The Conservation Planning Group often welcomes visitors from other universities, NGOs or governmental institutions to share experiences, discuss current projects and create new collaborations. This week, Dr. Sangeeta Mangubhai from the Wildlife Conservation Society (Fiji) took a few days in her busy schedule after the attending the ATBC conference in Cairns to come meet with several members of the group in Townsville.
Sangeeta joined the Wildlife Conservation Society (Fiji) in 2014 as the Deputy Director. She has worked on marine science and conservation in Australia, East Africa, Indonesia and the South Pacific. She completed her Ph.D. in 2007 through Southern Cross University in Lismore, Australia, looking at reproduction and recruitment of corals in Kenya. Since then she has been working on designing marine protected areas, marine spatial planning, community fisheries, environmental policy, and climate change. She is a specialist in designing monitoring programs to understand impacts of disturbances on coral reef communities, and the return of investment of conservation strategies. She is currently an editor for the journal Pacific Conservation Biology, an adjunct scientist for New England Aquarium, co-chair for Ecosystem Services Partnerships for Oceania, Chairperson for the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Biological-Socioeconomic Working Group, and has recently established the Fiji Scientific Writers’ Group.
The purpose of Sangeeta’s visit was to meet with a wide diversity of researchers from James Cook University and learn about what research they were doing, and look for potential future collaborations with like-minded scientists. In particular she was interested in looking at how socioeconomic research can help us better understand social drivers of environmental change, and contribute to better management decisions. Sangeeta also wanted the opportunity to share with others a little about Fiji, where she is from, and some of the conservation efforts that are happening there.
Her visit was much appreciated, and discussions were fruitful. We learned more about NGO life in general, and about the work of the Wildlife Conservation Society (Fiji) in particular. It was particularly interesting, as academics, to see how our science can become applied in real-world conservation projects.
“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Bob Pressey’s group! The Conservation Planning Group is a diverse group of people who are clearly thinking about how to make an impact with their research beyond scientific publications.” ~ S. Mangubhai.