EARLY CAREER RESEARCHERS

CMS Postdocs

Dr Chris Cvitanovic
post doc
Dr Chris Cvitanovic is an Interdisciplinary Research Fellow specialising in knowledge exchange, stakeholder engagement and improving the governance of marine resources. In particular Chris is assessing the role, importance and utility of polycentric governance structures in ensuring the resilience and sustainable management of Australian fisheries. This work will elucidate the key requirements to build institutional capacity to facilitate optimal management arrangements. Chris draws on almost ten years of experience working at the interface of science and policy for the Australian Government Department of Environment, and then as a Knowledge Broker in CSIROs Climate Adaptation Flagship. Previously Chris' research has also focused on understanding the mechanisms underpinning the resilience of coral reef systems, primarily herbivory and water quality.
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Dr Kirsty Nash
post doc
Dr Kirsty Nash is looking into social-ecological thresholds and using that knowledge to predict a safe and just operating space for humanity in the global ocean. In particular, Kirsty is exploring the trade-offs between living within the ocean's ecological limits and meeting societal needs to ensure minimum standards of human wellbeing. More broadly, the overarching theme of Kirsty's research is the resilience of marine ecosystems. Her research is split into three main areas: i) the cross-scale and spatial resilience of ecological communities, using discontinuity analysis and approaches to elucidate cross-scale patterns; ii) ecological indicators for data-poor, tropical fisheries; and iii) the functional and spatial ecology of fishes. Important underlying themes of her research are body size distributions, the importance of structural and habitat complexity in driving community composition, and cross-scale patterns, interactions and feedbacks.
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Dr Karen Alexander
post doc
Dr Karen Alexander is investigating whether the slow progression of ecosystem based management in Tasmania is because of ‘sectoral interplay’ - the challenges and tensions which prevent ‘whole of government’ cooperation and political consensus among conflicting user and interest groups. Karen is a human geographer specialising in issues around the transition to a green (blue) economy. Her research interests include identifying and understanding those aspects of governance that can act as incentives or barriers to marine management and, in particular, conflict between users of the marine space. Her current research focus is regional ecosystem-based coastal management, the governance constraints that prevent implementation of an integrated EBM approach and issues of ‘sectoral interplay’.
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CMS Phd students

