Research in my lab tracks emerging issues in interdisciplinary science and marine conservation. Solving problems in the real world requires excellent science (including natural and social sciences) coupled with an understanding of the role of formal and informal governance in policymaking. Over the last few years the research conducted by my postdocs, students, and I has been cast in the context of coupled social-ecological systems. My long-term interests in bycatch and how to reduce it has led in two directions—small-scale fisheries and dynamic ocean management.
In 2007, we published a critical new paper documenting the surprising magnitude of bycatch in small-scale fisheries in Mexico. It has been followed by many other cases. Now I have students and postdocs examining the sustainability of small-scale fisheries through a social-ecological systems lens in Alaska, California, Indonesia, Louisiana, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Peru, and the Philippines. In these systems, for solutions to be sustainable, they have to work for the people and the planet.
In 2011, we published a critical paper on marine spatial ecology of seabirds which applied emerging modeling approaches to dynamic habitats of these pelagic organisms. These models couple observational data, tagging and movement data, and remote sensing data to model the responses of marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles, sharks, and fishes to their dynamic environment. These approaches offer a novel way to move toward sustainability for these amazing animals and human activities like fishing and shipping.