Leigh is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK. Working in the colder climes of the Antarctic, Leigh's PhD research focussed on the use of ROV technology to examine life at hydrothermal vents and how the fauna associated with these remote habitats change in both space and time. Using high-definition ROV videography, she has recreated life-size images of hydrothermal chimneys, which are used to look at patterns of zonation, biological interactions and raise awareness of these generally inaccessible environments of the deep ocean.
As part of her postdoctoral research, Leigh is interested in the distribution and abundance of deep-sea organisms, and the relationship between these organisms and the environment. Her research is a multidisciplinary science that relies on the expertise of both geoscientists and biologists with the aim to investigate the mechanisms that underlie community structure, composition and ecological dynamics, and how they are altered by anthropogenic impacts (e.g. mining, trawling) and environmental change (e.g. climate, natural hazards).
Leigh graduated from the University of Southampton in 2005 with a Masters in Oceanography and has worked for UK governing bodies and commercial survey companies as a marine conservation officer and marine ecologist. In 2009, she returned to the University of Southampton to start her PhD and graduated in 2014.