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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

Please contact Professor Allison directly at eha1@uw.edu and allow one to two weeks for a reply.


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. 

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Hannah Bassett


hbassett@uw.edu | CV | RESearch Gate 

Hannah comes to MARINA with a background in natural sciences, experience in interdisciplinary small-scale fisheries research, and a passionate interest in coastal communities and ecosystems. After earning a BS in Biology from the University of California, San Diego, Hannah worked in marine mammal acoustics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography before transitioning to interdisciplinary research through her work with the Small-scale and Artisanal Fisheries Research Network.

Hannah's 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. Her current work focuses on compressed-air dive fisheries in the Philippines.

When she is not working you will find Hannah in the ocean, coasts, deserts, and mountains of California and the Pacific Northwest.

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) (www.pecesvida.org), and the Community Conservation Research Network (www.communityconservation.net).

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emily crigler

Master's Student

SMEA, university of washington


After earning her B.A. in Communication Studies at Winona State University in Minnesota, Emily set out to find warmer climates and ocean air. For the last six years, she has been employed as a Fishery Policy Analyst with the National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Regional Office in Hawaii. In her position with the International Fisheries Division, Emily has worked to support international negotiations related to fisheries management and has contributed to the domestic implementation of international fisheries agreements, primarily in the Western and Central Pacific. Emily is interested in sustainable seafood and international fisheries management. She enjoys warm weather, blue water, sunshine, a good hoppy IPA and is bracing herself for seasonal depression. 


Brittany flittner

Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Brittany graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.S. degree in Environmental Science in 2015. Before heading to graduate school, she spent a year working as an AmeriCorps member, getting her feet dirty working at a state park in Maryland. As a second year graduate student, Brittany is a member of the capstone project, Assessing Seattle’s Sustainable Seafood Landscape. Through this project, she hopes to discover the flow and fate of seafood offered in restaurants throughout the city. Brittany also enjoys Irish dancing, learning new languages, and exploring all the wonderful hikes Seattle has to offer.


kadie mcshirley

Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Kadie graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Environmental Law and Policy. She then spent several years as a legal assistant at the Sierra Club Environmental Law Program in San Francisco, working on the campaign to transition the United States from coal to clean energy. Before attending the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington, she participated in a research program in the Gulf of Thailand monitoring coral bleaching and fish populations via scuba surveys. She is interested in plastic pollution reduction measures, sustainable coastal development, and seafood sustainability.  


emily rhoades

Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Emily received a B.A. in Biology from Whitman College.  She spent two years working as an AmeriCorps member restoring riparian areas and collecting data for the Aquatic Reserves program in Washington State. More recently she worked as a groundfish observer and a contract specialist at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Emily is currently working with other MARINA lab members on a capstone project to investigate the sustainability of seafood sold in Seattle.  


LILy zhao

master's student

Smea, university of washington


Lily graduated from the University of Chicago and worked for marine research and conservation organizations before joining MARINA. She is interested in the production systems of coastal zones on the brink of development. In collaboration with the Stockholm Resilience Center, Lily is tracking the trade of octopus across East Africa and onto the global market. She is excited to be part of MARINA and hopes to inform poverty reduction efforts for those engaged in fishery supply chains. More generally Lily is interested in improving access to marine science and finding avenues to better connect practitioners in low-income nations with untapped resources.  


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.  


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.


thao huynh

master's student

smea, university of washington


Thao Huynh graduated from the University of North Texas with a B.A. in Biology and B.M. in Violin Performance. As an undergraduate, she was interested in aquaculture and studied skeletal development of Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) under farming conditions through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute- Undergraduate Researchers Program. Currently, Thao is collaborating with the NW Fisheries Science Center to study the farming potential of Black Cod (Anoplopoma fimbria), a promising candidate due to its economic value. Overall, Thao wants to further explore aquaculture as a possible solution for addressing wild population decline and, as a consequence, limited food resources. In addition to her passion for fish farming, and ultimately sustainability, Thao also loves to watch good movies, listen to good music, and have great conversations with interesting people. 

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Henry peterson

Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Henry graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S. in Bioengineering. Before switching to the marine world, he helped implement new surgery procedures as a Clinical and Application Consultant for Brainlab Inc. Now as a member of the Marinalab, Henry is working on a Capstone Project, Assessing Seattle's Sustainable Seafood Landscape. The project examines how chefs and restauranteurs perceive and interact with seafood, sustainable seafood movements, and other restaurants. Henry has worked with the WA Department of Health to improve their programming and interactions with shellfish licensees and continues to work with the NW Fisheries Sciences Center on improving feeds for Black Cod (Sablefish) in aquaculture settings. Additionally, he is passionate about working with sustainable seafood, best aquaculture practices, international development, and food security. In his free time, Henry enjoys rock climbing, gardening, getting lost in Seattle, and playing pinball.

Karen Villeda

Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Karen graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and spent several years working for Conservation International prior to joining the MARINA lab. Her experience geographically spans the Mid-Atlantic, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Her thesis is focused on the efficacy of fishery improvement projects (FIPs), with an emphasis on Indonesian FIPs. She is interested in small-scale fisheries, fishery certification schemes, and seafood equity. In her free time, Karen enjoys farmers markets, knitting, IPAs, and diving.



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.  


alex stote

Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Alex graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. Her research as an undergrad varied from deep-sea biology to fish biomechanics. Before starting grad school, she participated in two deep-sea cruises as a research associate and scientific writer, and most recently spent two seasons commercially fishing for salmon in Bristol Bay, AK. She comes to Marina Lab with an interest in how the changing biogeochemistry of the ocean will affect not only fishing patterns, but also the coastal livelihoods that depend on these fisheries, and in particular, food security. Aside from ocean life, Alex also loves to travel off the grid, to get lost in the mountains, to box and to cook.




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

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

chris giordano, mma

Peace Corps Response Volunteer: Inkaterra, Cabo Blanco, Peru

Dr. Denis Hellebrandt

jillian lyles, 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

Teressa Pucylowski, 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

Dr. Carole White


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

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