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Edward H. Allison

Principal Investigator

Edward H. Allison

Principal Investigator


Edward H. Allison

Professor of marine & Environmental affairs

SMEA, University of Washington

CV | SMEA | College of the Environment | google scholar | Research Gate


Research Summary

I am an interdisciplinary marine scientist with interests in coastal and marine social-ecological systems, particularly small-scale fisheries.  My work is often closely linked to policy or management and development practice and spans scales from global meta-analysis, through national policy analysis to local-site case-studies. My recent work has focused on people’s vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, and on the links between fisheries governance, marine conservation, poverty reduction, food security and human health.  Conceptually, my work is informed by scholarship in social-ecological systems and sustainability science, development studies and political ecology.  I often work in partnership with anthropologists, economists, human geographers and ecologists as well as other interdisciplinary scholars. Methodologically, I do both primary and secondary research and combine quantitative and qualitative analysis.  I have worked mainly in tropical areas of Africa, South and South East Asia, though I’ve also completed projects in the UK, Latin America and Oceania and have recently started projects in the Pacific North West. 

For more information about my work and that of the MARINA Lab, please see our Research page.

Courses Taught

SMEA 500 - Introduction to Marine Affairs
SMEA 501 - Interdisciplinary Marine Affairs Practice
SMEA 550B - Marine Affairs Issues in Puget Sound (Field Course)
SMEA 550C - Fish in the Global Food System


Selected Publications

Cinner, J. E., Adger, W. N., Allison, E. H., Barnes, M. L., Brown, K., Cohen, P. J., … Morrison, T. H. (2018). Building adaptive capacity to climate change in tropical coastal communities. Nature Climate Change, 8(2), 117–123.

Kittinger, J. N., Teh, L. C., Allison, E. H., Bennett, N. J., Crowder, L. B., Finkbeiner, E. M., ... & Young, J. (2017). Committing to socially responsible seafood. Science, 356(6341), 912-913.

Singleton, R. L., Allison, E. H., Le Billon, P., & Sumaila, U. R. (2017). Conservation and the right to fish: International conservation NGOs and the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries. Marine Policy, 84, 22-32.

Whitney, C.K., N.J. Bennett,  N.C. Ban,  E.H. Allison, D. R. Armitage, J. Blythe, J. M. Burt, W. Cheung, E. M. Finkbeiner, M. Kaplan-Hallam, R. I. Perry, N. J. Turner & L. Yumagulova (2017) Adaptive capacity: From assessment to action in coastal social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society, 22(2):22. 

Cinner, J. E., Huchery, C., MacNeil, M. A., Graham, N. A., McClanahan, T. R., Maina, J., ... & Allison, E. H. (2016). Bright spots among the world’s coral reefs. Nature, 535(7612), 416-419.

Golden, C.D., Allison, E.H., Cheung, W.W.L., Dey, M.M., Halpern, B.S., McCauley, D.J., Smith, M. and Vaitla, B. (2016). Nutrition: Fall in fish catch threatens human healthNature534, 317–320. 

Allison, E.H. and H.R. Bassett (2015). Climate change in the oceans: Human impacts and responses. Science 350(6262): 778-782.

Cinner J.E., Huchery C., Hicks C.C., Daw T.M., Marshall N., Wamukota A., Allison E.H. (2015). Changes in adaptive capacity of Kenyan fishing communities. Nature Climate Change 5: 872-876. 

Sampson G.S.,  Sanchirico J.N., Roheim C.A., Bush S.R., Taylor J.E., Allison E.H., Anderson J.L., Ban N.C., Fujita R., Jupiter S., and Wilson J.R. (2015) Secure sustainable seafood from developing countries. Science 348 (6234): 504–506. 

