Dr Merryn Thomas

Research Officer, Biosciences

Telephone number

+44 (0) 1792
Research Office - 127D
First Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus


My research is interdisciplinary in nature and draws on geography, psychology and social science to explore how people relate with their environment. I have a longstanding interest in using creative and innovative methods to engage diverse publics, including mental models interviews, deliberative workshops, role play, semi-structured interviews, mobile and photographic methods.
I am particularly interested in the potential of such methods to help articulate more intangible relationships with nature.

I am currently working with the FIRE Lab team in Biosciences to explore young peoples’ relationships with freshwater environments. We are using sci-art approaches including poetry and drawing, centred around a dedicated FIRE Lab Kids website.

I completed my PhD in 2013 using a mixed-methods, mental-models approach to explore public and expert perceptions of sea-level change on the Severn Estuary. Since then, I have held two post-doctoral positions at Cardiff University, working with Professor Nick Pidgeon. For NERC-funded CoastWEB, I used in-depth mobile interviews to better understand the connections between coastal habitats and human health and wellbeing. Prior to this I collaborated with colleagues at UCSB Santa Barbara on a NSF-funded project to explore public perceptions of shale gas development in the UK and USA.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Creative and novel approaches to engagement
  • Qualitative research, multi-modal methods
  • Relationships with nature and well-being
  • Public and expert perceptions of environmental risk
  • Responses to climate change and sea-level rise

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests

My teaching experience (October 2010-present) includes: undergraduate final year project supervision, Cardiff School of Psychology; teaching ‘Introduction to qualitative methods’ and assisting on a number of field courses, Cardiff University School of Earth and Ocean Sciences; photography tuition (Merryn Thomas Photography).

Award Highlights