Dr Leslie Mabon
Dr Leslie Mabon is Senior Lecturer in Social Science at the Scottish Association for Marine Science. Leslie grew up in a fishing village in the Scottish Highlands, worked for five years in the North Sea Oil Capital of Aberdeen, and now lives and works in the port town of Oban on the west coast of Scotland. These experiences have helped him to understand how the deep sea is both a source of livelihood for people living on the coast, and also a powerful force shaping culture, identity and daily life. Leslie’s specific research interest in the deep sea relates to the governance of risk and uncertainty associated with environmental change, with a particular interest in what these issues mean for Scotland and Japan. Leslie looks at the deep sea in two specific areas:
1. The storage of carbon dioxide in geological structures underneath the seabed as a strategy to mitigate climate change. Leslie has explored questions of what offshore carbon dioxide storage means for the water column, and in particular the people whose livelihoods rely on the sea, in the context of Japan’s first carbon dioxide storage demonstration project at Tomakomai and also in the re-use of North Sea oil and gas fields in the UK;
2. The social and cultural dimensions of major long-term contamination of the sea – specifically, the Fukushima Dai’ichi nuclear accident. Around four-fifths of the radioactive matter released from the Fukushima nuclear plant entered the north-west Pacific Ocean, with effects on the marine environment and significant consequences for fisheries. Since 2014, Leslie has been conducting empirical research with communities on the Fukushima coast, to understand how the effects of the nuclear accident on the sea has impacted upon people’s livelihoods and sense of identity.
Leslie’s research into issues relating to the deep sea has been supported with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Japan Foundation, and the Regional Studies Association among others.