Population theory applied to predict the dynamics of socio-ecological systems



–  Principal Investigator:

Stefan Gelcich

– Associate Researchers: 

Rodrigo Arriagada

Francisca Reyes

Sergio Navarrete

– Postdoctoral associates: 

– Professionals and technicians: 

Nancy  Sanhueza

PhD students

– Undergraduate students:

 Paloma Fernanda Bravo Torres
– International collaborators: 


The future of humanity depends on transitioning towards sustainability, on scales ranging from the local to the global. The line on sustainable natural resource management and policy (SNRMP) is at the core of this research. Key tenets of sustainability are the interconnections between human and environmental subsystems. Therefore, the SNRMP research line will provide a high quality interdisciplinary venue, which essentially aims at understanding coupled human–environment (i.e. social-ecological) systems with reference to focused problem-solving efforts, targeted towards natural resource management sustainability and policy. In doing so, the SNRMP will be a place-based, use-inspired research line for understanding and improving the dynamic relationship between ecosystem services and human wellbeing in selected Chilean social-ecological systems.


The SNRMP research line works on five aspects that are of crucial importance to advance in the science and practice of natural resource management and also to address key obstacles for sustainability in Chile. (1) Evidence-based impact assessment of existing policies over multiple ecosystem services. (2) Systematic analysis of novel science-based solutions for natural resource management problems. (3) Institutional capacity assessment of natural resource management policy instruments. (4) The design and piloting of innovative natural resource management strategies based on novel financing schemes (e.g. biodiversity offsetting). (5) Information and transfer capacities for social-ecological, institutional and policy monitoring and assessment.


Actual Research lines:

Subtidal Applied Ecology

Policy Coherence

Small-scale fisheries

Climate Change

Ecosystem Services

Evidence Based Conservation

Projections and Challenges:

We anticipate results that will inform on the design of novel, place-based, policy perspectives, and the transfer of knowledge to local stakeholders, NGOs, foundations and private firms. Findings of this research line will result in the operationalization of a set of policy schemes that allow verifiable social-ecological benefits, which could likely result in unparalleled gains for Chile’s sustainability and novel cross-sector alliances.



1) Duarte CM,  Fulweiler RW, Lovelock CE,  Martinetto P, Saunders MI, Pandolfi JM,  Gelcich S &  Nixon SW (2014) Reconsidering Ocean Calamities. BioScience 65(2): 130-139. doi: 1093/biosci/biu198. PDF: Duarte et al 2014

2) Chilvers J, Lorenzoni I, Terry G, Buckley P, Pinnegar JK & Gelcich S (2014) Public engagement with marine climate change issues: (Re)framings, understandings and responses. Global Environmental Change 29: 165–179. PDF: Chilvers et al 2014_GEC

3) Gelcich S (2014) Towards polycentric governance of small-scale fisheries: insights from the new ‘Management Plans’ policy in Chile. Aquatic Conserv: Marine Freshwater Ecosystems 24: 575–581. PDF: Gelcich 2014 Aquatic Conservation

4) Gelcich S, Buckley P, Pinnegar JK, Chilvers J, Lorenzoni I, Terry G, Guerrero M, Castilla JC, Valdebenito A & Duarte CM (2014) Public awareness, concerns, and priorities about anthropogenic impacts on marine environments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: doi/10.1073/pnas.1417344111. PDF: Gelcich et al 2014_PNAS

5) Graham WM, Gelcich S, Robinson KL, Duarte CM, Brotz L, Purcell JE, Madin LP, Mianzan H, Sutherland KR, Uye S, Pitt KA, Lucas CH, Bøgeberg M, Brodeur RD &Condon RH (2014) Linking human well-being and jellyfish:ecosystem services, impacts, and societal responses. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12(9): 515–523, doi:10.1890/130298. PDF: Graham et al 2014

6) Kittinger JN, Koehn JZ, Le Cornu E, Ban NC, Gopnik M, Armsby M, Brooks C, Carr MH, Cinner JE, Cravens A, D’Iorio M, Erickson A, Finkbeiner EM, Foley MM, Fujita R, Gelcich S, St Martin K, Prahler E, Reineman DR, Shackeroff J, White C, Caldwell MR & Crowder LB (2014) A practical approach for putting people in ecosystem-based ocean planning. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12(8): 448–456 doi:10.1890/130267. PDF: Kittinger et al_2014

7) Marín A, Gelcich S & Castilla JC (2014) Ecosystem services and abrupt transformations in a coastal wetland social-ecological system: Tubul-Raqui after the 2010 earthquake in Chile. Ecology and Society 19(1): 22. doi: 10.5751/ES-05633-190122. PDF: Marin et al 2014

8) Micheli F, De Leo G, Shester GG, Martone RG, Lluch-Cota SE, Butner C, Crowder LB, Fujita R, Gelcich S, Jain M, Lester SE, McCay B, Pelc R & Sáenz-Arroyo A (2014) A system-wide approach to supporting improvements in seafood production practices and outcomes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12(5): 297–305, doi:10.1890/110257. PDF: Micheli et al 2014