Bell, J.D., V. Allain, E.H. Allison, S. Andréfouët, N.L. Andrew, M.J. Batty, M. Blanc, J.M. Dambacher, J. Hampton, Q. Hanich, et al. (2015). Diversifying the use of tuna to improve food security and public health in Pacific Island countries and territories. Marine Policy 51: 584-591

Barange, M., G. Merino, J. L. Blanchard, J. Scholtens, J. Harle, E. H. Allison, J. I. Allen, J. Holt & S. Jennings (2014). Impacts of climate change on marine ecosystem production in societies dependent on fisheries. Nature Climate Change 4: 211–216

Ratner, B.D., Åsgård, B., & Allison, E.H. (2014). Fishing for justice: human rights, development, and fisheries sector reform.  Global Environmental Change 27: 120-13

Hall, S.J., R. Hilborn, N.L. Andrew and E.H. Allison (2013). Innovations in capture fisheries are an imperative for nutrition security in the developing world.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(21): 8393-8398

Allison, E.H., Ratner, B.D., Asgard, B.A., Willmann, R., Pomeroy, R.D., and Kurien, J. (2012). Rights-based fisheries governance: from fishing rights to human rights.   Fish and Fisheries 13(1): 14-29.

Armitage, D., Béné, C, Charles, A., Johnson, D. and Allison, E.H. (2012).  The interplay of wellbeing and resilience in applying a social-ecological perspectiveEcology & Society 17(4): 15

Béné, C., B. Hersoug, and E. H. Allison (2010). Not by rent alone: analyzing the pro-poor functions of small-scale fisheries in developing countries.  Development Policy Review 28(3): 325-358.

Allison, E.H., A. Perry, M-C. Badjeck, W.N. Adger, N.L. Andrew, K. Brown, D. Conway, A. Halls, G.M Pilling, J.D. Reynolds, and N.K. Dulvy (2009) Vulnerability of national economies to potential impacts of climate change on fisheries. Fish and Fisheries 10: 173-196.

Kissling, E., E.H. Allison, J.A. Seeley, S. Russell, M. Bachmann, S.D. Musgrave and S. Heck (2005).  Fisherfolk are among groups most at risk of HIV: cross-country analysis of prevalence and numbers infected.  AIDS 19(17): 1939-1946.

Allison, E.H., and F. Ellis (2001).  The livelihoods approach and management of small-scale fisheries.  Marine Policy 25 (5) 377-388.


Prospective Students

Professor Allison is leaving the University of Washington in October 2019, therefore will not be taking on new graduate students to his advising group. Details of his new position will be posted here in September 2019.


Photos: A floating village in Tonle Sap, Cambodia by Eddie Allison and shellfishing in Puget Sound, WA.

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Zach studied Philosophy and Religious Studies as an undergraduate and has a Masters in Environmental Ethics, both from Stanford University. He has worked as a legal research intern for the Natural Resources Defense Council and as a research assistant for Stanford’s Center for Ocean Solutions, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, developing research experience in ocean policy, economics, and social ecological systems. He also managed a fish distributor in Monterey Bay, California - Local Bounty - purchasing, filleting, and selling fish to local markets, and helped develop a triple-bottom line sustainability metric to guide business operations.

For his PhD research, he is forever grateful to NSF’s IGERT as well as co-chairs Eddie Allison and Ray Hilborn for providing the opportunity to pursue his connection with the ocean investigating the ecological and social value of fish as food and its implications for management in a changing world. 


Hannah Bassett



hbassett@uw.edu | CV | RESearch Gate 

Hannah comes to MARINA with a passionate interest in coastal communities and ecosystems. After earning a BS in Biology from the University of California, San Diego, she worked in marine mammal acoustics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography before transitioning to interdisciplinary small-scale fisheries research through her work with the Small-scale and Artisanal Fisheries Research Network. Hannah's evolving research takes a political ecology approach to small-scale fisheries as human-natural systems. She is broadly interested in the intersection of human and natural health, climate change adaptation and mitigation, social dimensions of marine resource management, and psychology of resource use and decision-making. Hannah is driven to inform our understanding of the potential for win-win situations in inherently complex coastal community systems and her current work focuses on compressed-air dive fisheries in the Philippines and California.

