Karen Alexander

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Karen Alexander

Karen Alexander

Research Fellow

Room 113.13, IMAS Waterfront, Hobart CBD Campuses

+61 3 6226 4869 (phone)

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Doctor Karen Alexander is an interdisciplinary Research Fellow in the Centre for Marine Socioecology.  She is a marine social scientist (and part-time ecosystem modeller) with wide-ranging interests, centring on marine governance. She specialises in issues around the transition to a green (blue) economy and more recently her research has focused on stakeholder engagement and social license for sectors such as offshore renewable energy and aquaculture.


Before joining the University of Tasmania in 2016, Karen was a research associate in marine social science at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS). In this role, Karen worked on a number of EU-wide projects including the KnowSeas project ( which focused upon knowledge-based sustainable management of Europe's regional seas; and the IDREEM project (, where she led a work package investigating the social impacts of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA). In addition, Karen held a UK Research Council funded Knowledge Exchange Fellowship in sustainable aquaculture where she worked at the interface between research and industry. Karen also led a summer school on Marine Renewables and Society as part of the IDCORE programme ( and a module in the Erasmus + Joint Master Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society (ACES)( which she will continue to teach as a guest lecturer.

Career summary



Offshore power production and marine stakeholders: from understanding conflict to impact mitigation.

University of the Highlands and Islands/University of Aberdeen




Environmental Governance

University of Manchester



BA (Hons)

Politics & Sociology

University of Strathclyde




Marine social science, marine governance, social impacts of marine industry, rapid policy network analysis, Ecopath with Ecosim

Teaching expertise

Karen has previously developed and led a two-week summer school on Marine Renewables and Society as part of the D.Eng IDCORE programme ( and a developed and led a module on aquaculture governance in the Erasmus + Joint Master Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society (ACES)

( She also has expertise in teaching at undergraduate level on marine policy, societal aspects of fisheries and spatial ecosystem modelling using Ecopath with Ecosim and Ecospace.

View more on Dr Karen Alexander in WARP


Marine governance

Ecosystem-based management

Marine policy & legislation

Marine spatial planning

Fisheries, aquaculture and marine renewables

Social license

Stakeholder facilitation

Qualitative and quantitative social science Ecosystem modelling

Research Themes

Karen's research spans a number of the University's research themes including Culture and Society; Marine, Antarctic and Maritime; and Environment, Resources and Sustainability. Karen's research interests include identifying and understanding those aspects of governance that can act as incentives or barriers to marine ecosystem-based management (EBM). This includes analysis of policies and legislation, analysis of tools and approaches, and working with marine stakeholders. Through her Research Fellowship in the Centre for Marine Socioecology, Karen will focus upon regional ecosystem-based coastal management, identifying the constraints that have prevented implementation of an integrated EBM approach in the South East Tasmania region thus far and developing a framework for EBM at the regional level.


Fields of Research

  • Human Geography (160499)
  • Natural Resource Management (050209)
  • Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning) (160404)
  • Aquaculture (070401)
  • Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205)
  • Social and Cultural Geography (160403)
  • Environmental Management (050205)
  • Policy and Administration (160599)
  • Environmental Politics (160605)
  • Ecological Applications (050199)
  • Studies in Human Society (169999)
  • Environmental Sociology (160802)
  • Fisheries Management (070403)
  • Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment (070402)
  • Ecological Economics (149902)

Research Objectives

  • Coastal and Marine Management Policy (960701)
  • Fisheries - Aquaculture (830199)
  • Coastal and Estuarine Water Management (960903)
  • Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) (830204)
  • Fisheries - Wild Caught (830299)
  • Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales (960501)
  • Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards (960799)
  • Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society (970116)
  • Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments (960507)
  • Environmentally Sustainable Animal Production (839899)
  • Aquaculture Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) (830102)
  • Economic Incentives for Environmental Protection (960601)
  • Wild Caught Edible Molluscs (830203)
  • Wild Caught Crustaceans (excl. Rock Lobster and Prawns) (830202)
  • Fisheries - Recreational (830201)


Karen has published papers on a range of topics including stakeholder and general public perceptions relating to the marine environment, marine spatial planning, marine governance and ecosystem modelling.  Many of her papers have been published in top-tier journals including PLoS ONE, Ecology and Society and Marine Policy. Karen is also a regular invited reviewer for a range of journals.

