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Science To Impact Area


Our vision is for the restoration of diverse and productive ecosystems that are maintained and managed sustainably.

Social and economic advances cannot be sustained unless the health of the environment is maintained. The cumulative and rapidly increasing activities of billions of people have accelerating impacts affecting the entire planet. These include emissions of gases and the consequences of their presence in both the sea and the atmosphere, non-sustainable use of resources, pollution and habitat degradation. One consequence is that the planet is losing biological diversity, both on land and over the 71% covered by oceans, coastal waters and estuaries.

Biodiversity loss rarely occurs on its own, but it is usually a consequence of drivers acting either alone or in synergy. Combatting this loss is critical for sustainability, well-being and, ultimately, survival. The sea is rich in genetic, species and ecosystem diversity but, compared to biodiversity conservation on land, the conservation of marine biodiversity has received far less attention. This is reflected in the UN sustainability goals, where SDG 14 Life below water is about conserving and using resources for development, while halting biodiversity loss only appears in SDG 15 Life on land.

Understanding and combatting marine biodiversity loss is about far more than conservation, however. Biodiversity loss can affect the ways in which ecosystems function, their ability to support goods and services on which people depend, and the state of the planet on which our descendants will have to live. Efforts to protect the seas, to measure and improve their condition, to regulate and reduce extractive activities, pollutants and waste, to understand and monitor changes driven by both natural variability and human pressures, to manage use of seas and coasts and inputs from the land to the sea, will all be of relevance to the challenge of combatting marine biodiversity loss.

PML is unique in our capability to link laboratory and field studies, satellite observations, physical and ecosystem modelling and socio-economics. We study marine biodiversity at all scales, from genes to the largest ecosystems. This enables us to understand why biodiversity is changing and to predict changes that are likely to happen in the future. It also enables us to understand the consequences of biodiversity loss both for marine life and for people and to use this knowledge to inform policy.

Methods developed at PML for linking empirical and socio-economic research, and valuing marine ecosystem benefits, currently inform policy and management approaches in the UK and provide evidence for the designation of marine protected areas. Novel statistical approaches from PML, which link empirical and modelled data and ecosystem-services mapping, are being used to include biodiversity conservation objectives in climate-ready Marine Spatial Plans in Ireland and Vietnam.

People who work in this area of research

Dr Angus Atkinson

Marine Ecologist
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Professor Nicola Beaumont

Head of Science - Sea and Society
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Amanda Beesley

Zooplankton analyst
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Dr Stefanie Broszeit

Marine ecosystem services researcher
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Dr James Clark

Marine Ecosystem Modeller
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Dr Matthew Cole

Senior Marine Ecologist and Ecotoxicologist
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Elaine Fileman

Plankton Ecologist
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Professor Kevin Flynn

Marine Plankton Ecologist
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Professor Steve Groom

Head of Science - Earth Observation
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Dr Andrey Kurekin

Coastal Ocean Colour scientist
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Professor Pennie Lindeque

Head of Science: Marine Ecology and Biodiversity
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Dr Océane Marcone

Social Science Researcher
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Andrea McEvoy

Benthic Ecologist
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Louise McNeill

Benthic Ecologist and Faunal Taxonomist
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Dr Peter Miller

Marine Earth Observation Scientist
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Joana Nunes

Benthic Ecologist
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Dr Helen Parry

Molecular Biologist and Physiologist
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Dr Ana M Queirós

Marine and Climate Change Ecologist
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Dr Sevrine Sailley

Ecosystem modeller
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Dr Shubha Sathyendranath

Merit Remote Sensing Scientist
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Dr Tim Smyth

Head of Science - Marine Biogeochemistry and Observations
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Dr Paul J. Somerfield

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Emma Sullivan

Earth Observation Scientist
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Dr Karen Tait

Microbial Ecologist
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Dr Glen Tarran

Marine microbial ecologist
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Dr Gavin H Tilstone

Bio-optical oceanographer
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Dr Tom Vance

Research and Development Manager
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Claire Widdicombe

Plankton Ecologist
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Professor Steve Widdicombe

Director of Science and Deputy Chief Executive