PML’s Professor Melanie Austen has been appointed an Independent Member of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).
This prestigious appointment will enable Melanie to be an integral part of the process that advises policy for the next 3 years, and play a role in finding innovative solutions for marine conservation and management.
JNCC brings together the UK’s four major conservation bodies, and advises the UK government on national and international nature conservation. The work of the JNCC helps to provide evidence that contributes toward policy and decision-making that in turn maintains and sustains biodiversity and the environment.
Melanie is a marine ecologist and interdisciplinary marine researcher who is a Head of Science for the Sea and Society group at Plymouth Marine Laboratory. She has recently completed a 3 year term as the Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK’s Marine Management Organisation (MMO), and for the last twenty years she has been developing and leading UK and EU funded collaborative marine research projects. Through her interdisciplinary research she has examined and quantified the societal consequences and policy relevance of changes to the marine environment and its ecosystems. She has been an Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter medical school since 2014, a member of other Expert Advisory Groups, and has chaired an EU Marine Board expert group on ecosystem valuation. Melanie is currently a member of UK JNCC’s South Atlantic Natural Capital Assessment Technical Advisory Group.
“JNCC has an increasingly important role to play in supporting conservation, and now is a key time to be involved,” said Melanie. “It is an exciting opportunity to add my perspective on national marine science, UK-wide and for Overseas Territories to the JNCC. I hope to bring a wealth of academic knowledge and expertise from my roles at Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the MMO, and my interactions with national and international marine scientists, to engage with sustainable management of ecosystem services. This is important as I believe that marine conservation outcomes can be achieved via understanding the benefits of marine environments and seeking to manage for the future of our seas.”