Maria Ignacia
MESM PhD Fellow

María Ignacia Rivera graduated in 2013 from Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile as a marine biologist. After her undergraduate studies, she worked as a research assistant at the Social Complexity Research Center (CICS) in Universidad del Desarrollo in Santiago, Chile.

Her work prior to becoming Fellow involved interdisciplinary research projects focused on the study of human cooperative behavior. She acquired tools from the social sciences to assess questions involving social dilemmas such as collective resource exploitation. Ignacia’s main interests focus on the study of dynamics generated by socio-ecological interactions in marine resources exploitation at different scales and the design of efficient management plans to achieve a sustainable use of marine resources by taking into account ecological and social aspects. Ignacia completed her MESM degree in 2017 with a specialization in Coastal Marine Resources Management.

Now as a PhD student at the Bren School, Ignacia is pursuing research to identify patterns in how people make decisions around natural resource use and how behavior is shaped by different social, institutional, geographical and ecological contexts in small-scale fisheries. Her initial research goal is to generate such understanding while considering particularities of small-scale fisheries in developing countries to craft better-aligned solutions to resource management challenges. She intends to explore how groups self-organize to exploit common pool resources and how social and ecological contexts shape the type of rules they adopt and how they perform. During her tenure as a PhD Student with Dr. Gaines, Ignacia plans to leverage connections that the Bren School has with UCSB’s Political Science and Economics departments to learn more about methods and theories regarding the analysis of institutions and their performance. 

As a Latin American Fisheries Fellow, she looks forward to a career engaging communities in Latin America to solve complex resource problems.