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Dr Cheryl Willis

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Research Fellow, Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP). Associate Lecturer – Business School (Tourism Management)

I am a social scientist with an interest and enthusiasm for inter-disciplinary and collaborative working. My research interests include human-nature relationships, meanings and motivations in tourism experiences, particularly in coastal and marine environments and within the context of human well-being.

I was awarded my PhD from the University of Exeter in 2014 which was concerned with understanding the ‘intangible’ benefits of nature and specifically the ways in which a coastal landscape served to enhance human well-being. This research drew on contemporary understandings of cultural ecosystem services and developed novel methodologies to understand how they can be captured and measured (thesis entitled ‘Exploring Nature’s Benefits through Tourism and Eudaimonic Well-being: A Case Study of the Jurassic Coast, Dorset’)

My current research ‘Determining the Impacts of Harmful Algal Blooms on Cultural Ecosystem Services and Human Well-being’ is funded through the NERC Valuing Nature Programme Placement Scheme 2016. This research draws on cutting edge work conducted by scientists at Plymouth Marine Laboratory to understand and model the occurrence and impact of Harmful Algal Blooms in the marine environment. My work will extend natural science understandings of these phenomena to determine their impact on human perceptions, uses and values of marine and coastal areas and effects on human well-being.