Marine and Coastal Policy Research Unit

Welcome to MarCoPol

The aim of the Marine and Coastal Policy Research Unit (MarCoPol) is to provide a sound scientific, social, legal and economic basis for improved policy and management for the sustainable use and protection of the marine and coastal environment.


Ecosystem services and marine governance

Research at the centre is at the forefront of efforts to assess and value the ecosystem services provided by the marine environment. Marine ecosystem services are the benefits delivered to society by the functions of a healthy marine ecosystem. An understanding of the value of ecosystem services supports good marine governance by providing a lens through which to take account of the costs and benefits to different policy options to society. Researchers in the centre use this lens to evaluate the impacts of Marine Protected Areas, as well as exploring it as a tool for stakeholder engagement.

Biodiversity science for marine policy

Biodiversity research in the centre addresses the conservation of marine biodiversity in a holistic manner, recognising that marine conservation takes place within a complex socio-ecological context. Researchers at the centre are directly involved in the research and development of ecosystem indicators for tracking environmental change in relation to policy frameworks, as well as research into space use of mobile species to inform and evaluate management measures.

Marine environmental law and cultural heritage

Law research within the centre focuses on informing policy and practice for the sustainable use and protection of the marine environment. Researchers within the centre work closely with regulatory bodies in areas including the legal protection of habitats, fisheries management and renewable energy, as well as the protection of marine cultural heritage.

Core contributors

Current PhD and MPhil students

Contact MarCoPol


Telephone: +44 1752 584728

Address: Marine and Coastal Policy Research Unit (MarCoPol), University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA.

Twitter: @MarCoPolPU