Alison mcnaughton

ph.d. student

Geography, University of Victoria


researchgate | academia

Alison's research focuses on livelihoods and conservation in small-scale fisheries. She is particularly interested in social assessment tools and is currently investigating a new fishery based on an introduced species (Arapaima gigas) in the Bolivian Amazon, and the associated opportunities and challenges facing local indigenous communities. Alison's background includes a B.A. in Geography from the University of Victoria (2000), and a M.A. (Planning) from the University of British Columbia (2004) where she studied organizational learning and integrated watershed management planning in a peri-urban region of São Paulo, Brazil. Since then she has worked primarily in Brazil and Bolivia with coastal and inland small-scale fishers and a variety of local and international partners on projects to improve livelihoods, empowerment and conservation. Alison's research is part of Peces para la Vida (Amazon Fish for Food), and the Community Conservation Research Network.



Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Tressa graduated from the University of Texas and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rwanda and an educator in Texas before joining MARINA. Tressa's thesis will focus on addressing questions of equity in Blue Economy growth strategies in Washington. Tressa is generally interested in how governments at various levels throughout the world balance environmental sustainability and conservation with the needs of local communities.  


zelin chen

Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Zelin graduated from Ocean University of China, with a BS in Marine Resource and Environment. In his junior year, he visited the East Coast during his exchange study at the University of Maine, where he focused on marine ecology, oceanography and marine zooplankton. His undergraduate thesis was about stock assessment and quantitative simulation on fish stocks. After graduation, he served as an intern at China Blue Sustainability Institute in Hainan Province working on their fishery improvement program and seafood database development. He is interested in sustainable fisheries, seafood security and the management of small-scale fisheries.  

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Sallie Lau

Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Sallie dabbled in Paleobiology in her undergrad and studied how a species of ostracod failed to evolve in the Carboniferous. Being also in the Creative Writing program at her school, she started writing poetry about small-scale fisher people losing their fishing rights upon learning about them. After graduation, Sallie returned to Hong Kong to work as a research assistant for a project looking at biodiversity in a harbor impacted by human activities. During this time, her interest in small-scale fisheries grew as her love for paleontology waned. Now, she is fully committed to exploring how equitable development can be achieved by including responses to the specific needs of marginalized fishers, in particular women, in policy and management strategies.

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Brittany Hoedemaker

Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Brittany graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Environmental Science with a marine biology emphasis. Before joining MARINA, she worked as an Marine Protected Area intern with Heal the Bay, an environmental planner with ICF International, and an inventory planner at Pottery Barn. She is passionate about science communication, particularly around climate science, and is completing the Program on Climate Change Graduate Certificate in Climate Science (GCeCS). She hopes to find ways to make complex scientific ideas more digestible, incentivize the public to participate in innovative sustainability solutions, and empower our communities to think green.


sam farquhar

Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Sam earned her bachelors in Marine Biology and International Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. While an undergrad, she researched the growth rates of invasive lionfish and became passionate about environmental education through her role as a dive educator at her local aquarium. She continues to exercise this passion through her work as a Program Leader with the organization, CIEE, where she facilitates high schoolers on international environmental education programs. After earning her degrees, Sam went to Nepal to study how aquaculture can be used as a tool to boost the socioeconomic status of women. This experience fueled her interest in sustainable development and community-based management. While at SMEA, she hopes to continue to develop these interests along with her focuses on IUU fishing, indigenous fishing rights, and health and food security of fishing communities.


Katy Dalton

Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Katy earned her bachelors in Organismal Biology and Ecology from Colorado College. She has worked on various research projects around the world, including Lionfish population dynamics in the Caribbean, Tamarix fitness in riparian habitats in Colorado, and fish and benthic surveys in Madagascar. Katy's love of marine ecosystems and an interest in responsible and equitable conservation and management of the oceans brought her to the UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs for her masters. When she's not studying, you might find her throwing in the pottery studio, hiking in the Chugach mountains of Alaska, or bird watching around Seattle. 


