Interview with Paul Rooney, Assistant head of geography, Liverpool Hope University


  • What are your main fields of interest in marine and coastal geography?

Coastal sand dunes and their conservation management

  • What projects/research are you currently involved in?

In 2006 I established the Sand Dune and Shingle Network, based in Liverpool Hope University, and continue to direct it. Through this initiative I am involved in a number of national and international projects that seek to link science and management, and conserve coastal dunes and shingle as dynamic landscapes. Currently I am organising a large international coastal conference, ‘Littoral 2017’, in Liverpool for September 2017.

  • How did you get into your field of research?

I became interested in coastal dunes through my undergraduate studies in Liverpool, completing my research projects and volunteering on the largest open dune system in England, the Sefton Coast. It was a very convenient location for me, being just north of Liverpool. Following my undergraduate degree I managed coastal dune nature reserves on the Sefton Coast, and then a 1 million Euro EU LIFE co-financed project there to take forward the management of the SAC, before joining Liverpool Hope University in 1999.

  • What top tips would you give to current and future students?

Work hard, be enthusiastic, and go the extra mile to make you stand out from the crowd. Most of all, enjoy what you are doing.

  • What are the main issues geographers need to tackle in the marine and coastal environment?

Climate change is the overriding issue of importance of course, but together with these impacts we are still developing an degrading coastal environments at an alarming rate. I am most interested in coastal dunes, and in the latest EU-wide assessments coastal dunes once again stand out as a habitat of grave concern in terms of their conservation status.