Human health and Well-being Research
Since 2010, the Aquarium has supported a structured programme of research exploring the potential for public aquariums to provide human health and well-being benefits. This research has particularly focused on how marine biodiversity (variety of marine life in an exhibit or in a natural environment) can influence a person’s mental and physical well-being.Results from this research have shown that aquariums can provide valuable ‘restorative’ experiences (reduced stress, greater relaxation, improvements in mood). Furthermore, biodiversity has been shown to influence well-being outcomes. This is important as if people understand that biodiversity is important to their health and well-being they may be more likely to want to conserve the marine environment which is the goal of the National Marine Aquarium.
Findings from our health and well-being research have been disseminated at a number of international, national and local conferences. There have been two published articles in peer-reviewed journals to date, with another in press and a fourth article in preparation. As work in this area progresses, findings will continue to be disseminated via conference talks, peer-reviewed journal publications and PR opportunities, as applicable to ensure that our profile and expertise in this area remains high. Currently, we are the only the Aquarium that is involved in this research which provides many opportunities for increased reputation, funding and partnerships. Therefore the Aquarium intends to continue research in this area with further potential research possibilities with new and existing partners already in the pipeline. This work may also have relevance for:
- Aquarium interpretation design and planning
- Exhibit design
- Conservation message delivery (Discovery and Learning Team)
Real-world applications, such as the creation of ‘optimum’ restorative environments in healthcare and workplace settings, for which a consultation fee could be charged