Kelly Heber

I am Kelly Heber, a PhD Student focused on ecosystem science, public policy, economic development, and coral reefs in the MIT Science Impact Collaborative and an advisee of Professor Lawrence Susskind. An MIT Presidential Fellow , and a social scientist by training, my research looks at coral reefs. More specifically reef ecosystem services, conceptualizing reefs as complex socio-ecological systems, and using Indonesian and Malaysian coral reef villages as field sites. I am a researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Marine Policy Center through the WHOI Guest Student Program. I am supervised by Professor Porter Hoagland where I work on an NSF Funded Coastal SEES Project on the economic valuation of ecosystem services in large urban estuaries, specifically the Hudson River.

I am interested in economic development in communities that depend on coastal resources for their livelihoods, and linking management institutions to positive ecological, social, and economic outcomes. My research draws on common pool resource theory, institutional analysis, theories of adaptive co-management, and collaborative natural resource management. My major research questions are:

1. What specific institutional components in co-managed systems predict healthier coastal ecosystems?
2. How are co-managed institutions linked to economic development namely in coastal ecosystem service delivery?

I use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods in my research. I have held several different teaching assistant positions in the department that include: Quantitative Methods, Introduction to Environmental Policy and Planning, Malaysia Sustainable Development field based practicum.