Quantitative Marine Ecology Lab

Socio-ecological dynamics

Socio-environmental systems (SES) consist of linked human communities and natural ecosystems embedded within broader social and economic systems, governance regimes, and environmental contexts (Ostrom 2009)

Madagascar small-scale fisheries

Conceptual diagram of Madagascar project

Our work on marine protected areas led to an interdisciplinary collaboration with Drs. Merrill Baker-Medard (social scientist at Middlebury College) and Elizabeth Fairchild (fisheries biologist at the University of New Hampshire). Our goal is to develop tools to make better decisions in highly variable Malagasy fisheries. We take a holistic approach to study the entire socio-ecological system, examining interactions between ecosystem health, poverty, and human health. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation Coupled Natural-Human Systems program:

Baker-Medard Merrill, White Easton R., and Elizabeth Fairchild. Socio-Ecological Feedbacks of Marine Protected Areas: Dynamics of Small-Scale Fishing Communities and Inshore Marine Ecosystems. National Science Foundation CNH2: Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems. $602,320. 2019-2024.

Galapagos fisheries

We have a new project on fisheries in the Galapagos Islands. We are interested in the interactions between small-scale fisheries and industrial fishing. We’ll post details here as the project develops.

COVID-19 and seafood

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many locations implemented social distancing restrictions to stop the spread of the virus. Limitations on restaurants were seen early in the pandemic. These restrictions, in turn, reduced demand for seafood given that most seafood purchases are in restaurants. Classic data used in fisheries management, such as catch or seafood consumption, were not available early in the pandemic. Thus, we developed a set of indicators to assess how COVID-19 was affecting seafood demand and production. We published this work in a series of papers, including the one below.

White, Easton R., Halley Froehlich, Jessica A. Gephart, Richard S. Cottrell, Trevor Branch, Rahul Agrawal Bejarano, Julia Baum. 2021. Early effects of COVID-19 on US fisheries and seafood consumption. Fish and Fisheries.

  • In the top 1% Altmetric scores of all articles ever tracked
  • Picked up by over 200 news outlets
  • Referenced in a US Congressional Report