Sophie's current work area focuses on developing cost-effective monitoring tools for pelagic habitats; in particular for zooplankton, as this is a critical component of the marine food web and a major gap in zooplankton data has been identified to fulfill requirements of policy and associated monitoring programmes.
Dr Pitois graduated in 1997, with a PhD on freshwater eutrophication. Her area of expertise has since then evolved and since starting at Cefas in 2003, her focus has been on the role of zooplankton in the marine ecosystem and its influence on fisheries. She has experience in the analysis of long-term time series and in 2005 was awarded an associate researcher grant with SAHFOS as a result of collaboration and gained knowledge of CPR data. Sophie's research includes studies on the impact of climate change on zooplankton, early life stages of fish, and the recruitment of commercial marine fish species and the development of Individual Based models; as well as gelatinous plankton, including the spread of non-native species and their impact on invaded ecosystems.
More recently Sophie has developed an interest in optimising monitoring techniques, with a specific interest on plankton, to fill a recognised data gap in this specific component of pelagic ecosystems. Her current area of work is around the automatization of ship-based instrumentation to collect, analyse this pelagic data continuously, and integrate the information from several sources before making the result available in near real-time. A specific focus is on developing the Plankton Image Analyser, an automated real-time high speed colour line scan-based imaging ship-based instrument, that can take pictures of zooplankton continuously from water passing through it at a rate of 22l/min and pumped continuously as the ship is underway.