: 
    • Submarine geomorphology
    • Process sedimentology and process geomorphology
    • Antarctica and the Southern Ocean
    • High-latitude continental margins, submarine canyons, landslides, gullies, channels, fjords, deltas
    • Marine robotics
I am a lecturer in Hydrography and Ocean Exploration and am actively involved in internationally recognised research surrounding slope processes and seafloor geomorphology. I have been involved in 11 international research expeditions including an Arctic and three Antarctic expeditions. The most recent expedition was January 2018 to the Ross Sea, Antarctica with the International Ocean Discovery Program. 

Before joining the University of Plymouth I worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the National Oceanography Centre on the NERC-funded 'Coordinated Canyon Experiment' in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), United States Geological Survey, University of Hull and the Ocean University of China. The project aims at understanding what triggers underwater sediment flows, how fast they move, how far they travel and what influence they have on seafloor morphology. The project involves the use of marine robotics, including Remotely Operated Vehicles, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles and Surface Autonomous Vehicles to map the seafloor and to provide communication. The 18-month experiment also involved an array of moorings down the axis of the canyon housing a wide range of instruments, and a variety of novel 'smart sensors' to collect seafloor data. During the project I spent 3 months at MBARI on research cruises and working with engineers and scientists there. I am also involved in other canyon-related research, including leading an EUROFLEETS-funded research expedition to the Ross Sea, Antarctica in January 2017 with colleagues at OGS, Italy. Between 2013-2015 I worked as a Marine Geoscientist at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh. I worked on commercial and research driven projects, including reconstructing the offshore glacial history of NW Scotland from seismic data. I did my PhD at the British Antarctic Survey working on understanding the geomorphology of Antarctic continental slopes. I spent a semester at the Arctic University of Norway (University of Tromso) working with experts on Arctic continental slope morphology. I also took an internship with Statoil in Tronheim, Norway. 


2017 -              Lecturer in Hydrography and Ocean Exploration         

2015 - 2017     Post Doctoral Research, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton 
2013 - 2015     Marine Geoscientist, British Geological Survey, Edinburgh
2009 - 2013     PhD, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
2008 - 2009     MRes, University of Southampton
2005 - 2008     BSc Oceanography with Physical Geography, University of Southampton 

Research interests

  • Submarine geomorphology
  • Process sedimentology and process geomorphology
  • Antarctica and the Southern Ocean
  • High-latitude continental margins, submarine canyons, landslides, gullies, channels, fjords, deltas 
  • Marine robotics

Key publications are highlighted

Callard L, O Cofaigh C, Benetti S, Chiverrell R, Van Landeghem K, Saher M, Gales J, Small D, Clark C 2018 'Extent and retreat history of the Barra Fan Ice Stream offshore western Scotland and northern Ireland during the last glaciation' Quaternary Science Reviews 201, 280-302 , DOI PEARL
Paull C, Talling P, Maier K, Parsons D, Xu J, Caress D, Gwiazda R, Lundsten E, Anderson K 2018 'Powerful turbidity currents driven by dense basal layers' Nature Communications 9, , DOI PEARL
Gales J, Talling P, Cartigny M, Hughes Clarke J, Lintern G, Stacey C & Clare M 2018 'What controls submarine channel development and the morphology of deltas entering deep-water fjords?' Earth Surface Processes and Landforms , DOI PEARL
McKay RM, De Santis L, Kulhanek DK, Ash JL, Beny F, Browne IM, Cortese G, Cordeiro de Sousa IM, Dodd JP 2018 'International ocean discovery program expedition 374 preliminary report: Ross sea west antarctic ice sheet history ocean-ice sheet interactions and west antarctic ice sheet vulnerability: Clues from the neogene and quaternary record of the outer ross sea continental margin' Expedition 374 Preliminary Report: Ross Sea West Antarctic Ice Sheet History , DOI
Carter GDO, Huvenne VAI, Gales JA, Lo Iacono C, Marsh L, Ougier-Simonin A, Robert K & Wynn RB 2018 'Ongoing evolution of submarine canyon rockwalls; examples from the Whittard Canyon, Celtic Margin (NE Atlantic)' Progress in Oceanography , DOI PEARL
Gales JA, Larter RD, Leat PT & Jokat W 2016 'Components of an Antarctic trough-mouth fan: examples from the Crary Fan, Weddell Sea' Geological Society, London, Memoirs 46, (1) 377-378 , DOI
Gales JA, Larter RD & Leat PT 2016 'Iceberg ploughmarks and associated sediment ridges on the southern Weddell Sea margin' Geological Society, London, Memoirs 46, (1) 289-290 , DOI
Gales JA, Larter RD & Leat PT 2016 'Submarine gullies on the southern Weddell Sea slope, Antarctica' Geological Society, London, Memoirs 46, (1) 383-384 , DOI
Gales JA, Leat PT, Larter RD, Kuhn G, Hillenbrand C-D, Graham AGC, Mitchell NC, Tate AJ, Buys GB 2014 'Large-scale submarine landslides, channel and gully systems on the southern Weddell Sea margin, Antarctica' Marine Geology 348, 73-87 , DOI
Gales JA, Forwick M, Laberg JS, Vorren TO, Larter RD, Graham AGC, Baeten NJ & Amundsen HB 2013 'Arctic and Antarctic submarine gullies—A comparison of high latitude continental margins' Geomorphology 201, 449-461 , DOI
Gales JA, Larter RD, Mitchell NC & Dowdeswell JA 2013 'Geomorphic signature of Antarctic submarine gullies: Implications for continental slope processes' Marine Geology 337, 112-124 , DOI
Gales JA, Larter RD, Mitchell NC, Hillenbrand C-D, Østerhus S & Shoosmith DR 2012 'Southern Weddell Sea shelf edge geomorphology: Implications for gully formation by the overflow of high-salinity water' Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 117, (F4) n/a-n/a , DOI
Larter RD, Graham AGC, Hillenbrand C-D, Smith JA & Gales JA 2012 'Late Quaternary grounded ice extent in the Filchner Trough, Weddell Sea, Antarctica: new marine geophysical evidence' Quaternary Science Reviews 53, 111-122 , DOI
Maier K, Gales J, Paull C, Rosenberger K, Talling P, Simmons S, Gwiazda R, McGann M, Cartigny M 0 'Linking direct measurements of turbidity currents to submarine canyon-floor deposits' Frontiers in Earth Science , DOI PEARL
Gales J, Hillenbrand C-D, Larter R, Laberg J-S, Melles M, Benetti S & Passchier S 2018 'Processes influencing differences in Arctic and Antarctic Trough Mouth Fan sedimentology' in Hogan K Glaciated Margins: The Sedimentary and Geophysical Archive Geological Society Special Publication Publisher Site PEARL
Forwick M, Laberg JS, Husum K & Gales JA 2016 'Submarine Mass Wasting on Hovgaard Ridge, Fram Strait, European Arctic' Submarine Mass Movements and their Consequences Springer International Publishing 253-263 , DOI
Conference Papers
Forwick M, Laberg JS, Husum K & Gales JA 2016 'Submarine mass wasting on hovgaard ridge, fram strait, European arctic' 253-263 , DOI