About Melissa's Work

Melissa Cronin is a Smith Conservation Research Fellow and postdoctoral researcher hosted by the Coasts and Commons Co-Laboratory at Duke University and working in partnership with Global Fishing Watch and Conservation International. She received a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz. Broadly, her research lies at the intersection of conservation and fisheries science. She is currently working on a project to understand the conservation and food security implications of large- and small-scale fisheries interactions.

She uses interdisciplinary methods in the natural and social sciences, with a special focus on applied research with real-world conservation implications. Previous research focused on oceanic sharks and rays and employed genomics, policy analysis, and collaborative social science methods to investigate the impact of industrial fishing on sharks and mobula (manta and devil) rays. She is co-founder and Project Leader of Mobula Conservation (www.mobulaconservation.org), an organization dedicated to the research and conservation of manta and devil rays in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

She is also dedicated to increasing equity in STEM and is co-founder and CEO of FieldFutures (www.fieldfutures.org), an organization that provides evidence-based intervention training to prevent gender and identity-based harassment and assault in scientific fieldwork. Prior to obtaining her PhD, she was a journalist covering science, the environment, wildlife crime and trafficking, and politics. She is also a National Geographic Explorer.