Senior Scientist, Sustainability Science
Sheila Walsh is a senior scientist with The Nature Conservancy's Sustainability Science Program. Sheila's research focuses on how ecosystems and economies are interrelated and how to improve environmental decision making. The results of Sheila's research supports the Conservancy's mission by helping to identify and test conservation strategies that benefit both people and nature.
Currently, Sheila is developing methods to incorporate the value of nature into business decision making through a collaboration with The Dow Chemical Company and Foundation. Sheila is also investigating how to align marine management institutions, from local fishing cooperatives to national policies, with key ecological and economic factors in Mexico.
Sheila has previously conducted research on marine ecology, conservation and economic development issues in Kiribati, Mexico, Belize, and the USA. In addition to publishing in scientific journals, Sheila's research has been featured on media outlets, such as NPR and Change.org, and has helped inform governments, NGOs, and local stakeholders.
Sheila previously was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Economics and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University. In 2009, Sheila received her Ph.D. from the interdisciplinary program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in partnership with the Department of Economics, University of California-San Diego.
Sheila's research focuses on ecosystem services. She works to design and test incentive-based conservation strategies that have outcomes for people and nature.
Her research areas and questions include:
Sheila is answering these questions through research in the U.S. with the Dow Chemical Company and in Mexico and Kiribati with academic partners at Brown University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and University of Victoria.
In addition to publishing in peer-reviewed journals (see publications tab), Sheila has written numerous essays and been interviewed by a variety of media outlets about her research:
Senior Scientist, Sustainability Science
Walsh, S. M., B.I. Ruttenberg, S.L. Hamilton, M. Donovan, S.A. Sandin. 2012. Fishing indirectly affects condition and reproduction in a reef fish community. Journal of Fish Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2011.03209.x
Ruttenberg B.I., Hamilton S.L., Walsh S.M., Donovan M.K., Friedlander A., et al. 2011. Predator-induced demographic shifts in coral reef fish assemblages. PLoS ONE 6(6): e21062. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021062
Walsh, S.M. 2011. Ecosystem-scale effects of nutrients and fishing on coral reefs. Journal of Marine Biology. doi:10.1155/2011/187248
Walsh, Sheila, Theodore Groves, Sriniketh Nagavarapu. "Promoting Alternative Livelihoods for Conservation Backfires when Non-Monetary Benefits of Traditional Livelihoods are Important", July 2, 2010. UCSD, Center for Environmental Economics, Working Paper Series 10-02.
Eakin, C.M. et al. (and 63 co-authors). 2010. Caribbean corals in crisis: record thermal stress, bleaching, and mortality in 2005. PLoS ONE http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0013969
Sandin, S.A., S.M. Walsh, J.B.C. Jackson. 2010. Prey release, trophic cascades, and phase shifts in tropical nearshore marine ecosystems. In J. Estes and J. Terborgh (eds) Trophic cascades, Island Press. pp. 71-91.
Carilli, J.E., R.D. Norris, B. Black, S.M. Walsh, M.D. McField. 2010. Century-scale records of coral growth rates indicate that local stressors reduce coral thermal tolerance threshold. Global Change Biology 16: 1247-1257.
Vermeij, M., M. Dailer, S.M. Walsh, M. Donovan, C. Smith. 2010. The effects of trophic interactions and spatial competition on algal community composition on Hawaiian Coral Reefs. Marine Ecology 31: 291-299.
Carilli, J.E., R.D. Norris, B.A. Black, S.M. Walsh, M. McField. 2009. Local stressors reduce coral resilience to bleaching. PLoS ONE 4(7): e6324.
Sandin S.A., J.E. Smith, E.E. DeMartini, E.D. Dinsdale, S.D. Donner, A.M. Friedlander, T. Konotchick, M. Maley, J.E. Maragos, D. Obura, O. Pantos, G. Paulay, M. Richie, F. Rowher, R.E. Schroeder, S.M. Walsh, J.B.C. Jackson., N. Knowlton, E. Sala. 2008. Degradation of coral reef communities across a gradient of recent human disturbance. PLoS ONE 3(2): e1548.
Carson, R. and S. Walsh. 2006. Preventing oil spill damages: lessons from the Exxon Valdez. Oceanis 32(3/4): 349-372.
Garren, M., S.M. Walsh, A. Caccone, N. Knowlton. 2006. Patterns of association between Symbiodinium and members of the Montastraea annularis species complex on spatial scales ranging from within colonies to between geographic ranges. Coral Reefs (25): 503-512.
Walsh, S. and M. McField. 2005. Understanding patterns of bleaching in the Mesoamerican Reef: A collaborative effort to support resilience-based management. Major contribution in H. Schuttenberg and P. Marshall, eds. Responding to global change: a reef manager’s guide to coral bleaching. NOAA, Washington, D.C.