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1.8 Ethics, biases and validity



Addressing the ethical dimensions of the current research project, one of the primary obligations of researchers in the LUDP discipline is to contribute to potential solutions to the increasing impacts of climate change. As my project seeks to explore the potential integration of marine life, such as seaweed, in alleviating wicked problems, one of the ethical positions is to ensure the intrinsic values[76] of coastal ecosystems are recognised (along with their instrumental benefits to humans), i.e. the right to exist and thrive in the intertidal zones as a critical part of the waterfront (i.e., multispecies coexistence). This effort to consider nonhuman species as intrinsically valuable draws on alternative ways of conceiving nonhuman ecosystems, which have especially been the case with studies of indigenous world views that think differently about the environmental crisis (Mentink, 2018; Rodgers, 2017) (see section 3.2.5 A relational for more information). In sum, alternative world views can help create and support spatial and environmental conditions that aid marine habitats to form in changing climatic conditions, not only as an instrument for human concerns but as an entity with a right to exist in and of itself.

    Furthermore, while subjective preconceived biases, preconceptions and interpretations of the researcher are inevitable, I have strived to make the research processes as transparent as possible, thereby bringing any situated biases and preconceptions to the foreground. Additionally, I have tried to ensure that both contrasting sides of the arguments around developing our coastal cities are presented (for instance, presenting the case for both hard and soft approaches to coastal protection and adaptation in Part III). To do so, multiple sources of evidence are presented, and the most recent literature is referenced whenever possible. In my effort to further validate the reliability of the research and to tackle the transdisciplinary nature of this research carefully (particularly the integration of marine biology), I have also engaged in close collaboration and consultation with many marine biologists and other experts through semi-structured interviews to test and review my ideas and proposals (refer to preface section: The expert peer review process and access to data and Appendix 2: The profile of all interviewees). There were also other opportunities to get more detailed peer reviews/expert feedback for the journal articles I wrote throughout my PhD.


[76] Intrinsic values of ecosystems have increasing importance in today’s exploitative economic models, as natural seaweed forests are vulnerable to exploitation in the future, such as their potential for feed and biofuel. For instance, before WW2, there was a fairly large natural population of red macroalgae (Furcellaria – Danish agar) on the coast of Djursland in shallow waters, which was almost made extinct due to over-harvesting by industry (Mouritsen, 2019).

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