The Conservation Planning Group is proud to announce the recent graduation of three of its members. Georgina, Rafael and Melanie received their PhD degrees from James Cook University in March 2016. All three were primarily supervised by Prof. Bob Pressey and undertook their research at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.
Dr. Rafael Magri’s PhD project investigated ways to better account for processes affecting the long-term maintenance of biodiversity when designing marine reserves. More specifically, he developed methods that could be used by decision makers to make conservation strategies more accountable and informative. Conservation planners using those methods would improve evidence base for effective biodiversity conservation. After submitting the thesis just on time, Rafael returned to his job at the national agency for biodiversity conservation in Brazil. Here, he works closely with decision-makers and hopes to foster conservation planning principles and practice in Brazil. This year he is starting an exciting project which aims to identify priority areas for conservation considering multiple ecological goals at a large scale.
“I am humbled by having had the opportunity to work with Bob and his group, which gave me another perspective of applied science” says Rafael.
You can watch Rafael’s PhD exit seminar here.
Dr. Georgina Gurney’s PhD thesis focused broadly on how to better understand and incorporate socioeconomic considerations into natural resource management. More specifically her thesis had three aims: (1) to investigate the impacts of MPAs on associated human communities; (2) to identify the relative role of multiple-scale social and institutional factors in influencing stakeholders’ involvement in MPA management; and (3) to explore alternatives for integrating socioeconomic factors into MPA spatial planning to minimise trade-offs between fisheries, social equity and biodiversity objectives. Georgina took an interdisciplinary approach in her research, drawing on theory and methods from a range of disciplines including social psychology, ecology, behavioural economics, and institutional analysis. Georgina is now an Environmental Science Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, where she is continuing her research on understanding the factors that influence opportunities for collaborative management of marine common-pool natural resources, and the multiple socioeconomic and environmental outcomes of such initiatives.
You can watch Georgina’s PhD exit seminar here.
Dr. Melanie Hamel’s project, in collaboration with the Entropie research unit at the French Research Institute for Development in New Caledonia (IRD), looked at how we can integrate lessons from socioeconomic and biodiversity approaches for coral-reef conservation planning in regions with high resource dependence such as Papua New Guinea and Wallis and Futuna. More specifically, she developed methods that could be used by resource managers to reconcile conservation and socioeconomic objectives, and investigated the effectiveness of different types of biodiversity and socioeconomic datasets at achieving those objectives in data-poor contexts. After her PhD (and wedding in France!), Mel wore her two favourite hats: she assisted Prof. Josh Cinner and Dr. Michele Barnes in their research on social factors influencing the success of co-management of coral reef resources, and worked as a communications manager for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. She is just about to get back to her own research on conservation planning in coral reef regions in close collaboration with Bob, so stay tuned to learn more about her projects!
You can watch Melanie’s PhD exit seminar here.