Postdoctoral fellow Elena Finkbeiner

Elena M. Finkbeiner
ASU-Conservation International
Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD, Biology, Stanford University
MEM, Coastal Environmental Management, Duke University
BS Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCSC

In general, my research explores how social-ecological systems can adapt and respond to change, and seeks to identify resource management and conservation approaches that can achieve both environmental sustainability and human wellbeing.  I use small-scale fisheries as my social-ecological study system, given their importance for global livelihood and food security, culture, and ecological sustainability. I draw from ecology, political science, anthropology, and economics, and use  a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods, including ethnographic techniques, analysis of fisheries catch data, and behavioral economic experiments. I think it is important to use applied, interdisciplinary science to improve our understanding of how we can increase both social wellbeing and ecological sustainability in the face of increasing uncertainties and threats that global fisheries face.

Research Interests

  • Self-organization, resilience, and adaptive capacity in social-ecological systems
  • Small-scale fisheries governance
  • Role of diversification in fisheries
  • Environmental entitlements and access
  • Solution-based science
  • Human rights and social justice considerations in natural resource management and conservation

Curriculum Vitae

Postdoctoral fellow Krista KemppinenKrista Kemppinen
ASU-Conservation International Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD, University of Cambridge, 2017
BA (Hons), University of Cambridge, 2011


Krista Kemppinen is an ASU-CI postdoctoral fellow working on the role of nature in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Her research articulates and quantifies the degree of dependence of the SDGs and associated targets on natural capital, and investigates the trade-offs between individual goals and targets. Through this research, Kemppinen aims to inform national and global scale policy interventions.

Prior to coming to ASU, Kemppinen was a PhD candidate, and before this an undergraduate student, at the University of Cambridge. The focus of her PhD thesis was to investigate the causes of past atmospheric CO2 fluctuations by designing and executing Earth System Model experiments on the Cambridge HPC Cluster, conducting statistical analyses of the model outputs, evaluating these against observations, and building computationally cheap model surrogates. For her Bachelor’s, Kemppinen specialised in the environmental science disciplines as well as conservation and sustainable development.

Kemppinen has worked in different countries and sectors, including:  the Indian Himalayas, where she looked at the impact  of measures introduced to reduce water scarcity and achieve energy security; Southern Italy, where she investigated volcanic aerosol emissions; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Helsinki, where she worked on ocean methane emissions. Kemppinen has native proficiency in English, French, Spanish and Finnish.

In her spare time, Kemppinen is a Carbon Pricing Evaluation Support Fellow for MIT’s Climate CoLab. She is also passionate about science communication and facilitating the exchange of scientific information. Organisations she has previously volunteered with include the Cambridge Climate and Sustainability Forum, the Wolfson Research Event and a new UK-based social networking start up aiming to advance scientific collaborations.