Who is Dr Melanie Austen?

Dr Melanie Austen is Head of Science at Plymouth Marine Laboratory leading the Sea and Society area of science and its broad spectrum of interdisciplinary research projects from the socio economics of marine ecosystems and their services through to environment and human health, and marine biodiscovery.

Mel was originally a benthic ecologist specialising in meiofauna research, but in the last ten years she has been developing and leading UK and EU funded collaborative marine research that directly interfaces marine ecology with environmental economics to support policy development and management for sustainable ecosystems.

Mel’s wide-ranging research interests include: links between marine biodiversity, ecosystem function and ecosystem services and the socio-economic value of the services; natural and human impacts on provision of marine ecosystem goods and services and their socio-economic values; impact of fishing on marine ecosystem processes, biodiversity and goods and services; benthic-pelagic coupling; field and experimental benthic ecology in coastal habitats and nematode taxonomy using traditional, molecular and computer-based techniques.

Dr Melanie Austen has written over 50 peer reviewed research papers and has recentley been appointed as the Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK's Marine Management Organisation.