Melissa Cronin

Melissa Cronin is a Smith Conservation Research Fellow and postdoctoral researcher hosted by the Coasts and Commons Co-Laboratory at Duke University, in partnership with Global Fishing Watch and Conservation International. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz. Broadly, her research lies at the intersection of conservation and fisheries science. At Duke, she is working on a project to understand the conservation and food security implications of large- and small-scale fisheries interactions.

She uses interdisciplinary methods in the natural and social sciences, with a special focus on applied research with real-world conservation implications. Her Ph.D. research focused on oceanic sharks and rays and employed genomics, media analysis, policy analysis, and collaborative social science methods to investigate the impact of industrial fishing on sharks and manta and devil rays.

She is a co-founder and Project Leader of Mobula Conservation Project, an organization dedicated to the research and conservation of manta and devil rays in the Eastern Pacific. She also co-founded and is the Director of the Building a Better Fieldwork Future Program, a program that trains field researchers, staff, and students to prevent and address sexual harassment and assault in field settings.Prior to earning her Ph.D., she was a journalist covering science, the environment, wildlife crime and trafficking, and politics. Learn more about her work here: