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Science Topic

Nature-based solutions

Nature-based Solutions (NbS)  are environmental management approaches that protect nature whilst helping to address societal problems, such as climate change and pollution. By making people a key recipient of nature conservation benefits, NbS accelerate action and facilitate buy-in for approaches limiting biodiversity loss.

PML is leading globally distributed initiatives that quantify, and capitalise on, the natural distribution of climate resilience within marine ecosystems to help develop ocean management strategies that are NbS enabling climate change adaptation. Specifically, by working with practitioners around the world to co-develop climate adaptive marine conservation mechanisms and harvesting programmes. Our research is informing:

  • the development of climate resilient strategies for the spatial management of UNESCO Man and Biosphere and other sites of conservation interest across SE Asia
  • the development of climate-resilient marine conservation, restoration and harvesting programmes across the EU
  • the development of seaweed harvesting, fisheries and conservation strategies in Tanzania
  • the development climate resilient marine spatial planning across the UK Nations and in Ireland
  • the development of better access to climate modelling and modelling analysis tools for those developing Marine Spatial Plans

PML’s research on the global blue carbon capability is also a contributor to the co-development of NbS that contribute to mitigate climate change.

Another emerging challenge for marine ecosystems is that of microplastic pollution. In 2018, PML received funding to scope nature-based solutions to microplastic pollution using mussels, which can filter our microplastics from seawater, and latterly egest them within their faeces. The team’s laboratory experiments revealed 5 kg of mussels can remove 250,000 microplastics per hour. The team are currently undertaking field trials to test the capacity of mussels to remove microplastics in natural settings, and have a PhD student exploring whether macrophytes can also help stem the flow of microplastics from source to sea.

We are also working with local partners (Tamar Valley Partnership, Dartmoor National Park Authority) looking at land-management practices (peat restoration and managed realignment) and how they might enhance or preserve natural carbon stores.


  • World leading expertise in ocean climate-change modelling spatial meta-analysis

Selected publications

Queirós AM; Talbot,E; Beaumont, NJ; Somerfield, PJ; Kay,S;  Pascoe, C; Dedman, S; Fernandes, J; Jueterbock, A; Miller, PI; Sailley, SF; Sará, G; Carr, LM; Austen, MC; Widdicombe, S; Rilov, G; Levin, LA; Hull, SC; Walmsley,  SF and Nic Aonghusa, C; 2021.  Bright spots as climate-smart marine spatial planning tools for conservation and blue growth. Global Change Biology.

Austin, W; Cohen, F; Coomes, D; Hanley, N; Lewis, S; Luque-Lora, R; Marchant, R; Naylor, L; Queirós, AM; Savaresi, A; Seddon, N; Smith, A; Smith, P; and Wheeler, C; 2021. Nature-based solutions for climate change, people and biodiversity. COP26 Universities Network Briefing.

People who work in this area of research

Professor Nicola Beaumont

Head of Science - Sea and Society
nijb3/30/2023 1:55:00

Dr Matthew Cole

Senior Marine Ecologist and Ecotoxicologist
mcol3/30/2023 1:55:00

Dr Vassilis Kitidis

Marine biogeochemist
vak3/30/2023 1:55:00

Professor Pennie Lindeque

Head of Science: Marine Ecology and Biodiversity
pkw3/30/2023 1:55:00

Dr Ana M Queirós

Senior Marine and Climate Change Ecologist
anqu3/30/2023 1:55:00

Dr Andy Rees

Marine biogeochemist
apre3/30/2023 1:55:00

Dr Liz Talbot

Marine Ecologist
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