Dr Louisa Evans
Senior Lecturer in Human Geography


Research projects

Buoyed. 2017. Funded by an Economic and Social Research Council Impact Accelerator Award. The objective is to:

  • Empower and raise the political voice of inshore and typically marginalised fishing communities in anticipation of new avenues for them to engage in policy debate over UK fisheries regulation and fishers’ rights outside of the Europe Union.
  • Place fishing communities’ aspirations for Brexit into a broader context of social, political and environmental change through collaborative research and creative engagement.

Buoyed brings the voices of inshore fishing communities to the general public and key decision-makers through an interactive, playful cluster of magical glass buoys suspended from wooden stems that tease you with their pulsing glow and muffled voices, enticing you in. Come closer to hear the hopes of fishing communities for a brighter future outside of the EU.

Follow the project on Twitter at #Buoyed

Installed at Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival (16-17 Sept) and Exeter’s Lost Weekend Festival (6-8 Oct).

See the Making of Buoyed


Blue Communities. 2018 - 2021. Funded the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Capabilities programme.

The programme aims to build capacity for sustainable interactions with marine ecosystems for the benefit of the health, well-being, food security and livelihoods of coastal communities in East and Southeast Asia.

Project 2 involves a critical institutional analysis of marine planning approaches in five case studies to identify how marine planning can add value given existing investments in governance, management and planning.

Project 9 involves analysing and co-developing with stakeholders principles and approaches to make the hard political and ethical decisions about trade-offs in marine planning in DAC contexts.


Coral Communities: Building Socio-Ecological Resilience to Coral Reef Degradation in the Islands of the Western Indian Ocean. 2017. Funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Building Resilience programme.

The project aims to draw together a network of UK-WIO collaborators to address evidence gaps and support the development of resilience strategies across the WIO. It will involve:

  • A literature review, assessing the extent to which the initiatives used to manage coral reefs are successful in building community and reef resilience.
  • A stakeholder workshop in Mauritius (week of 8th May), to identify ways in which these initiatives can be refined to better build resilience.
  • Develop and pilot of a novel, arts-based approach for assessing perceptions of the environment and the socio-cultural risk associated with different resilience strategies.
  • A second stakeholder workshop in the UK (week of 11th September), to identify possibilities for future collaboration

Project newsletter


Productivity in the East African Coastal Current under Climate Change (PEACC). 2016-2018. Funded by the Marine and Coastal Science for Management (MASMA) programme of the WIOMSA. The objectives are to:

  • Determine trends in upwelling associated with changes in oceanographic and surface meteorological conditions within the EACC system.
  • Determine how these trends have impacted on marine productivity and small pelagic fisheries, and prediction of future impacts.
  • Determine the vulnerability, resilience and adaptation options for fisheries dependent communities in the EACC upwelling region.
  • Understand the governance of small pelagic fisheries across scales, and explore the ability of governance institutions to respond to changes in the upwelling regimes of the EACC shelf region.


Evaluating the impact of management and partnership activities of the wellbeing of fishery in Lyme Bay, UK. 2015-2016. Funded by the Blue Marine Foundation. Objectives were to:

  • Assess the impacts of management measures and partnership activities on ecosystem services and human wellbeing.
  • Develop and test a transferable framework for evaluating MPA impacts.
  • Clarify the drivers of successful partnership and management and, thereby, enable promotion of the ‘Lyme Bay model’ for MPA management.

Project report


Social-Ecological Systems Meta-analysis Database (SESMAD) is an international collaboration between Resilience Alliance Young Scholars (RAYS) and researchers from the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. 2013-ongoing. The objectives are to:

  • Develop a relational database to compare large-scale commons.
  • Refine metrics for coding and comparing SES attributes and interactions.


Davies TE, Epstein G, Aguilera SE, Brooks CM, Cox M, Evans LS, Maxwell SM, Nenadovic M, Ban NC. 2018. Assessing trade-offs in large marine protected areas. Plos One 13 (4): e0195760

Ban NC, Davies TE, Aguilera SE, Brooks C, Cox M, Epstein G, Evans LS, Maxwell SM, Nenadovic M. 2017. Social and ecological effectiveness of large marine protected areas. Global Environmental Change. 43: 82-91

Cox M, Villamayor-Tomas S, Epstein G, Evans L, Ban NC, Forrest F, Nenadovic M, Garcia-Lopez G. 2016. Synthesizing theories of natural resource management and governance. Global Environmental Change. 39: 49-56

Ban NC, Evans LS, Nenadovic M, and Schoon M. 2015. Challenges of governance in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: the interplay of multiple goods, ecosystem services, and property rights. Ecology & Society. 20(4): 2

Fleischman FD, Ban NC, Evans LS, Epstein G, Garcia-Lopez G, and Villamayor-Tomas S. 2014. Governing large-scale social-ecological systems: lessons from five cases. International Journal of the Commons. 8 (2): 428–456

Evans L, Ban N, Schoon M, and Nenadovic M. 2014. Keeping the ‘Great’ in the Great Barrier Reef: The GBR Marine Park as a large-scale social-ecological system. International Journal of the Commons. 8 (2): 396–427


Winter floods and policy change. 2014-2015. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council urgent grants. The research questions include:

  • Do the periods following major national crises offer potential for initiating change in policy and response approaches to floods?
  • What framings are identifiable across the wide range of actors affected by and involved with the 2013/14 floods and how are they linked to specific solutions and outcomes?
  • Which framings dominate or become marginalised over time and with what implications for longer-term responses?
  • How are longer-term issues such as land use, agricultural policy, climate change adaptation and sustainability, incorporated and addressed?

