Dr Deborah Cracknell

Research interests

My main research interests are in environmental and conservation psychology, and marine biology and ecology. I am particularly interested in the relationships between people and their environments; the role of biodiversity in influencing human health and well-being; and factors affecting pro-environmental behaviours, particularly those that affect the marine environment, such as marine litter.  

My PhD investigated how viewing sub-aquatic species affected human health and well-being, and the factors, such as species richness and abundance, that may influence well-being outcomes. Although the PhD focused mainly on people’s psychological and physiological responses in a public aquarium setting (or representations of such settings), subsequent work has broadened this approach to explore perceived responses to coastal scenes.

I am also interested the benefits that volunteering, particularly on marine-based citizen science projects, can have on health and well-being.

I am a member of the following research groups:

Psychology and Sustainability Research Group at Plymouth University.

International Association of People-Environment Studies (IAPS), Restorative Environments Network (REN).

British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) Research Committee, and co-lead on the BIAZA Health and Well-being sub-committee.


White, M. P., Weeks, A., Hooper, T., Bleakley, L., Cracknell, D., Lovell, R. & Jefferson, R. L. (2017). Marine wildlife as an important component of coastal visits: The role of perceived biodiversity and species behaviour. Marine Policy, 78, 80-89. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X16306686

Cracknell, D., White, M. P., Pahl, S. & Depledge, M.H. (2017). A preliminary investigation into the restorative potential of public aquaria exhibits: A UK student-based study. Landscape Research, 42, 18-32. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01426397.2016.1243236?journalCode=clar20

Cracknell, D.L., White, M., Pahl, S., Nichols, W.J. & Depledge, M. H. (2015). Marine Biota and Psychological Well-Being: A Preliminary Examination of Dose–Response Effects in an aquarium setting. Environment and Behavior, 48, 1242-1269. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0013916515597512

White, M.P., Cracknell, D., Corcoran, A. Jenkinson, G. & Depledge, M.H. (2014): Do Preferences for Waterscapes Persist in Inclement Weather and Extend to Sub-aquatic Scenes? Landscape Research, 39, 339-358. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01426397.2012.759919?src=recsys&journalCode=clar20

Wyles, K.J., Pahl, S., White, M. Morris, S., Cracknell, D. & Thompson, R.C. (2013). Towards a Marine Mindset: Visiting an Aquarium Can Improve Attitudes and Intentions Regards Marine Sustainability. Visitor Studies, 16, 95-110. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10645578.2013.768077?scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=uvst20

White, M., Smith, A., Humphryes, K., Pahl, S., Snelling, D., & Depledge, M. (2010). Blue Space: Preferences, affective judgements and perceived restorativeness of aquatic environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30, 482-493. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272494410000496

Hiscock, K., Sharrock, S., Highfield, J. & Snelling, D. (2010). ‘Colonisation of an artificial reef – ex-HMS Scylla’. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 90(1), 69-94. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom/article/colonization-of-an-artificial-reef-in-southwest-englandexhms-scylla/9703BEC3821741367714BC80F33E398B

Thomas, S., Burdett H., Temperton, B., Wick, R., Snelling, D., McGrath, J.W., Quinn, J.P., Munn, C., and Gilbert, J.A. (2010). Evidence for phosphonate usage in the coral holobiont. The ISME Journal, 4(3), 459-61. http://www.nature.com/articles/ismej2009129