A coral reef

Centre for Marine Ecological Resilience and Geological Resources (MERGeR)



Welcome to the Centre for Marine Ecological Resilience and Geological Resources (MERGeR). MERGeR addresses the interface between ecosystems, the use of natural resources and the law. Many ecosystems have been badly degraded by human influence, whether through climate change, other forms of pollution, or through over-use of resources. At MERGeR, we investigate how the law promotes or hinders resilience in the face of these threats and challenges, including those posed by geological resources development. MERGeR has a particular focus on marine resources and marine ecosystems resilience but also investigates fresh water and terrestrial ecosystem resilience issues.


MERGeR is committed to providing innovative world-class research in marine ecological resilience and geological resources development in relation to social and ecological resilience. The Centre will strive to lead the development of research in these areas, both in the UK and across the world.

Aims of the Centre

MERGeR’s aims are to:

  • lead the development of understanding in the role of law and lawyers in supporting marine ecological resilience
  • lead the development of a critical approach to, and understanding of, the role of law in the use of geological resources in line with ecological resilience
  • deliver evidence-based research with impact and to collaborate with both government and non-government organisations to achieve this
  • develop a collaborative, interdisciplinary network of cognate research centres and academics to engage in large-scale and long-term research projects
  • participate in debates on law reform and policy development on marine ecological resilience and geological resource development at both national and international levels
  • provide a supportive and collaborative forum for research on marine ecological resilience and geological resource development, which fosters the participation of early career researchers and postgraduate students.
  • News and events in 2018

    Workshops and Seminars

    1. The AHRC funded ‘Science Based Regulation of Arctic Offshore Energy Installations’ (SciBar Installations) network led by Professor Elizabeth Kirk and Professor Tina Hunter (Aberdeen University), hosted two workshops in 2018. The first workshop of the was held in Aberdeen University in January 2018. The second SciBar Installations network workshop was held in Nottingham Law School in March 2018. Workshop 2 brought together academics from a range of disciplines from across the UK, Canada, Iceland, Norway and Turkey to begin planning the next phase of grant applications for the network. This project led by Professor Kirk and Professor Hunter draws together academics from law and other disciplines to undertake a review of the governance and regulation of threats and impacts of and to Arctic offshore energy installations. The primary focus is the degree to which understanding from science, social science and engineering can and must influence policy making to ensure the sustainability of Arctic energy activities whilst incorporating best practice regulation. Reports of both the first and second workshops can be found on the SciBAr Installations website.

    2. On 21 February 2018, Dr Sally Little gave a MERGeR Research Series seminar entitled ‘Unbounded Boundaries and Moving Baselines: Estuaries and Coastal Seas in a Rapidly Changing World’.

    3. On 23 May 2018, MERGeR held its 1st Annual Workshop which focused on developing an NTU-based knowledge network, featuring PhD student presentations based on MERGeR-related themes.

    4. On 27 September 2018, the fourth MERGeR Research Seminar was delivered by Professor Louis Kotze (Marie Curie Research Fellow, University of Lincoln) and focused on the Global Pact for the Environment.

  • News and events in 2017

    Workshops and Seminars

    1. On 3 May 2017, the MERGeR Centre was successfully launched with an inaugural half-day workshop. This was followed by the equally successful inaugural lecture by Professor Elizabeth Kirk that same evening.

    The MERGeR workshop brought together academic staff with related research interests from across NTU, nationally, and from abroad. Aside from Law, the following Schools were represented Social Sciences, Animal, Rural and Environmental Science (ARES) and the Science and Technology were represented at the Workshop.

    A number of Advisory Board members of the Centre, notably Professor Ellen Hey from Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Christopher Whomersley, formerly Deputy Legal Adviser at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the UK Government; and Dr Edward Goodwin from Nottingham University School of Law, were able to participate in the Workshop, with Dr Goodwin contributing one of the four presentations as well. The other three presenters were Emeritus Professor Deborah Peel from Dundee University, Professor Tina Hunter from Aberdeen University, and Professor David M. Ong, NLS.

