Vanessa is a postdoctoral research fellow at Charles Darwin University where a key theme in her research is applying economic concepts and social consultation to make on-ground conservation action more effective and equitable between groups of stakeholders. She is also an adjunct staff member with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. Vanessa was raised in New Mexico (USA) but currently calls Australia home. She has worked in a variety roles ranging from actuarial analyst for global consulting firm Mercer HR to research scientist at universities. She spent a year as a Fulbright scholar conducting research at University of Queensland and recently completed her PhD at James Cook University in 2011. During her PhD she was awarded a Sir Keith Murdoch fellowship through the American Australian Association to support a component of her research conducted in Fiji modelling costs of conservation actions to local fishermen. Her research explores how to plan for development and conservation goals conjointly with a focus on how new market mechanisms, such as carbon offsets, may be leveraged for dual objectives such as livelihood provisioning and biodiversity conservation. Vanessa partners with relevant government agencies and NGOs to ensure that her research is relevant to policy makers and is positioned to influence on-ground conservation.
Current Research Projects
Spatial prioritization for management of Andropogon gayanus (Gamba grass) invasions
The aim of this project is to develop a spatially explicit prioritization framework to identify optimal budget allocations to both eradication and control measures of gamba grass to minimize the costs (including management costs as well as loss of social, cultural and environmental assets) and likelihood of reinvasion. Our framework extends recent approaches to systematic prioritization of weed management to account for spatially variable environmental, social and cultural assets that are threatened by gamba grass.
Conservation and development planning
The aim of this project is to develop an integrated planning approach that balances spatial priorities for multiple competing objectives including a number of conservation and development goals for a region. This project is in collaboration with Prof Bob Pressey through the National Environmental Research Program Northern Australia Hub. More details can be found at: http://www.nerpnorthern.edu.au/research/projects/11.