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Dr Stephen Watson

Dr Stephen Watson

Senior Ecosystems Services Scientist

stw3/1/2024 9:12:35    |     +44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)

Dr Stephen Watson is a senior ecosystem services scientist based at Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

Stephen leads the Sea and Society offshore energy portfolio with a vision: to understand how the UK (and other countries) can sustainably deploy marine renewable energy technologies, decarbonise its energy supply and meet its climate targets in harmony with nature.

He is deputy co-director of the UKERC - Energy Environment and Landscapes theme and leads ecosystem service related work across a range of other marine energy related projects including DREAMS - Decommissioning - Relative Effects of Alternative Management Strategies (Co I), MOET - Managing the Environmental Sustainability of the Offshore Energy Transition (Co I), INSITE Overall Synthesis Project (Co-I),  ECOWind PELAgIO Physics-to-Ecosystem Level Assessment of Impacts of Offshore Windfarms (Co I) and Econex (PI). His research utilises: systematic reviews, ecological indicators, GIS, ecosystem models (e.g., Ecopath, InVEST) and methods of monetary and non-monetary evaluation to better understand the effects offshore energy structures have on marine ecosystems and the ecosystem services they provide.

He also specialises in applying the Natural Capital approach to coastal, marine and terrestrial systems. Stephen is currently engaged in two collaborative research projects the NERC/ESRC-funded Sea the Value project and the PML Marine Social and Natural Capital Laboratory

Stephen conducted his PhD on the “impact of multiple stressors on coastal biodiversity and associated ecosystem services” at PML and the University of St Andrews from 2013-2017. Prior to his return to PML in 2020, he was a Senior Research Associate on the Solent Natural Capital Project at the University of Portsmouth. Other projects he has contributed to include the Valuing Nature (VNP) and Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) research programmes.

  • Watson, S.C.L, Beaumont, N.J. Nutrient Recycling and Waste Remediation as a Service from Estuarine and Coastal Ecosystems Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science, Second Edition (2023 In Press)
  • Watson, S.C.L, Watson, G.J., Beaumont, N.J. and Preston, J., (2022). Inclusion of condition in natural capital assessments is critical to the implementation of marine nature-based solutions. Science of the Total Environment, 838, p.156026.
  • Lemasson, A.J., Somerfield, P.J., Schratzberger, M., McNeill, C.L., Nunes, J., Pascoe, C., Watson, S.C.L, Thompson, M.S., Couce, E. and Knights, A.M., (2022). Evidence for the effects of decommissioning man-made structures on marine ecosystems globally: a systematic map. Environmental Evidence, 11(1), pp.1-29.
  • Watson, S. C.L, Preston, J., Beaumont, N. J., & Watson, G. J. (2020). Assessing the natural capital value of water quality and climate regulation in temperate marine systems using a EUNIS biotope classification approach. Science of the total Environment, 744, pp.140688.
  • Watson, S.C.L., Grandfield, F.G.C., Herbert, R.J.H. and Newton, A.C., 2018. Detecting ecological thresholds and tipping points in the natural capital assets of a protected coastal ecosystem. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 215, 112-123.
  • Watson, S.C.L., Paterson, D.M., Queirós, A.M., Rees, A.P., Stephens, N., Widdicombe, S. and Beaumont, N.J., 2016. A conceptual framework for assessing the ecosystem service of waste remediation: In the marine environment. Ecosystem Services, 20, 69-81.

Recent publications

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