Wellbeing and the natural environment

Research Area: Human Health and Wellbeing

Tomas Chaigneau
I am an interdisciplinary social scientist interested in the relationship between people’s wellbeing and the natural environment. This entails furthering our understanding of how coastal ecosystem services can contribute to material, social or relational wellbeing to identify opportunities for sustainable poverty alleviation or prevention.

My research also focuses on interpreting and anticipating people’s responses to natural resource management interventions along the coast. In particular this has led me to investigate what predicts the support of individuals and communities towards the use of marine protected areas.

Lewis Elliott

My primary research interest is in how different natural environments affect health and wellbeing. My research to date has examined factors affecting the practice of physical activity in natural, and particularly marine, environments and also how walking in natural environments could be better promoted using behaviour change theories.

In the BlueHealth project, I am responsible for the delivery of a large-scale online survey examining how populations of European countries interact with aquatic environments and the health and wellbeing outcomes this brings about. I will also be contributing to community-level studies examining the health effects to local communities of modifications to marine environments.

Lora Fleming

Oceans and Human Health brings together oceanographic and marine sciences with biomedical, public health and social sciences for truly inter/multi-disciplinary research, training and impact around benefits, as well as risks, of the interactions between humans and the marine environment, to improve both ecosystem and human health.

James Grellier

I am an epidemiologist focusing on the assessment of the effects of the environment, positive and negative, human health and wellbeing. I have a particular interest in the application of epidemiological data to health risk prediction and health impact assessments relating to complex environmental stressors.

At present I am working on the Horizon 2020-funded BlueHealth project, an international programme of research looking at the role Europe’s blue spaces (particularly the coastline) play in shaping the public health and well-being status of European populations.

As well as contributing to the development of a large international survey, which will evaluate health and wellbeing related to blue and green space in a number of European regions, I am also analysing secondary data from national and international databases with a view to understanding how exposure to blue space affects various measures of health.

In parallel to my role as a researcher, I also serve as the Project Manager for the BlueHealth project.

Nick Groom

I work in literature and culture, with a focus on identity formation through the environment and intangible cultural heritage, am co-director of ECLIPSE (Exeter Centre for Literatures of Identity, Place, and Sustainability), and a founding member of AARC (Atlantic Archipelagos Research Consortium).

I am particularly interested in integrating culture with research in climate change and ecosystems services.

With Nicholas Allen and Jos Smith I am editor of Coastal Works : Literatures of the Atlantic Edge, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2016; my own contribution examines the politics and folklore of maritime culture through plans to drain the Irish Sea.

Matthew White

I am an environmental psychologist with an interest in how natural environments influence peoples health and well-being.

I have coordinate the Blue Gym project at the Medical School, which is looking particularly how aquatic environments (coastal and inland waters) influence health and well-being.

Our approach to these questions is broad, including systematic reviews, analysis of large cross-sectional and longitudinal panel surveys, lab experiments and field studies. Much of our work has looked at environmental features but increasingly we are looking at the role of aquatic biodiversity.

Our most current work attempts to put monetary values on the benefits to health and well-being from marine and inland waters to aid policy decisions.

Contact Name: 
Tomas Chaigneau, Lewis Elliott, Lora Flemming, James Grellier, Nick Groom, Matthew White