Sea People:  enriching ‘human dimensions’ research in coupled human-natural systems. 

Within SMEA’s Human-Natural systems perspectives, we work largely on the human.  Our group is very interested in the people who live in, work on or visit coastal areas. We have a particular focus on people who produce, process, trade and consume fish but recognize that coastal livelihoods may be diverse and include non-natural resource sectors too.  While we are interested in the impact of humans on biogeochemical and ecological processes, we go beyond characterizing the impact of humans on ‘nature’ and are interested in the broader set of relationships between people and the sea, and so we study what people are thinking, feeling and deciding, and not just what impact their activities are having on marine environments.  In particular, we recognize that any analysis of ‘human dimensions’ has to recognize gender, ethnicity, class and other elements of identity and difference.

Our research is concerned with the study of actors and agency and relations between different groups of people using ocean and coastal spaces.  We collaborate extensively with anthropologists, economists, human geographers and sociologists and would like to work more with political scientists, social psychologists, historians and others in the social sciences and humanities.   Some of the ideas and conceptual frameworks we work with include sustainable livelihoods, resilience, wellbeing, human rights, occupational and place attachment, and institutional analysis and development. 



Under construction.


Current Student projects

Hannah Bassett (PhD, SAFS) - Dive fisheries effects on human health and well-being


Former Student projects

Carole White (PhD, UEA) – What keeps people fishing in a declining fishery?

Liliana Bastian (MMA, SMEA) – Gender in international conservation with development programs

Jillian Lyles (MMA, SMEA)  – Restoring traditional fish ponds in Hawai’i 

Laura Deighan (MMA, SMEA) – Implementation of Fisheries Improvement Programs, Gulf of Mexico Snapper Fishery (Committee Chair: Kiki Jenkins)

Claire Dawson (MMA, SMEA) – Financial inclusion for smallholder aquaculture farmers, Banda Aceh


Selected publications

Bennett, N. J., Whitty, T. S., Finkbeiner, E., Pittman, J., Bassett, H.R., Gelcich, S., & Allison, E. H. (2018). Environmental Stewardship: A Conceptual Review and Analytical FrameworkEnvironmental Management, 1-18.

Barratt, C. and Allison, E.H. (2014). Does people’s vulnerability undermine the sustainability of community-managed natural resources?  Evidence from two fishing communities on Lake Victoria, Uganda. Development Studies Research, 1(1): 16-27.

Weeratunge, N., C. Béné, R. Siriwardane, A. Charles, D. Johnson, E.H. Allison, P.K. Kumar Nayah and M.-C. Badjeck (2014). Small-scale fisheries through the wellbeing looking glass.  Fish and Fisheries, 15(2): 255–279.

Ratner, B. D., P. Cohen, B. Barman, K. Mam, J. Nagoli, and E. H. Allison (2013). Governance of aquatic agricultural systems: analyzing representation, power, and accountability. Ecology and Society, 18(4): 59. 

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 perspective.  Ecology & Society, 17(4): 15.

Evans, L. S., K. Brown and E. H. Allison. (2011). Factors influencing adaptive marine governance in a developing country context: a case study of southern Kenya. Ecology and Society, 16 (2): 21. 

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.