9) Rivera A, Gelcich S, García-Florez L, Alcázar JL & Acuña JL (2014) Co-management in Europe:Insights from the gooseneck barnacle fishery in Asturias, Spain. Marine Policy 50: 300–308. PDF: Rivera et al 2014


1) Arriagada R, Sills E, Ferraro P & Pattanayak S (2015) Do Payments pay off? Evidence from participation in Costa Rica’s PES program. PLoS One 10(7):1-17. PDF

2) De Juan S, Gelcich S, Ospina-Alvarez A, Perez-Matus A & Fernandez M (2015) Applying an ecosystem service approach to unravel links between ecosystems and society in the coast of central Chile. Science of The Total Environment 533:122-132. PDF

3) Davis K, Kragt M, Gelcich S, Schilizzi S & Pannell D (2015). Accounting for enforcement costs in the spatial allocation of marine zones. Conservation Biology 29(1): 226–237. PDF: Davis et al 2015_Conservation Biology

4) Estévez RA & Gelcich S (2015) Participative multi-criteria decision analysis in marine management and conservation: Research progress and the challenge of integrating value judgments and uncertainty. Marine Policy 61:1-7. PDF

5) Estévez RA, Anderson CB, Pizarro JC & Burgman MA (2015) Clarifying values, risk perceptions, and attitudes to resolve or avoid social conflicts in invasive species management. Conservation Biology 29: 19–30. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12359. PDF: Estévez et al 2014

6) Gelcich S,  Peralta L,  Donlan CJ,  Godoy N,  Ortiz V,  Tapia-Lewin S,  Vargas C,  Keim A,  Castilla JC,  Fernandez M &  Godoy F (2015) Alternative strategies for scaling up marine coastal biodiversity conservation in Chile. Maritime Studies 14:5. PDF: Gelcich et al maritime studies 2015

7) Gelcich S & Donlan CJ (2015) Incentivizing biodiversity conservation in artisanal fishing communities through territorial user rights and business model innovation. Conservation Biology 29(4):1076-85. PDF

8) Gelcich S, Peralta L, Donlan CJ, Godoy N, Ortiz V, Tapia-Lewin S, Vargas C, Kein A, Castilla JC, Fernández M & Godoy F (2015) Alternative strategies for scaling up marine coastal biodiversity conservation in Chile Maritime Studies 14:5. PDF

9) Marín A, Bodin O, Gelcich S & Crona B (2015) Social capital in post-disaster recovery trajectories: Insights from a longitudinal study of tsunami-impacted small-scale fisher organizations in Chile. Global Environmental Change 35:450-462. PDF

10) Rivera A, Gelcich S,  García-Flórez L & Acuña JL (2015) Assessing the sustainability and adaptive capacity of the gooseneck barnacle co-management system in Asturias, N. Spain. Ambio 45(2):230-240. PDF

11) Reyes-Mendy F, Arriagada RA, Reyes-Paecke S, Tobar A (2014) Policy statement coherence: A methodological proposal to assess environmental public policies applied to water in Chile. Environmental Science & Policy. 42: 169-180. Doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2014.06.001. PDF: Reyes-Medy et al 2014


1) Arriagada R, Echeverría C & Moya D (2016) Creating protected areas on public lands: is there room for additional conservation? PLoS One 11(2): 1-16. PDF

2) Biggs D, Amar F, Valdebenito A & Gelcich S (2016) Potential Synergies between Nature-Based Tourism and Sustainable Use of Marine Resources: Insights from Dive Tourism in Territorial User Rights for Fisheries in Chile. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0148862. PDF

3) Bonicelli J, Tyburczy J, Tapia FJ, Finke GR, Parragué M, Dudas S, Menge BA & Navarrete SA (2016) Diel vertical migration and cross-shore distribution of barnacle and bivalve larvae in the central Chile inner-shelf. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 485: 35-46. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2016.08.013. PDF

4) Castilla JC, Espinosa J,Yamashiro C, Melo O & Gelcich S (2016) telecoupling between catch, farming, and international trade for the gastropods Concholepas concholepas (loco) and Haliotis spp. (abalone). Journal of Shellfish Research 35(2): 1–8. PDF

5) Crona BI, Basurto X, Squires D, Gelcich S, Daw TM, Khan A, Havice E, Chomo V, Troell M, Buchary EA & Allison EH (2016) Towards a typology of interactions between small-scale fisheries and global seafood trade, Marine Policy 65:1-10. PDF

6) Cuenca P, Arriagada R & Echeverría C (2016) How much deforestation do protected areas avoid in tropical Andean landscapes? Environmental Science & Policy. 56: 56-66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2015.10.014. PDF

7) Flores G, Aguilera JC, Almar R, Cienfuegos R & Navarrete SA (2016) A new remote sensing method for high-resolution quantification of submersion regimes in wave exposed shores. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 14: 736–749. doi: 10.1002/lom3.10133. PDF

