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Professor Melanie Austen

Melanie Austen

Role: Board member of Natural England
Date appointed: April 2023


Melanie is Professor of Ocean and Society at the University of Plymouth. She is an interdisciplinary marine research leader with a strong background in marine ecology. She was on the Government's Natural Capital Committee and served a three-year term as the first Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK’s Marine Management Organisation. She is currently Chair of the Partnership of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in North Devon, a member of the Board of Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe2), and member of the Strategic Advisory Group of the UKRI Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources Programme. She has previously been a member of various EU and UK Expert Advisory Groups including chairing an EU Marine Board ecosystem valuation working group. 

Melanie’s research focusses on developing interdisciplinary understanding of marine systems, their natural capital and ecosystem services, and their use and governance to improve social, economic, and environmental outcomes. Prior to representing Natural England on the Joint Committee, Mel was an independent member of the Joint Committee between December 2017 and March 2023.  She was appointed to Natural England’s board on 1 April 2023.


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