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Maria del Mar Mancha-Cisneros

Maria del Mar Mancha-Cisneros

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Marine Laboratory, Duke University

Marine Lab, Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University
135 Duke Marine Lab Rd
Beaufort, NC 28516


  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Marine Laboratory, Duke University


Mar is currently a Postdoctoral Associate at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC, working on a Duke-FAO-Worldfish partnership to expand our knowledge on the contributions of small-scale fisheries to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She graduated with a PhD in Environmental Life Sciences from Arizona State University in 2017. She is a conservation scientist and institutional scholar who works at the interface of ecology, social science, resource management, and policy to solve real-world natural resource management problems. She has a broad, interdisciplinary background in marine ecology, conservation planning and institutional governance spanning the natural and social sciences. She is broadly driven by research questions at the forefront of the interaction between natural and human systems in the context of small-scale fisheries management. She is particularly interested in developing creative, pragmatic solutions that promote marine resource sustainability and increase resiliency of coastal communities. For her dissertation research, she used the Coupled Infrastructure Systems framework, following the tradition of Elinor Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development framework, to better understand the interdependencies between social, economic, natural, and institutional processes affecting marine reserve implementation and performance efficacy in the Gulf of California (GOC), Mexico.

She has been collaborating with Mexican organization Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C. (COBI) since 2013 in projects related to marine reserves in the GOC as well as the Midriff Islands Region in the GOC. She is also an affiliated graduate student with the Center for Behavior, Institutions, and the Environment (CBIE) at ASU collaborating on working groups focused on developing tools to improve the understanding social-ecological-systems, institutions, and management of common-pool-resources. She has also worked as a Coupled-Infrastructure-Systems Analyst looking at case studies of social dilemmas within social-ecological systems. She is also a consultant with The Nature Conservancy-Mexico looking at guiding principles to incorporate socioeconomic and governance considerations into the planning, establishment, and management of marine reserves in the Gulf of California, Mexico.

Up-to-date list of publications.


  • PhD, Environmental Life Sciences, Arizona State University, 2017
  • Earsums Mundus European Master (Dual), Applied Ecology, 2011
  • MS, Environmental Management, Christian-Albrechts-Universitat zu Kiel, 2011
  • MS, Biology, Ecology and Evolution, University of Poitiers, 2011
  • BS, Marine and Freshwater Biology, University of Texas-Austin, 2008

External Links

Journal Articles


Senko, J. F., K. M. Burgher, M. del Mar Mancha-Cisneros, B. J. Godley, I. Kinan-Kelly, T. Fox, F. Humber, V. Koch, A. T. Smith and B. P. Wallace. 2022. Global patterns of illegal marine turtle exploitation. Global Change Biology 28(22):6509-6523. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.16378. (link )


Bernstein, M. J., M. del Mar Mancha-Cisneros, M. Tyson, U. Brady, C. Rubinos, H. C. Shin, S. Vallury, S. Smith-Heisters and E. Ratajczyk. 2019. Mapping Ostrom's common-pool resource systems coding handbook to the coupled infrastructure systems framework to enable comparative research. International Journal of the Commons 13(1):528-552. DOI: 10.18352/ijc.904. (link )


Alvarez-Romero, J. G., A. Munguía‐Vega, M. Beger, M. del Mar Mancha-Cisneros, A. N. Suarez-Castillo, G. G. Gurney, R. L. Pressey, L. R. Gerber, H. N. Morzaria-Luna, H. Reyes-Bonilla, V. M. Adams, M. Kolb, E. M. Graham, J. VanDerWal, A. Castillo-Lopez, G. Hinojosa-Arango, D. Petatan-Ramirez, M. Moreno-Baez, C. P. Godinez-Reyes and J. Torre. 2018. Designing connected marine reserves in the face of global warming. Golbal Change Biology 24(2):e671-e691. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13989. (link )

del Mar Mancha-Cisneros, M., A. N. Suarez-Castillo, J. Torre, J. M. Anderies and L. R. Gerber. 2018. The role of stakeholder perceptions and institutions for marine reserve efficacy in the Midriff Islands Region, Gulf of California, Mexico. Ocean & Coastal Management 162(Aug):181-192. DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2018.01.024. (link )


Gerber, L. R., M. del Mar Mancha-Cisneros, M. I. O'Connor and E. R. Selig. 2014. . Climate change impacts on connectivity in the ocean: Implications for conservation. Ecosphere 5(3):Art. 33. DOI: 10.1890/ES13-00336.1. (link )


Anadon, J. D., M. del Mar Mancha-Cisneros, B. D. Best and L. R. Gerber. 2013. Habitat-specific larval dispersal and marine connectivity: implications for spatial conservation planning. Ecosphere 4(7):Art. 82. DOI: 10.1890/ES13-00119.1. (link )

Book Chapters


del Mar Mancha-Cisneros, M. and L. R. Gerber. 2015. Guiding principles for green economic development in the marine environment: Insights from small-scale fisheries and marine protected areas. Pp. Chapter 8 In: Gasparatos, A. and K. J. Willis eds., Biodiversity in the Green Economy. Routledge. ISBN: 9780415723329.



Bernstein, M. J., U. Brady, M. del Mar Mancha-Cisneros, E. Ratajczyk, M. Tyson, C. Rubinos, H. C. Shin, S. Smith-Heisters and S. Vallury. 2017. Found in translation: Dialogues between coding variables and frameworks in studies of common-pool resources. Presentation at the Practicing the Commons: XVI Biennial International Association for the Study of the Commons Conference, July 10-14, 2017, Utrecht, The Netherlands.