The marine and coastal environment team is a research group specialising in the geography of oceans and coasts.  Through a range of social science and interdisciplinary research approaches, we seek to deepen understanding of how oceans and coasts can be governed sustainably, and of their cultural and social significance.


Research Themes

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Governance, Planning and Management of Marine and Coastal Areas

In the rapidly evolving, information society in which we live, it is a challenge to coordinate the activities of government, business and civil society for effective planning and management that leads to sustainable outcomes. We are exploring the geographical design of different decision-making systems, and the spatial and environmental implications arising from their existing and possible organisation. Oceans and coasts are a dynamic and vital part of the functioning earth system. They are experiencing a range of unique issues related to the impact of human settlements and resource use, maintenance of livelihoods, competition in the use of space, expansion of marine activities offshore, and impacts of climate change.  We conduct policy-relevant research from local to international scales, on topics such Marine Planning, Ocean Governance, Shoreline management, and Coastal Partnerships.  Findings are related to broader theories of environmental management and sustainability to build a deeper knowledge about human-environment relations.

Interdisciplinary Sustainability Science Research with links to Policy, including Climate Change Adaptation

Many of the important sustainability issues we face as a society are complex and multi-faceted. Building the solutions is likely to require collaboration between scientific disciplines, between scientists and policymakers and practitioners, and the participation of communities, with their unique environmental knowledge. Our research has focused on challenges and opportunities for developing new, interdisciplinary approaches to learning, as well as doing applied research on issues such as adaptation to climate change at the coast.

Cultural and Social Significance of the Oceans: Seascape

As the footprint of human activity expands into the oceans, we are challenged by our lack of knowledge about this space- not least the human and social dimensions, which is even further behind our environmental and economic knowledge. Our research is exploring opportunities to consider the cultural and importance of marine space through approaches such as Seascape Assessment, Cultural Ecosystem Services and new ways of configuring social data to explore the value of our coasts and oceans.


Dr Tim Stojanovic, Lecturer in Sustainable Development and Geography

Fiona Cunningham, Doctoral Candidate

Paula Duffy, Doctoral Candidate

James Luger, Doctoral Candidate

Lucy Greenhill, Doctoral Candidate (based at Scottish Association of Marine Sciences)

Previous Members

Mark Jackson, Research Associate 2015-16, Carnegie Seascape Characterisation project
Armelle Duvieusart, URISA Undergradate Intern 2016, Marine Planning
Cat Young, URISA Undergraduate Intern 2016, Marine Policy


Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews

Coastal and Marine Research Group, Royal Geographical Society

SD4221 Governance for Sustainability