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Healthier Oceans

The Next Wave In Global Marine Research? It’s Already Here.

Discover how our groundbreaking research has successfully influenced global policy.

Our breadth and depth of expertise, interdisciplinary approach, long term partnerships and global reach are already having an incredible impact around the world.

Covering 70% of the earth’s surface, our oceans absorb 90% of the world’s heat and one third of all human-produced carbon dioxide. They are the beating heart of our planet. Which is why preserving them is a challenge we must rise to.

From our home shores in the South West of England, the Caribbean, across the Congo, to the Indian Ocean and the Arctic and Antarctica, our sheer expanse of expertise is having real impact. We are going beyond theoretical research and putting it into practice to drive positive change.

That includes helping to shape and inform the 30x30 Ocean Protection Target and playing a key role in banning microbeads in the UK cosmetics industry.

At the University of Exeter, you’ll find one of the world’s largest marine science teams: a group that includes researchers recognised in the top 1% of their field. All are dedicated to addressing and overcoming the diversity of threats that our planet faces.

Our researchers specialise in marine conservation, ecotoxicology, marine governance, ocean systems and technology. Their focus is on protecting endangered species from extinction, understanding human exposure to marine pollutants and their transmission in aquatic environments to help empower the conservation of our natural environment.

Our interdisciplinary approach amplifies and enhances the potential for impact. Our marine scientists work closely with medical colleagues, who understand the effect of pollutants on human health, but also with colleagues from a diverse range of disciplines such as social science and business to co-create solutions.

Our innovative thinking includes modelling the optimum size of MPAs by looking at migratory patterns of predators. We are not only looking at the source and scale of plastic pollution in a specific region, but also at the damage being done at a cellular level.

We are not just focussed on the problem, we’re actively seeking ways to make things better. We also work with manufacturers to find better material alternatives. We’re helping to embed greener drug design to minimise the effects on the food-chain, we’ve also helped to change the regulations to control the amount of Bisphenol A used in plastic bottles.

Our strength lies in adapting to emerging problems, however complex, with cross-cutting research. But it’s not just what we already know and what we are learning, it’s how we work that allows our extensive knowledge to have the best effect.

We have built a reputation for working collaboratively with all our partners in industry, policy making and conservation. We’ve built key connections with diverse global communities, NGOs, the UN and national governments, all of whom are helping to inform our holistic understanding of the challenges we face.

We’re committed to using our research for long-term impact, creating meaningful partnerships that drive progress and being open with our data for the benefit of conservation. By investing in research-led teaching and supporting international outreach programmes, we're also nurturing future generations of Marine Scientists.

Our researchers bring a fresh approach to thinking about how, together, we can protect the marine environment. From molecular level to entire ecosystems, we have the capability and understanding to identify and develop bold interventions to preserve life on Earth.

This is impact-driven research for healthier oceans and a healthier planet for all.

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Marine Conservation

With a focus on influencing global policy change, we investigate the complex links between human impacts and the health of marine environments. Working collaboratively with communities, NGOs, industry and conservation agencies we’re co-creating global robust, climate-smart solutions that benefit the long-term future of our wildlife and human wellbeing.

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Spanning pesticides, anti-microbial resistant bacteria and plastics, our community of scientists work from molecular to ecosystem level to gain a forensic understanding of the impact of anthropogenic marine pollution on the health of both our oceans and people. We apply collaborative systemic thinking to each and every challenge, providing evidence to influence change in both global policy and human behaviour around waste in our oceans.

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