018: Multi-disciplinary research on the Galápagos Islands with María José Barragán

María José Barragán is the Science Director for the Charles Darwin Foundation on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. She oversees the organization’s 20 marine and terrestrial research projects, and is helping to make many of them interdisciplinary and inclusive of local stakeholder needs and knowledge.


María José received a PhD in Human Geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Canada. Her undergraduate degree was in the Biological Sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University, Ecuador, and Master’s degree from the Technical University of Munich, Germany (TUM) focusing on coastal marine ecosystems and marine protected areas (MPAs). 

Her PhD research was inspired by the interactive governance framework, and was applied to better understand the governability of MPAs (with a case study developed in the Galapagos Marine Reserve). After graduation she collaborated with research clusters of the Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) Global Research Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries Research, conducting research and publishing on small-scale fisheries. Later on, she had a postdoctoral research position at the “Development and Knowledge Sociology” Working Group at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany. During that time, she conceptualized and co-developed new research agendas, by integrating the development and knowledge sociology approach into small-scale fisheries sustainability, fishing communities’ viability, food security from the marine perspective and marine resource governance.


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