8) Gelcich S & O’Keeffe J (2016) Emerging frontiers in perceptions research for aquatic conservation. Aquatic Conservation: Marine Freshwater Ecosystems 26: 986–994. doi: 10.1002/aqc.2714. PDF

9) Godoy N, Gelcich S, Castilla JC, Lima M & Smith A (2016) Artisanal spearfishery in temperate nearshore ecosystems of Chile: Exploring the catch composition, revenue, and management needs. Marine and Coastal Fisheries 8(1): 436-447. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19425120.2016.1185062. PDF

10) Kéfi S, Miele V, Wieters EA, Navarrete SA & Berlow EL (2016) How structured is the entangled bank? The surprisingly simple organization of multiplex ecological networks leads to increased persistence and resilience. PLoS Biol 14(8): e1002527. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002527. PDF

11) Oyanedel R, Marín A, Castilla JC & Gelcich S (2016) Establishing marine protected areas through bottom-up processes: insights from two contrasting initiatives in Chile.  Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 26: 184–195. PDF

12) Rahimi S, Gaines SD, Gelcich S, Deacon R & Ovando D (2016) Factors driving the implementation of fishery reforms. Marine Policy. 71: 222-228. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2016.06.005. PDF

13) Rivera A, Gelcich S, García-Florez L & Acuña JL (2016) Incorporating landscape metrics into invertebrate fisheries management: case study of the gooseneck barnacle in Asturias (N. Spain). ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsw029. PDF

14) Vásquez F, Gelcich S, Lerdón XP & Montealegre F (2016) The role of information in changing tourists behavioral preferences at the Humboldt penguin reserve in northern Chile. Ocean & Coastal Management, 125: 63-69. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2016.03.003. PDF


1) Crona B, Gelcich S & Bodin 0 (2017) The Importance of Interplay Between Leadership and Social Capital in Shaping Outcomes of Rights-Based Fisheries Governance. World Development  91:70-83. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.10.006. PDF

2) de Juan S, Gelcich S & Fernandez M (2017) Integrating stakeholder perceptions and preferences on ecosystem services in the management of coastal areas. Ocean & Coastal Management. 136: 38-48. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2016.11.019. PDF

3) Gelcich S, Cinner J, Donlan CJ, Tapia-Lewin S,  Godoy N & Castilla JC (2017) Fishers’ perceptions on the Chilean coastal TURF system after two decades: problems, benefits, and emerging needs. Bulletin of Marine Science 93(1): 53-67(15). https://doi.org/10.5343/bms.2015.1082. PDF

4) Gelcich S, Vargas C, Carreras MJ, Castilla JC & Donlan CJ (2017) Achieving biodiversity benefits with offsets: Research gaps, challenges, and needs. Ambio 46:184–189. DOI 10.1007/s13280-016-0810-9. PDF

5) Mizrahi D, Pereira SF, Navarrete SA & Flores AAV (2017) Allelopathic effects on the sun‑coral invasion: facilitation, inhibition and patterns of local biodiversity. Marine Biology 164:139. DOI 10.1007/s00227-017-3164-3. PDF

6) Nakandakari A, Caillaux M, Zavala J, Gelcich S & Ghersi F (2017) The importance of understanding self-governance efforts in coastal fisheries in Peru: insights from La Islilla and Ilo. Bulletin of Marine Science. 93(1):199–216. https://doi.org/10.5343/bms.2015.1087. PDF

7) Pérez-Matus A, Ospina-Alvarez A, Camus PA, Carrasco SA, Fernandez M, Gelcich S, Godoy N, Ojeda FP, Pardo LM, Rozbaczylo N, Subida MD, Thiel M, Wieters EA & Navarrete SA (2017) Temperate rocky subtidal reef community reveals human impacts across the entire food web. Marine Ecology Progress Series 567:1-6. PDF

8) Rivera A, Gelcich G, García-Flórez L & Acuña JL (2017) Trends, drivers, and lessons from a long-term data series of the Asturian (northern Spain) gooseneck barnacle territorial use rights system. Bulletin of Marine Science. 93(1):35–51. https://doi.org/10.5343/bms.2015.1080. PDF

9) Rivera A, Gelcich S, García-Flórez L & Acuña JL (2017) Heterogeneous management and conservation perceptions within the gooseneck barnacle co-management system in Asturias (N. Spain). Marine Policy 81: 229-235. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2017.03.020. PDF

10) Thiault L, Collin A, Chlous F, Gelcich S & Claudet J (2017) Combining participatory and socioeconomic approaches to map fishing effort in small-scale fisheries. Plos One 12(5): e0176862. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0176862. PDF

11) Van Holt T, Crona B, Johnson JC & Gelcich S (2017) The consequences of landscape change on fishing strategies. Science of The Total Environment 579: 930-939. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.10.052. PDF