Nathan Merchant

Principal Scientist in Noise & Bioacoustics

Dr Nathan Merchant’s work focuses on understanding and assessing the impact of underwater noise pollution on marine life. He helps to develop policies and management measures to reduce this impact through his advisory work with various national and international bodies (e.g. Defra, MMO, OSPAR, EU, UN).

Nathan is the Principal Scientist and Team Leader for the Cefas Noise and Bioacoustics Team, and joined Cefas in 2014. Prior to this, he worked as a postdoctoral scholar in the Parks Bioacoustics Lab at Syracuse University in upstate New York. He received his PhD (on underwater noise from shipping) from the Department of Physics at the University of Bath, and also holds an MSc in Acoustics and Music Technology from the University of Edinburgh, and a BSc (Hons) in Physics and Astronomy from Durham University.

Nathan is responsible for providing scientific advice on underwater noise to the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and oversees provision of noise-related technical advice to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW). He is co-chair of the OSPAR Intersessional Correspondence Group on noise which provides scientific coordination for the North-East Atlantic nations, and is a member of the European Technical Group on Noise (TG Noise) which advises on the implementation of Descriptor 11 of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

Nathan has delivered a wide range of projects on measurement, modelling, and impact assessment of underwater noise and implications for environmental policy. His work has been published in leading scientific journals in the fields of acoustics, ecology, conservation, and marine pollution, and he is a reviewer for over 20 academic journals and funding councils. Nathan is the recipient of the 2018 A.B. Wood Medal from the Institute of Acoustics for distinguished contributions to the application of underwater acoustics.

Research Links: ResearchGate, Google scholar

Contact Details:

Selected publications:

Merchant, N. D. (2019). Underwater noise abatement: Economic factors and policy options. Environmental Science & Policy 92, 116-123.

Merchant, N. D., Faulkner, R. C., & Martinez, R. (2018). Marine noise budgets in practice. Conservation Letters 11, e12420.

Faulkner, R. C., Farcas, A., & Merchant, N. D. (2018). Guiding principles for assessing the impact of underwater noise. Journal of Applied Ecology 55, 2531-2536.