North Devon Marine Pioneer

Natural Capital Assessment Tools for the North Devon Marine Pioneer (Phase 1)
The North Devon Marine Pioneer project was initiated in 2016 by Defra ‘to ensure Britain has one of the best environments anywhere’. It aims to explore how a specific geographical area can be best managed for the benefit of the environment, economy and people.

Our Partners

Working closely with partners, stakeholders and end-users such as Defra, Marine Management Organisation, Natural England, WWF, Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, Devon Local Nature Partnership and the North Devon Biosphere Reserve, SWEEP will develop natural capital assessment tools and approaches to support the management of the Marine Pioneer.

Phase 1

The interdisciplinary project team delivering this work is jointly led by Prof. Martin Attrill from the University of Plymouth’s Marine Institute and Prof. Mel Austen from Plymouth Marine Laboratory’s Sea and Society Group.  Phase 1 of the project will run until August 2018, and aims to develop natural capital assessment tools and approaches for integrated decision-making.

Outputs of this work will:
  • embed natural capital approaches into marine policy
  • ensure that managers and decision-makers are able to take a strategic approach that safeguards ecosystem services and maximise the benefits they provide across multiple sectors (including fisheries, aquaculture, renewable energy and tourism)
  • showcase North Devon as a pioneer in natural capital approaches, fostering a sense of local pride and belonging.

Crucially, this work also provides a unique opportunity to link with the activities of the North Devon Landscape Pioneer.

Project News

Future land-use scenarios and links to South West aquaculture

A new paper published by SWEEP academics considers the effect of land-use change on water quality and the marine aquaculture (mariculture) sector….

Artificial Intelligence could help predict harmful algal blooms

A new project will develop Artificial Intelligence tools to predict harmful blooms of algae in the ocean. Harmful algal blooms…

SWEEP academics contribute to new report highlighting nature’s potential to fight climate change and biodiversity loss

SWEEP researchers from the University of Plymouth are among the authors of a major new report detailing how nature can…

Project Events


Project Code: 002/012
Impact Summary
Project Summary
Project Lead:
Dr Tara Hooper
SWEEP Project Principal Investigator
Dr Sian Rees
SWEEP Co-Investigator and Senior Impact Fellow

Siân is a Senior Research Fellow based at the University of Plymouth’s Marine Institute who brings over 14 years of experience in marine conservation, marine management and policy to the SWEEP team. Siân has a strong track record in utilising social science research methods to inform ecosystem-based management and the implementation of Natural Capital approaches. Siân has worked in an advisory capacity for UK Government, the European Commission and the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Professor Melanie Austen
SWEEP Marine Co-Lead
Professor Martin Attrill
SWEEP Marine Co-Lead

Martin is a Marine Ecologist interested in the links between marine biodiversity, ecosystem services and human activity. Within SWEEP, he coordinates the University of Plymouth input, as well as being actively involved in projects associated with Marine Ecosystem Services, particularly Marine Protected Areas.

Dr Amy Binner
SWEEP Project Principal Investigator
Dr Darren Clark
Research Fellow

Darren is a Microbial Ecologist with interests in pelagic biogeochemistry and phytoplankton physiology. He is especially interested in pelagic nutrient cycling and the role that marine microbes play in the various associated processes.

Darren has been involved with programmes such as UK-SOLAS and AMT and the Ocean Acidification programmes MedSea and UKOA, and is now contributing to a number of the SWEEP marine projects.