Project report


Testing an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management through participatory diagnosis. 2011-2014. A regional action research project across Indonesia, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Tanzania led by WorldFish and funded by the EU. The aims were to:

  • Explore how EAFM aligns with existing governance institutions
  • Apply EAFM through a participatory diagnosis and adaptive management process.
  • Investigate how the costs and benefits of EAFM are differentially distributed and experienced.

Project video


Eriksson H, Adhuri DS, Adrianto L, Andrew NL, Aprilanis T, Daw T, Evans L, Garces L, Kamanyi E, Mwaipopo R, Purnomo AH, Sulu RJ, and Beare D. 2016. An ecosystem approach to small-scale fisheries through participatory diagnosis in four tropical countries. Global Environmental Change. 36: 56-66


Leadership in Integrated Conservation and Development. 2013-2014. An interdisciplinary collaboration between environmental and management scientists aiming to:

  • Understand how leadership is conceptualised and analysed in the sustainability sciences
  • Investigate how sources of leadership interact in the Coral Triangle Initiative in the Solomon Islands.


Evans LS, Cohen PJ, Vave-Karamui A, Masu R, Boso D, Mauli S. 2018. Reconciling multiple societal objectives in cross-scale marine governance: Solomon Islands’ engagement in the Coral Triangle Initiative. Society and Natural Resources 31 (1): 121-135

Evans LS, Cohen PJ, Case P, Hicks CC, Prideaux M, Mills D. 2017. The landscape of leadership in environmental government. Human Ecology. 45 (3): 357-365

Case P, Evans L S, Fabinyi M, Cohen PJ, Hicks CC, Prideaux M, and Mills DM. 2015. Rethinking environmental leadership: The social construction of leaders and leadership in discourses of ecological crisis, development, and conservation. Leadership. 11 (4): 396-423

Evans LS, Hicks CC, Cohen PJ, Case P, Prideaux M, and Mills DM. 2015. Understanding leadership in the environmental sciences. Ecology & Society. 20 (1): 50


Limits to Climate Change Adaptation on the Great Barrier Reef. 2010-2012. Funded by the Australian National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility. Objectives were to:

  • Develop future scenarios of the Great Barrier Reef under climate change and limited vs ideal adaptation.
  • To use these scenarios to explore adaptation actions and the capacity to reduce vulnerability of fisheries and tourism industry to climate change impacts.

Project report



Evans LS, Hicks CC, Adger WN, Barnett J, Perry AL, Fidelman P, and Tobin R. 2016. The social limits to climate change adaptation in the Great Barrier Reef. Plos One. 11 (3), e0150575

Barnett J, Evans L, Gross C, Kiem A, Kingsford R, Palutikof J, Pickering C, and Smithers S. 2015. From barriers to limits to climate change adaptation: path dependency and the speed of change. Ecology and Society 20(3): 5.

Evans LS, Hicks CC, Fidelman P, Tobin RC, and Perry AL. 2013. Future Scenarios as a Research Tool: Investigating Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation Options and Outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Human Ecology. 41 (6), 841-857



2017-2020. £6.6 million. Co-I. RCUK Global Challenges Research Fund. Blue Communities.

2017. £20,000. PI. Economic and Social Research Council Impact Accelerator Award. 

2016. £200,000. Co-I. RCUK Global Challenges Research Fund. Building Socio-Ecological Resilience to Coral Reef Degradation in the Islands of the Western Indian Ocean.

2016. US$250,000. Co-I. Productivity in the EACC under climate change. Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association MASMA grant.

2015. £25,000. Co-I. BLUE Marine Foundation grant to evaluate management and partnership activities in Lyme Bay.

2014-2015. £200,000. Co-I. Economic and Social Research Council Urgent Grant on Flood Policy.

2014. £6,000. PI. Humanities and Social Science Project Development Fund from Exeter University for research on environmental leadership.

2012 - 2013. AU$ 8,500. PI. Collaborating across Boundaries grant from James Cook University for research on leadership and influence networks in sustainable development policy.

2012 - 2013. AU$ 15,000. PI. Competitive Research Incentive Grant from James Cook University for research on governance transitions in the Solomon Islands (in addition to my internal post-doctoral research funding).

2012 - 2014. Euro 1.2 million. PI. European Commission grant awarded to WorldFish for research on operationalising the ecosystem approach to fisheries management. I led the grant application and lead the Tanzanian research.

2010 - 2011. AU$ 100,000. PI. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility for research on Limits to Climate Change Adaptation on the Great Barrier Reef.

2004 - 2008. ESRC/NERC grant for my PhD. 

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