Marissa McMahan is a Senior Fisheries Scientist at Manomet, a nonprofit organization committed to applying science and engaging people to sustain our world. Much of what drives her scientific curiosity is a deep connection to the fishing traditions and culture that New England is founded upon. Her family has been farming and fishing in midcoast Maine since the 1700s. She grew up working on her father’s lobster boat, which is what ultimately led her to marine science. As a result of her family’s history in commercial fisheries, and her career as a scientist, Marissa strives to bridge the gap between scientists and fishermen and create collaborative partnerships between the two sectors.
Prior to joining Manomet, Marissa completed a PhD at Northeastern University in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology and a MSc at the University of Maine in Marine Biology. Over the past decade, her research has spanned community ecology, fisheries biology and management, and social-ecological coupling. She is particularly interested in how environmental change drives patterns of species distribution and abundance.
Currently, Marissa’s research focuses on restoring ecosystem productivity and strengthening and diversifying fisheries resources in the Gulf of Maine. To this end, she works closely with commercial and recreational fishermen, marine managers, policy makers, nonprofits and academic institutions. She has presented her work both nationally and internationally at conferences, workshops and policy briefings, and has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals. Her research is frequently featured in traditional news media and social media. She is also committed to outreach and education, and regularly engages students ranging from elementary school to college in her research and fisheries development efforts.
Fellow at a Glance