Meet our fellows

Alison Richard

David Gill

Luc Hoffmann Institute & SESYNC fellow

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Why did you join the Luc Hoffmann Institute?

Millions around the world depend on coastal resources for their livelihoods and nutrition however, factors such as climate change, pollution and unsustainable exploitation threaten to undermine the resource base that so many rely on each day. With most of my previous work experience in Barbados and the Caribbean, joining the Luc Hoffmann Fellowship programme provides me with an opportunity to develop my research skills and to be involved in a global initiative that has the potential to lead to the better management of marine resources around the world.

What is your background?

Most of my previous research has been in coral reef ecology and fisheries, focusing on issues related to coastal management and resource economics. For the past few years, I have worked alongside an international team of researchers from the Caribbean, Europe, USA and Australia on the Future of Reefs (FORCE) project (www.force-project.eu). We gathered data on the dependency of coastal communities on coral reef resources and the constraints to effective reef management. This involved interacting with protected area managers and resource users from around the region, who provided a first-hand perspective of the major issues affecting coastal communities and the implications of potential future change on coral ecosystems and the livelihoods of those dependent on them.
As the Fellow at Luc Hoffmann Institute, I am working primarily in the Place-based Conservation Effectiveness workstream on the SESYNC Pursuit: “Solving the Mystery of Marine Protected (MPA) Performance,” based at SESYNC in Annapolis,MD. This Pursuit focuses on unravelling some of the underlying factors that contribute to the success of marine conservation activities. With a better understanding of the factors contributing to successful management, decision makers can be better informed to design policy that promotes the long-term sustainability of marine resources.

Training

2014 Ph.D., Natural Resources Management (Resource Economics), University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados
2007 MSc, Coastal and Marine Resource Management, University of the West Indies , Cave Hill Campus, Barbados
2003 BSc, Marine Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Alison Richard

Nyeema Harris

Director's Fellow

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Why did you join the Luc Hoffmann institute?

I take my responsibility to be a global and socially relevant scientist seriously and I am committed to ensuring that the research work I focus on creates impact. The Luc Hoffmann Fellowship programme offers me a massive platform through which I can increase my collaborative international network, expand the scope and scale of my research and disseminate the work I produce more broadly.

What is your background?

I am broadly trained as an ecologist with a background studying predation, co-extinction and biogeography. My research experience with mammals in North America and Africa has relevance to biodiversity, public health, and global change.

As the Director’s Fellow at Luc Hoffmann Institute, I am working primarily in the  Place-based Conservation Effectiveness workstream, leading the Dynamics of the Conservation Estate Project. Overall, my interests include:

  1. Protected area effectiveness at present and in varying future scenarios as well as investigating their influence on human welfare and conflict
  2. Transboundary wildlife conservation at regional and international scales including resource utilization and impacts from “mobile threats”
  3. Consequences of species loss in light of shifting spatial distributions, altering the persistence of biotic interactions and patterns of biodiversity

Training

2011-2013 Postdoctoral Fellow, National Science Foundation and University of California Chancellor’s Program, Environmental Policy, Science and Management, University of California, Berkeley
2010 PhD, Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation Biology, North Carolina State University
2007 MS, Wildlife Biology, University of Montana
2004 BS, Wildlife Science, Virginia Tech
Alison Richard

Taro Mieno

Luc Hoffmann Institute Fellow

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How can the Luc Hoffmann Institute Fellows program help achieve your career goals ?

My career goal is to be a researcher with a particular focus on understanding the interrelationship between agriculture and the environment that lead to solving real world problems. While economics is my primary research tool, I believe interdisciplinary work joint with biologists and engineers is vital in closing the gap between the academia and real world in the filed of my interest. The Luc Hoffman Institute, with researchers who have extensive experience in interdisciplinary work, provides an ideal environment in pursuing the goal.
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What is your background?

I recently earned Ph.D. in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I studied forestry .

As a Luc Hoffmann Institute Fellow, I am working primarily in the Assessing Sustainability standards Project.

Training

I was trained in applied economics. In particular, I have been trained extensively in applied econometrics, where regression analyses are used in disentangling causality of economic phenomenon. Through the course of my econometric work, I have gained proficiency in major programming languages including R, Matlab, and Stata. I also have some experience in interdisciplinary work. A chapter of my dissertation looks at a dynamic intra-seasonal irrigation decision problem using an economic model that integrates a basic soil hydrology.

Alison Richard

William Kolby Smith

Luc Hoffmann Institute Fellow

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How can the Luc Hoffmann Institute Fellows program help achieve your career goals ?

One of the most urgent challenges facing humanity is how to meet future global food, fuel, and fiber demand while minimizing detrimental environmental consequences. Joining the Luc Hoffmann institute provides me the unique opportunity to conduct meaningful scientific exploration with the aim of informing and shaping global food and energy policy.
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What is your background?

I am broadly trained as an ecologist with background experience in the application of global satellite data and ecosystem process models to large-scale climate, food, and energy issues. As part of my dissertation work as a member of the Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group (NTSG) at the University of Montana, I developed a modeling framework for evaluating the global capacity for bioenergy production using satellite-derived vegetation productivity data. I also developed a framework for evaluating the impact of agriculture on global terrestrial vegetation productivity and found that roughly 90% of current agricultural lands are under-producing relative to that of the natural vegetation they replaced, despite excessive management inputs in many regions. Further, my post-doctoral work with the U.S. Geological Survey included the modeling of vegetation productivity using a continuous 30-year record of satellite-derived vegetation dynamics data in an effort to identify potential ‘hotspots’ for agricultural development as well as areas that are better left unmanaged (e.g., as potential carbon sinks).
As a Fellow at the Luc Hoffmann Institute, I will be joining a collaborative research team developing and testing sustainability standards for key global commodities that have the greatest impact on ecosystem services such as biodiversity, water, and climate stability. Implemented effectively, global sustainability standards could have immense policy relevance and ultimately help to optimize production to meet a growing global demand while minimizing environmental trade-offs.

As a Luc Hoffmann Institute Fellow, I am working primarily in the Assessing Sustainability standards Project.

Training

2013-2014 Post-Doctoral Fellow, U.S. Geological Survey
2009-2013 PhD, University of Montana, specialization: ecosystem ecology & remote sensing
2006-2008 MS, Colorado State University, specialization: ecology & biogeochemistry
2000-2005 BS, Western Carolina University, Major: applied mathematics and biology