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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., Huchery, C., MacNeil, M. A., Graham, N. A. J., McClanahan, T. R., Maina, J., . . . Mouillot, D. (2016). Bright spots among the world’s coral reefsNature, 534

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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Denis Hellebrandt

Post-doc Research Associate & Independent Consultant


As a PhD in International Development, Denis has carried out research on the effectiveness of natural resources governance, with emphasis on small-scale fisheries.

His interdisciplinary background includes oceanography, fisheries and social sciences. Learning and communication are key elements of Denis' work, and he has developed specific tools designed to facilitate the participation of diverse stakeholders in challenging contexts in Equatorial Guinea, Timor-Leste and in his home country Brazil.

His current research aims to assess and synthesise scientific evidence and conduct empirical evaluations of pathways for sustainability and poverty reduction in coastal settings.

Denis enjoys photography and BBQ cooking.


Nathan J. bennett

Research associate


website | google scholar   academia research gate twitter

Dr. Nathan Bennett is currently cross-appointed as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington and a Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia.

As a broadly trained social scientist, he chooses to primarily focus on research projects that interrogate various aspects of the complex relationship between the environment and human society with a solution-oriented lens. Dr. Bennett's research interests are broad – he has projects focusing on such topics as marine protected area governance in Mexico, responses of fishing communities to environmental change in Thailand, indigenous community perspectives on conservation in Canada, marine conservation planning initiatives in North America, the human dimensions of large-scale marine protected areas and the scope and purpose of the conservation social sciences. His work draws from across the social sciences to answer pressing conservation and environmental management problems.

At the University of Washington, Dr. Bennett is primarily working with Professor Patrick Christie on research related to human dimensions of marine conservation and management.

stacia dreyer

research associate


Google scholar  |  Researchgate

Dr. Stacia Dreyer is an environmental social scientist broadly interested in the human dimensions of environmental issues. She was trained as an interdisciplinary scholar earning her PhD in Environmental Psychology and Behavioral Economics with the Sustainability Solutions Initiative at the University of Maine. Her current work in the MARINA lab uses mixed methods and a socio-ecological systems framework to better understand coastal community resilience to harmful algal blooms. She also works on projects related to the human dimensions of marine renewable energy focusing on tidal energy, and perceptions of climate change mitigation, such as policy and technology. 

Stacia’s interdisciplinary scholarship and mentoring has received international, national, and local fellowships and awards.  As a 2012 Endeavour Research Fellow, she completed part of her dissertation research at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Western Australia and published her research on the Australian carbon pricing policy in Nature Climate Change. She was selected to be a Social Science Immersion Workshop Fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center from 2015-2016. In 2016, Stacia was awarded the UW Postdoc Mentoring Award for her exceptional mentoring of SMEA graduate students.

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Hannah Bassett

Research Assistant & MASTER'S STUDENT 

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 current interests revolve around marine human-natural systems and focus on appropriate inclusion of the human dimension in a range of marine resource use situations. She is particularly interested in the intersection of human and natural health, climate change adaptation and mitigation, psychology of resource use and decision-making, and scientific capabilities for Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) implementation.  Hannah is driven to contribute science to inform our understanding of the potential for win-win situations in the inherently complex coastal community systems.

When she is not working you will find Hannah exploring the coasts and mountains of California and the Pacific Northwest.





Marisa received her B.S. in Resource Economics and Commerce from the University of Rhode Island, where she also studied political science and international development. As an undergraduate she spent time researching barriers to sustainable agriculture in Western Kenya, and studying adaptation to climate change with the RI Sea Grant Climate Change Collaborative.

Post-college, Marisa spent two years in an AmeriCorps position focusing on environmental restoration and leadership development with volunteers from around the world. She then began working for nonprofits that engage students in marine science research and stewardship aboard sailboats, in the Salish Sea and Caribbean. As part of MARINA, Marisa is exploring ethical dimensions of sustainable seafood.

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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. 

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).







Hannah graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a BS in Conservation and Resource Studies.  She worked in the Oceans Innovations program at the Environmental Defense Fund, under the guidance of Rod Fujita.  She is interested in stewardship theory, cooperative research and management, women’s rights, fishing rights allocation, food security, the protection of indigenous fishing cultures, and the management of small-scale fisheries, particularly in West Africa. Hannah's current research focuses on the nutritional security of fishery-dependent communities in coastal Ghana, with an emphasis on the post-landing value chain of the small pelagic stocks. In her free time, Hannah likes to crochet, drink craft beer, and spend time with her cats.

thao huynh

master's student

smea, university of washington


Thao graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance. During her undergraduate studies, Thao was a participant of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Researchers Program, which funded her research on the skeletal development of Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) as a function of probiotics and antibiotics. She presented her research poster at the Texas Aquaculture Association Conference, where her interests for aquaculture and alternative food sources were cultivated. After moving to Seattle, Thao completed an internship at the Seattle Aquarium on the Warm-Water Fish and Invertebrate Team, where she studied and presented on the topic of Spotted Lagoon Jellyfish (Mastigias papua) and its behavior/health. Overall, Thao is interested in commercial aquaculture, natural resource management, and international outreach. 

Outside of marine studies, Thao is very passionate about music and hopes to draw on her musical background as a tool to further communicate her research interests to a broader audience.


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 seasonal depression. 

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teressa Pucylowski

Master's student

smea, university of washington


Teressa earned her B.S. in Conservation Biology from SUNY – College of Environmental Science & Forestry in 2013. She lived in South Caicos for three months learning about local fisheries and marine resource studies. Since then, she has worked as a research assistant for Allied Whale and naturalist for whale watching tours, and has also volunteered with the Tuna Research and Conservation Center and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Teressa is interested in sustainable seafood, food security for small-scale fishing communities, and the effects climate change will have on these topics. 


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 plans to track 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.  

Karen Villeda

Master's Student

SMEA, University of washington


Karen graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and spent the last several years working for Conservation International's Center for Oceans. Her experience geographically spans the Mid-Atlantic, Latin America and Southeast Asia and ranges from marine protected areas to long-term financing. She is interested in small-scale fisheries, social performance indicators in fishery improvement projects, community empowerment, capacity building, and marine pollution. In her free time, Karen enjoys farmers markets, knitting, craft IPAs, and diving.

bella colpo

Master's Student

smea, university of washington


After receiving a B.A. in Public Relations from Gonzaga University, Bella has returned to Washington after spending a summer in her hometown in California. She has worked as an intern for The Waterkeeper Alliance at San Diego Coastkeeper and Spokane Riverkeeper to help maintain clean water resources for the communities they serve. While working for these conservation organizations, Bella gained experience with strategic planning and media communications. Additionally, Bella worked in the Public Affairs department at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where she collaborated with other non-profit organizations and practiced science communication. She is passionate about international marine policy and managing the impacts of global climate change.





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

chris giordano, mma

Peace Corps Response Volunteer: Inkaterra, Cabo Blanco, Peru

Dr. Louisa Evans

Advanced Research Fellow: Environment and Sustainability, University of Exeter

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

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