    In addition, representatives from eminent international organizations (Rosemarie Cadogan, from the Commonwealth Secretariat) and global civil society organizations (Johnny Briggs, from the UK branch of the Pew Charitable Trusts) were also able to participate in the Workshop.

    View a summary report of the Workshop.

    2. On 8 November 2017, MERGeR held a workshop led by Mr. Chris Whomersley (retired civil servant from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), a MERGeR Centre Advisory Board member, which focussed on the International Seabed Authority’s (ISA’s) Draft Regulations on Exploitation of Mineral Resources in the Area. Participants were invited to share their thoughts and opinions on the Draft Regulations, which led to a “MERGeR response” to the Authority’s consultation.

    3. On 29 November 2017, MERGeR hosted a research seminar at which Dr. Imad El Anis & PhD Candidate Mr Yan Nathrath (School of Social Sciences) presented on Regime Type and Social Acceptance of Nuclear Energy Transitions.


MERGeR brings together legal academics and PhD researchers from Nottingham Law School, academics from across Nottingham Trent more generally and external members in a thriving research centre.  A full list of members is provided below.

Key Staff

Professor Elizabeth Kirk (Co-director)

Professor David Ong (Co-director)

Mr. Olivier Yambo (Coordinator)

Advisory Board Members

Professor Frank Maes

Mr Chris Whomersley

Professor Tina Hunter

Professor Keyuan Zou

Professor Ellen Hey

Assistant Professor Edward Goodwin

Mr Stanley Johnson

Mr Malcolm Forster

Research students

Ms Hamida Aljaridi

Mr Olivier Noël Yambo

Ms Ronnah Tukundane Tumusiime

Ms Heather Alberro

Ms Laxmi Aggarwal

Jan Nathrath

Sattam Alrowais

Suliman Alshahmy

Jacob Ciesielczuk

Affiliate Members

Dr Nawaporn Saeneewong Na Ayudhaya

Dr Naporn Popattanachai


Consultation Response 2018

ONG, D.M., Individual submission to the new UK Parliament, House of Commons, Foreign Affairs Select Committee Inquiry on 'China & the International Rules-based System' (2018). This submission has been published on the UK parliamentary website.

KIRK, E.A., Individual submission to the UK Parliament, House of Commons, Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry on ‘the Changing Artic’ (2018). This submission has been published on the UK parliamentary website.

KIRK, E.A., Submission on behalf of the MERGeR Centre to the UK Parliament, House of Commons, Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry on ‘Sustainable Seas’ (2018). This submission has been published on the UK parliamentary website.

YAMBO, O.N., Submission on behalf of the MERGeR Centre to the UK Parliament, House of Commons, Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry on ‘Sustainable Seas’ (2018). This submission has been published on the UK parliamentary website.

Consultation Response 2017

MERGeR Response to the International Seabed Authority’s Consultation on Draft Regulations on Exploitation of Mineral Resources in the Area (MERGeR, 2017). Several members of MERGeR contributed to this response including Professor Elizabeth Kirk, Professor David Ong, Associate Professor Edward Goodwin, Professor Amin Al-Habaibeth, Dr Marcello Di Bonito, Associate Professor Graham Ferris, Dr Nicholas Ray, Associate Professor Garry Wilson, and Mr Olivier Yambo. It has been published as follows:


Books and Journal Articles


KIRK, E.A., 2018. UNDP and ocean governance. In: D. ATTARD, M. FITZMAURICE and A. NTOVAS, eds., The IMLI treatise on global ocean governance. Volume II: UN specialized agencies and global ocean governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198823964

AL-HABAIBEH, A., SHAKMAK, B. and FANSHAWE, S., 2018. Assessment of a novel technology for a stratified hot water energy storage – the water snake. Applied Energy, 222, pp. 189-198. ISSN 0306-2619

AL-HABAIBEH, A., ATHRESH, A.P. and PARKER, K., 2018. Performance analysis of using mine water from an abandoned coal mine for heating of buildings using an open loop based single shaft GSHP system. Applied Energy, 211, pp. 393-402. ISSN 0306-2619

