Researcher biography

Caitlin Kuempel is an applied ecologist and PhD candidate at The University of Queensland under the supervision of Professor Hugh Possingham, Professor Catherine Lovelock, and Dr Alienor Chauvenet. Her current research investigates trade-offs within international conservation mandates and their potential impact on achieving conservation objectives. She is also interested in developing transparent, comparable protected area metrics, the optimal design and enforcement of conservation areas, and spatial conservation planning across the land, sea and their interface. Ultimately, her work aims to make environmental policy and management more effective by providing best-available science to inform decision-making. She completed her MSc in Marine Biology at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, exploring herbivory dynamics and demographic transitions on degraded Caribbean reefs of Panama. Before commencing her PhD she worked as a research assistant with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, where she was involved in several projects related to coral reef and seagrass health. This included a major role in the Smithsonian’s MarineGEO Thalassia Experimental Network (TEN), which accessed the vulnerability of seagrass to nutrient pollution and declines in herbivory with field sites in Florida, Belize and Panama.