Leslie Acton

On the Sea Dragon Research

I am interested in understanding human-environment relationships and interactions across space and scale. I draw on human geography, political ecology and common-pool resource theory to examine how political and social processes related to oceans governance produce, and are produced by, particular realities and contexts.

My dissertation research explores how actors negotiate relations and leverage outcomes for the governance of Bermuda’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the Sargasso Sea.

Through this work, I explore the discursive production of ocean spaces and emerging territorial practices, both within territorial waters and in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). I also collaborate on a multi-institutional project examining the human dimensions of large marine protected areas (MPAs) across sites, through which I investigate negotiations over a proposed large MPA in Bermuda’s EEZ.

My research has spanned the international, national, and local scales, including sites such as the World Parks Congress; Bermuda; Kino Bay, Mexico; Washington, DC; and London.

Before beginning the PhD program, I received an MEM degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and a BS in Biology from UNC Chapel Hill.