AL-MARRI, W., AL-HABAIBEH, A. and WATKINS, M., 2018. An investigation into domestic energy consumption behaviour and public awareness of renewable energy in Qatar.Sustainable Cities and Society, 41, pp. 639-646. ISSN 2210-6707

POPATTANACHAI, N., ‘Environmental Disputes from Regional Sea Programmes before ITLOS: Its Potential Role, Contribution, and the Challenges it Would Face in a Land-based Pollution Case’ (2018) 14 New Zealand Yearbook of International Law 93, pp. 58-93. ISBN 9789004345911

MAES, F., A New Perspective at the Ship-Air-Sea-Interface: The Environmental Impacts of Exhaust Gas Scrubber Discharge (2018) Frontiers in Marine Science, 5 (139). ISSN  22967745


LIU, N, KIRK, EA and HENRIKSEN, T, eds., 2017, The European Union and the Arctic. Leiden and Boston: Brill. ISBN 9789004349179. Available in open access format here http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/books/9789004349179

KIRK, E.A. and SAENEEWONG NA AYUDHAYA, N., 2017. The Black Sea Biodiversity and Landscape Conservation Protocol. In: M. FITZMAURICE, A. TANZI and A. PAPANTONIOU, eds., Multilateral environmental treaties. Elgar encyclopedia of environmental law. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. ISBN 9781783477203

KIRK, E.A., POPATTANACHAI, N. and IBE, C., 2017. Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution 1992. In: M. FITZMAURICE, A. TANZI and A. PAPANTONIOU, eds., Multilateral environmental treaties. Elgar encyclopaedia of environmental law. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. ISBN 9781783477203

ONG, D.M., 2017. Litigation against multinational oil companies in their home state jurisdictions: an alternative legal response to pollution damage in foreign jurisdictions? In C. TAN & J. FAUNDEZ, eds., Natural Resources & Sustainable Development: International Economic Law Perspectives. Cheltenham:Edward Elgar. ISBN 97814783478378

SHIN, H.D., AL-HABAIBEH, A. and CASAMAYOR, J.L., 2017. Using human-powered products for sustainability and health: benefits, challenges, and opportunities. Journal of Cleaner Production, 168, pp. 575-583. ISSN 0959-6526

HAWAS, A. and AL-HABAIBEH, A., 2017. Innovative concept of an educational physical simulation tool for teaching energy consumption in buildings for enhancing public engagement. Energy Procedia, 142, pp. 2942-2952. ISSN 1876-6102

AL-HABAIBEH, A., SHAKMAK, B. and FANSHAWE, S., 2017. The development of an experimental test rig to evaluate the performance of a new technology for stratified hot water storage - the Water Snake. Energy Procedia, 142, pp. 3644-3653. ISSN 1876-6102

AL-MARRI, W., AL-HABAIBEH, A. and ABDO, H., 2017. Exploring the relationship between energy cost and people's consumption behaviour.Energy Procedia, 105, pp. 3464-3470. ISSN 1876-6102

ATHRESH, A.P., AL-HABAIBEH, A. and PARKER, K., 2017. An innovative and integrated approach for using energy from the flooded coal mines for pre-warming of a gas engine in standby mode using GSHP. Energy Procedia, 105, pp. 2531-2538. ISSN 1876-6102

HAWAS, A., AL-HABAIBEH, A. and MEDJDOUB, B., 2017. Innovative design of an educational physical simulation tool for investigating energy consumption in buildings for enhancing public engagement. Energy Procedia, 105, pp. 2615-2622. ISSN 1876-6102

BANKS, D., ATHRESH, A., AL-HABAIBEH, A. and BURNSIDE, N., 2017. Water from abandoned mines as a heat source: practical experiences of open- and closed-loop strategies, United Kingdom. Sustainable Water Resources Management. ISSN 2363-5037

KYRIAZI, Z., LEJANO, R., MAES, F., DEGRAER, S., 2017. A cooperative game-theoretic framework for negotiating marine spatial allocation agreements among heterogeneous players, Journal of Environmental Management, 187, pp. 444-455. ISSN 0301-4797

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