Research Highlight: Misguided attempts to revive Vaquita Conservation

You may have heard about the vaquita, a hapless little porpoise species in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico. It’s been one of the most high-profile marine conservation cases in recent months – its numbers had plummeted to the point where world experts in marine mammal conservation decided that the only hope for the species…

Some tips for aspiring conservation researchers

I often receive emails from aspiring students and researchers.  Some want to work with me, others are more generally interested in advice about finding field jobs or grad school.  It’s wonderful to get these messages and to see this enthusiasm! However, I am not currently in a position to take on any students or interns;…

Linking Design Thinking and Social-Ecological Research in Mon State, Myanmar

Working with Point b Design + Training and the Marine Science Department at Mawlamyine University, I am (1) learning more about design thinking and human-centered research alongside graduate students and faculty in Point b’s “Human Centered Research Skills” course, and (2) collaborating with Marine Science faculty and a Point b intern on a pilot research…

Read all about it: Multi-methods approach for estimating Irrawaddy dolphin bycatch

Officially out in Marine Mammal Science this month – another chapter from the ol’ disseration – Multi-methods approach to characterizing the magnitude, impact, and spatial risk of Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) bycatch in small-scale fisheries in Malampaya Sound, Philippines! Email me to request a copy if you do not have access to Marine Mammal Science. Abstract…

Project: Perspectives on the Future of Vaquita Conservation

The vaquita is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. It is a tiny porpoise that is found only in the Upper Gulf of California. Its decline has been primarily caused by bycatch, or accidental capture in fishing gear. Efforts to conserve this hapless species have stirred up a veritable maelstrom of controversy and distrust….

On “hopelessness”, ignorant bliss, and pragmatism

Main point: One of the most intensely frustrating attributes of the general conservation community is a fear of realism – optimism is important, of course, but so is pragmatism. Species, ecosystems, resources (whatever you’re interested in conserving) will not survive merely because we hold hands and *believe* that they can.  Conservation approaches must be designed…