We investigate how humans affect the environment and how the environment can affect us, using a range of research methods.

Currently, our two main research interests are ways to increase sustainable behaviour in individuals and the influence the environment, in particular the marine environment, has on our health and well-being.

Our group has a very interdisciplinary approach, with members from various areas of psychology as well as members from other fields and institutions.

Group Members

Psychology staff and postgraduates: Deborah Cracknell, Olivia Fakoussa, Leanne Martin, Sohvi Nuojua, Sabine Pahl, Isabel Richter, Francesca Tirotto and Daniel Zahra.

Plymouth University staff and postgraduates outside psychology: Steve Fletcher and Richard C Thompson.

Alumni and former members

Carolyn Arnold, Katherine Ashbullby, Christine Boomsma, Jaclyn Burrows, Francesca Burton, Paul Cox, Laura Friedrich, Amber Gardner, Julie Goodhew, Bonny Hartley, Matthew Holland, Rebecca Jenkin, Sean Manzi, Aneta Nastaj, Lerryn Rowe, Kimberley Schenke, Steve Smith, Will Stahl-Timmins, Karin Tanja-Dijkstra, Bouke Wiersma, Cheryl Willis and Jason Woodus.

Members from other institutions

Dorset Coast Forum: Matilda Manley.

Plymouth Marine Laboratory: Elizabeth Gabe-Thomas

European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter: Lewis Elliott, Rebecca Turner and Matthew White.

I Love Nature (CIC): Amanda Hignett.

RSPB: Rebecca Jefferson.

University of Surrey: Kayleigh Wyles.


EnerGAware - European Union funded project with the main objective to increase understanding of and engagement in energy efficiency in social housing communities.

eViz - EPSRC-funded interdisciplinary research carried out by four universities looking at energy visualisation for carbon reduction in buildings.

International Marine Litter Research Unit – University of Plymouth research unit with a mission to further our understanding of litter on the environment and defining solutions.

MARLISCO - European project aiming to increase awareness and co-responsibility regarding marine litter.

Communicating climate change - Interdisciplinary forum based at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health.

People really do like to be beside the seaside - BBC coverage of Mat White and Kat Ashbullby's research on the benefits of blue spaces.

ResponSEAble – European project with the main aim of promoting ocean literacy.


Fletcher, S., (2013). Marine and Coastal Policy in the United Kingdom: challenges and opportunities in a new era. Marine Policy, (in press).

Friedrich, L., Fletcher, S., Gall, S., & Rees, S. (2013). Securing the benefits of the Marine Conservation Zone Network: Evidence for a declining ecological baseline. Centre for Marine and Coastal Policy Research, Plymouth University.

Hartley, B. L., Thompson, R. T., & Pahl, S. (accepted for publication). Marine litter education boosts children’s understanding and self-reported action. Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Law, K. L., & Thompson, R. C. (2014). Microplastics in the seas. Science, 345,144-145.

Manzi, S., Nichols, A., & Richardson, J. (2014). A non-participant observational study of health and social care waste disposal behaviour in the South West of England. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, (online publication prior to print)

Murray, P., Goodhew, J., & Murray, S. (2013). The Heart of ESD: Personally Engaging Learners with Sustainability. Environmental Education Research, (Published online November 2013).

Pahl, S., Sheppard, S. R. J., Boomsma, C., & Groves, C. (2014). Perceptions of time in relation to climate change. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs) Climate Change, 5, 375-388.

Tanja-Dijkstra, K., Pahl S., White, M. P., Andrade, J., May, J., Stone R. J., Bruce M., Mills, I., Auvray, M., Gabe, R., & Moles, D. R., (2014). Can virtual nature improve patient experiences and memories of dental treatment? A study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 15, 90-90.

Tanja-Dijkstra, K., Pahl S., White, M. P., Andrade, J., Qian, C., Bruce, M., May, J., & Moles, D. R. (2014). 'Improving Dental Experiences by Using Virtual Reality Distraction: A Simulation Study. PLOSOne, 3 (9), e91276.

Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S., & Thompson, R. C. (2014). Perceived risks and benefits of recreational visits to the marine environment: Integrating impacts on the environment and impacts on the visitor. Ocean and Coastal Management, 88, 53-63.

Zahra, D., Bailey, C., Hedge, C., Wyles, K., & Sanders, B. G. (2013). A Short Report on the Trait Meta-Mood Scale and the Importance of Scale Norms. Social Psychological Review, 15 (1), 14-24.