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Dr Natalie Welden

Profile summary

  • Research Staff
  • Research Associate
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Engineering & Innovation
  • natalie.welden

Professional biography

Natalie began her studies at the University of Derby where she completed a BSc in Ecology, before moving to the University of York to undertake an MSc in Marine Environmental Management. After graduating, Natalie volunteered with the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre on their long-running marine mammal observer programme, before moving to Scotland to begin a PhD on the Impacts of Marine Microplastic Pollution at the University Marine Biological Station in Millport. 

Following her time in Millport, Natalie was employed at the Stockholm Environment Institute in York, working on the use of citizen science to monitor biodiversity and human impact on the environment across the UK.

Since joining the Open University, Natalie has focused on the environmental impacts of plactics in both terrestrial and marine habitats.


Research interests

Natalie's research interests cover are primarily focused on the impacts of pollutants in aquatic habitats. Recent research areas include:

  • The impact of plastics on marine food webs and health
  • The distribution of microplastics in the marine environment
  • Novel methods for the quantification of environmental plastics
  • The morphology growth of crustacea


Teaching interests

Natalie has previously worked as a tutor at the University Marine Biological Station Millport, and Field Studies Council Centers in Millport, Kindrogan and Slapton. Key areas of experience include the fields of environmental monitoring in aquatic habitats, aquatic ecology, anatomy, and identification.


Impact and engagement

In addition to her research activities, Natalie is heavily involved in education and outreach with organisations including the RSPB, Scottish RYA, and the Society for Conservation Biology, and has previously worked with the FSC teaching geography and biology to all ages.

At the Stockholm Environment Institute she became involved in the OPAL project, using specially designed citizen science packs to encourage members of the public to engage with and contibute to the knowledge on diverse environmental issues, from water pollution to the spread of invasive species.

Natalie has also worked alongside Moors for the Future and the Clyde Nurdle Quest in the development of citizen science surveys, and is on the board of the Clyde Marine Mammal Project, a non-profit organisation monitoring and protecting the cetacean population of the Clyde Sea Area.


Impacts of Changing Ocean Circulation on the Distribution of Marine Microplastic Litter (2017-05-25)
Welden, Natalie A.C. and Lusher, Amy L.
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 13(3) (pp. 483-487)
Degradation of Common Polymer Ropes in a Sublittoral Marine Environment (2017-05-15)
Welden, Natalie A. and Cowie, Phillip R.
Marine Pollution Bulletin, 118(1-2) (pp. 248-253)
Sampling, isolating and identifying microplastics ingested by fish and invertebrates (2017-03-07)
Lusher, A. L.; Welden, N. A.; Sobral, P. and Cole, M.
Analytical Methods, 9(9) (pp. 1346-1360)
Long-term microplastic retention causes reduced body condition in the langoustine, Nephrops norvegicus (2016-11)
Welden, Natalie A.C. and Cowie, Phillip R.
Environmental Pollution, 218 (pp. 895-900)
Environment and gut morphology influence microplastic retention in langoustine, Nephrops norvegicus (2016-07)
Welden, Natalie A.C. and Cowie, Phillip R.
Environmental Pollution, 214 (pp. 859-865)
Growth and gut morphology of the lobster Nephrops norvegicus (2015-01)
Welden, Natalie A.; Taylor, Alan C. and Cowie, Phillip R.
Journal of Crustacean Biology, 35(1) (pp. 20-25)

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