Mary MacKay
Phd Student
Mary’s background is interdisciplinary, with a BSc. in environmental biology and geography and MSc. in marine systems and policies. Her project aims to gain a greater understanding of current regulatory compliance behaviour of marine resource users and the incentivising of compliance behaviour through positive reinforcement (nudges), rather than additional punitive economic incentives. The outcomes are to improve compliance of marine resource users, reducing management costs, improving marine resource sustainability and assisting in marine conservation in general.
Yannick Rousseau
Phd Student
Yannick’s background is physics, environmental sciences and resource management. He is currently researching his PhD on global fisheries, and the impact of climatic, environmental, and human drivers on their future. His project aims at understanding drivers of global fleets, their subsequent modelling and forecast of future changes in yield.
Maree Fudge
Phd Student
Maree is exploring the challenges of political representation in the governance of multi-user coastal systems characterised by multiple values. The questions of who and how stakeholders should be involved in decision-making continue to trouble political, policy, regulatory, industry and research communities. Maree will test the proposition that the strong norms of participation dominating the institutions in shared marine resource governance may be hindering decision-making. The results of this research will assist in improving institutional designs for governing shared marine and coastal systems.
Elisavet (Lizy) Spanou
Phd Student
Lizy is researching deliberative non-commercial economic values in relation to marine and coastal environments. The aim is to identify the values held by society, and investigate how they trade off against one another in order to inform decision-making. Additionally, there will be an exploration of the methodologies available to identify these values and a comparison of their performance in establishing consistent and comparable measures of value to better inform policy.
Rachel Kelly
Phd Student
Rachel’s background is primarily in marine biodiversity and conservation. Her PhD research is focused on social licence in the marine realm. She aims to produce novel understanding as to how social licence may be used to bridge communication gaps and barriers between diverse users of the ocean environment and how we can advance our understanding of social licence by applying it to the marine sector. By means of social research case studies (national and international), Rachel will conduct a qualitative investigation of community understandings of the ocean and social licence of marine systems, including recreational fisheries and marine protected areas, and identify how engagement, knowledge and perceptions of marine realm management might be improved.
Angela Abolhassani
Phd Student
Angela has a background in international fisheries management law and policy. Her research examines conflicts among states within regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) that regulate tuna. Angela’s PhD will interrogate how norms of equity and cooperation reflected in international law on transboundary fish stocks are frustrated by the institutional design and operation of RFMOs.
Joseph Wenta
Phd Student
Joseph is researching the intersection of social-ecological resilience and law in the context of climate change impacts in Tasmania and south-eastern Australia. His PhD research will include analysis of the influence of law and governance regimes on resilience in marine social-ecological systems. This research is informed by Joseph’s background in Australian public law and international environmental law.
Richard Cottrell
Phd Student
Richard's research aims to cross the traditional land-sea management boundaries and quantify the spectrum of interactions between agriculture , aquaculture and fisheries. Understanding the scale of these links and how they may vary under changing economies, demography and climate will enable important decisions to be made on how best to optimise future food security whilst minimising environmental impact.
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Lisa Uffman-Kirsch
Phd Student
A member of the Washington, D.C. bar, Lisa’s academic background has focused on marine conservation, marine fisheries and Law of the Sea. Her doctoral research investigates legal approval processes for marine activities and their relationship with community involvement and project acceptance. It considers whether embedding community engagement into legal approval processes for marine projects reduces conflict and allows development of positive social license. She ultimately seeks to develop mechanisms by which to incorporate elements of the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) framework into marine legal approval processes. This involves challenging new requirements for determining who constitutes the ‘affected community’, whose values are important, and what provides legal basis for their FPIC rights.
Coco Cullen-Knox
Phd Student
Coco’s research explores mediated environmental conflict in relation to seafood and target markets. Her study seeks to understand how environmental concerns are produced, communicated, responded to and resolved between pressure groups, governments and industry in the context of regional politics, trade, consumption, sustainability and media technologies. This is achieved by following issues and campaigns that seek to influence political, corporate and consumer behaviour. Her research will provide insight into the capacity for environmental campaigning and mediated public debate to influence environmental and market related decision-making in an increasingly transnational world.
 
Danielle Smith
Phd Student
Danielle's research looks at how international law might assist in resolving disputes over the interpretation of ‘rational use’ in the context of conservation within the CAMLR Convention. It will focus on how the process of establishing MPAs in the Southern Ocean, deriving lessons learnt about management, monitoring, compliance and enforcement. It will also look at how CCAMLR’s role may change and/or adapt with the new emerging legal instruments enforcing establishment of MPAs in areas beyond national jurisdiction under UNCLOS.
Carla Sbrocchi
Phd Student (UTS)
Carla is based at the University of Technology Sydney and is an external CMS member. Her work focuses on how to integrate social information into fisheries decision making. In particular, she is exploring a range of qualitative and quantitative methods (e.g. bayesian networks) to find what are the most effective means of integrating social, ecological and economic aspects for decision-making.
Mohammad (Mo) Khodajouei
Phd Student
Mo’s research is focused around how one can best apply GIS techniques to integrate a range of information (i.e. operational, environmental and social) to improve spatial planning, decision support and management outcomes.
Kelsey Richardson
Phd Student
Kelsey is researching the amounts, types, fates and impacts of fishing gear loss from major commercial fisheries around the world. Her research is multidisciplinary, and combines a quantitative, statistical approach to identify gear loss with an examination of governance regimes that mitigate and manage gear loss to highlight effective offset strategies that reduce gear loss and its associated impacts. Kelsey has a background in marine conservation and international environmental policy, with an ongoing focus on the global marine debris issue.
Kathryn Willis
Phd Student
Kathryn's research is on evaluating different types of government activities and their effect on reducing littering in the environment. The research focuses on three categories: investment in infrastructure and facilities, development of policies, outreach and other education programs. The study will initially evaluate activities within Australia and then broaden to allow comparisons with the Asia-Pacific coastal countries.

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