Crisol Mendez-Medina

I’m a conservation scientist and institutional scholar who works at the interface of ecology, sociology, resource management, and policy to solve real-world natural resource management problems. I have a broad, interdisciplinary background in sociology, political ecology, coastal management, institutional governance, and environmental. I am particularly interested in research developing partnerships among scientists, stakeholders, and non-government organizations to find creative, pragmatic solutions that increase the resiliency of coastal communities.

For the past three years, I have led a team as research coordinator of a participatory action research project, working collaboratively with different stakeholders, NGOs, fishers, and scientists: The National Plan to Strengthen the Governance of Fishing Organizations in Mexico. The main goal of the project is to strengthen the ability of small-scale fishing organizations (cooperatives and federations) in Mexico to better participate in the management of their fisheries. We gathered information about why fishers organize, how their organizations operate, and how they perform on a number of dimensions. The project embodies a groundbreaking collaboration among the fishing sector, academia, and civil society on a national scale in Mexico.

For my dissertation research, I used institutional theory to examine how highly successful fishing cooperatives located in communities inside a Biosphere Reserve have developed over time, working in close cooperation with the State agencies, NGOs, and academics. Using a combination of ethnographic methods, archival research, and qualitative analysis, my research demonstrated the way local actors respond to problems that arise from policy implementation. My research highlights how cooperatives have developed a set of rules and punishments to regulate their fisheries and ask how these lessons could be applied to fisheries elsewhere in similar environments. My work contributes to the field of marine conservation, exploring a management system in which the resource users themselves manage and conserve these resources for sustainable use. I have found drivers for cooperation between actors involved in the management of a Biosphere Reserve, looking at how local norms, state regulatory instruments and scientific recommendations on the sustainable use of fishery resources, interact in the management of natural resources. I’m broadly driven by research questions about the conditions under which local communities would be more resilient and what are the drivers for multi-layered collective action in resource management.

If you want to know more about my work, you can take a look at my website


  • 2014-2018: Doctorate in Science in Ecology and Sustainable Development (with an orientation in Conservation), El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Chetumal.
  • 2012-2013: Master in Science in Natural Resources and Rural Development (with an orientation in management of territories), El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Chetumal.
  • 2006-2009: Master in Conservation, Management and Dissemination of Heritage (Minor in Cultural Tourism and Minor in Environmental Interpretation), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.
  • 2007-2008: Certificate in Education, Universidad de Guadalajara.
  • 2002-2006: Bachelor in sociology (minor in Latin-American studies), Universidad de Guadalajara.