LIAO, Chun-Pei

Master’s Student

National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung


Pei is passionate about improved management strategies in regards to socio-economic aspects of marine natural resource use. While earning her B.S. in Marine Affairs & Resource Management at NTOU, Pei used stakeholder interviews to explore opportunities for improved fishery management. During her Master’s work, she has studied fishery cooperation strategies between Taiwanese purse seiners and Pacific island countries. Currently, she is focused on local conservation issues and spends much of her time in local fishing communities studying fishermen’s perception of and attitude toward fishery regulations. Pei is also interested in how to bridge the gap between the general public and environmental protection and concern via social media. She has been involved in the Azure Project, which focuses on the marine debris issue in Taiwan and has produced photos, videos, and written content for the group.

During Pei’s visit to SMEA, she is examining the contribution of marine food production to the blue economy in East Asia. Her aim is to understand how fisheries contribute to the blue economy and its growth and how associated costs can be balanced between industry benefits and environmental sustainability. In her free time, Pei enjoys fishing, hiking and cooking.




Dr. Manuel Barange

Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Science: Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Dr. Christophe Béné

Senior Policy Adviser: Decision and Policy Analysis Program, International Center for Tropical Agriculture

Dr. Joshua Cinner

Professorial Research Fellow: ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University

Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation

Dr. Ray Hilborn

Professor: School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington

Dr. Gordon Holtgrieve

Assistant Professor: School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington

Dr. Tim McClanahan

Senior Conservation Zoologist: Wildlife Conservation Society

Dr. Jennifer Otten

Assistant Professor: Department of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health

Dr. Rashid Sumaila

Professor & Director: Fisheries Economics Research Unit, University of British Columbia
Research Director: SSHRC OceanCanada Partnership
Theme Leader: ICTSD/E15 Expert Group on “Oceans, Fisheries and the Trade System”

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Former Students

Former Students

Dr. Kirsten Abernethy

Independent Research Consultant: People Sea Change, Melbourne, Australia

Academic Affiliate: Environment and Sustainability Institute, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter

Ian baker, mma


Lecturer: School of Health and Human Sciences, University of Essex

Liliana Bastian, MMA

Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellow: WA State Department of Ecology

Dr. Sharon Brooks

Senior Program Officer: Business and Biodiversity Programme, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Dr. Joel Busher

Research Fellow: Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University

Jack Cheney, MMA

Emily crigler, mma

Fishery Policy Analyst: NOAA NMFS, Pacific Islands Regional Office

claire daWSON, MMA

Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellow: The Nature Conservancy, WA Field Office

Dr. Louisa Evans

Advanced Research Fellow: Environment and Sustainability, University of Exeter

Brittany flittner, mma

chris giordano, mma

Peace Corps Response Volunteer: NCI, Piura, Peru; Global Operations Associate, Future of Fish

Dr. Denis Hellebrandt

Thao huynh, mma

Teach for America

jillian lyles, mma

kadie mcshirley, mma

DR. Agustina Musa

Senior Financial Management Specialist, Asian Development Bank

Dr. Peter Mathias Mvula

Senior Research Fellow: Poverty and Sustainable Livelihoods, Centre for Social Research, Chancellor College, University of Malawi

marisa nixon, MMA

Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellow: Washington State Departments of Ecology and Health

henry peterson, mma

Teressa Pucylowski, mma

emily rhoades, mma

hannah russell, mma

Dr. CLare Shelton

Senior Research Associate, School of International Development, University of East Anglia

INOGOV Network Coordinator, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia

alex tanz, mma & jd

karen villeda, mma

Associate, Starling Resources

Dr. Carole White


Researcher Professor: Institute of Resources, Universidad del Mar, Oaxaca, Mexico

lily zhao, mma

PhD Student, University of California - Santa Barbara

For a complete list of former students, please refer to Dr. Allison's CV