Total publications


Journal Article

(17 outputs)
2018Alexander KA, Freeman S, Angel DL, 'Public attitudes and decision making in environmental resource planning a perception gap', Environmental Science and Policy, 80 pp. 38-43. ISSN 1462-9011 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2017.11.012 [eCite] [Details]


2018Graziano M, Fox CJ, Alexander K, Pita C, Heymans JJ, et al., 'Environmental and socio-political shocks to the seafood sector: what does this mean for resilience? Lessons from two UK case studies, 1945-2016', Marine Policy, 87 pp. 301-313. ISSN 0308-597X (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2017.10.014 [eCite] [Details]


2017Alexander KA, Graziano M, 'Marine spatial planning: scale mismatches in a complex (regional) seascape', Regional Studies Association. Regions, 307, (3) pp. 15-16. ISSN 1367-3882 (2017) [Non Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2017Alexander KA, Hughes AD, 'A problem shared: technology transfer and development in European integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA)', Aquaculture, 473 pp. 13-19. ISSN 0044-8486 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2017.01.029 [eCite] [Details]


2016Alexander K, 'Book review: Big, bold and blue: lessons from Australia's marine protected', Australian Journal of Maritime and Ocean Affairs, 8, (4) pp. 308-309. ISSN 1836-6503 (2016) [Letter or Note in Journal]

DOI: 10.1080/18366503.2016.1245390 [eCite] [Details]


2016Alexander KA, Angel D, Freeman S, Israel D, Johansen J, et al., 'Improving sustainability of aquaculture in Europe: stakeholder dialogues on Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA)', Environmental Science and Policy, 55, (Part 1) pp. 96-106. ISSN 1462-9011 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2015.09.006 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 7


2016Alexander KA, Freeman S, Potts T, 'Navigating uncertain waters: European public perceptions of integrated multi trophic aquaculture (IMTA)', Environmental Science and Policy, 61 pp. 230-237. ISSN 1462-9011 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2016.04.020 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2


2016Alexander KA, Meyjes SA, Heymans JJ, 'Spatial ecosystem modelling of marine renewable energy installations: gauging the utility of Ecospace', Ecological Modelling, 331 pp. 115-128. ISSN 0304-3800 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2016.01.016 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2


2015Alexander KA, Heymans JJ, Magill S, Tomczak MT, Holmes SJ, et al., 'Investigating the recent decline in gadoid stocks in the west of Scotland shelf ecosystem using a foodweb model', ICES Journal of Marine Science, 72, (2) pp. 436-449. ISSN 1054-3139 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsu149 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 8


2015Alexander KA, Kershaw P, Cooper P, Gilbert AJ, Hall-Spencer JM, et al., 'Challenges of achieving Good Environmental Status in the Northeast Atlantic', Ecology and Society, 20, (1) Article 49. ISSN 1708-3087 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5751/ES-07394-200149 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2


2015Alexander KA, Potts TP, Freeman S, Israel D, Johansen J, et al., 'The implications of aquaculture policy and regulation for the development of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture in Europe', Aquaculture, 443 pp. 16-23. ISSN 0044-8486 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2015.03.005 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 14Web of Science - 16


2015Gilbert AJ, Alexander K, Sarda R, Brazinskaite R, Fischer C, et al., 'Marine spatial planning and Good Environmental Status: a perspective on spatial and temporal dimensions', Ecology and Society, 20, (1) Article 64. ISSN 1708-3087 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5751/ES-06979-200164 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 6


2015Janssen R, Arciniegas G, Alexander KA, 'Decision support tools for collaborative marine spatial planning: identifying potential sites for tidal energy devices around the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland', Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 58, (4) pp. 719-737. ISSN 0964-0568 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2014.887561 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2


2014Raymond CM, Kenter JO, Plieninger T, Turner NJ, Alexander KA, 'Comparing instrumental and deliberative paradigms underpinning the assessment of social values for cultural ecosystem services', Ecological Economics, 107 pp. 145-156. ISSN 0921-8009 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.07.033 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 46Web of Science - 45

Co-authors: Raymond CM


2013Alexander KA, Potts T, Wilding TA, 'Marine renewable energy and Scottish west coast fishers: exploring impacts, opportunities and potential mitigation', Ocean & Coastal Management, 75 pp. 1-10. ISSN 0964-5691 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2013.01.005 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 15Web of Science - 13


2013Alexander KA, Wilding TA, Heymans JJ, 'Attitudes of Scottish fishers towards marine renewable energy', Marine Policy, 37 pp. 239-244. ISSN 0308-597X (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2012.05.005 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 24Web of Science - 24


2012Alexander KA, Janssen R, Arciniegas G, O'Higgins TG, Eikelboom T, et al., 'Interactive marine spatial planning: siting tidal energy arrays around the Mull of Kintyre', PLoS ONE, 7, (1) Article e30031. ISSN 1932-6203 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030031 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 39Web of Science - 29


Chapter in Book

(1 outputs)
2017Alexander K, Brennan R, Kenter J, 'Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Stewardship', The Science and Practice of Landscape Stewardship, Cambridge University Press, C Bieling, T Plieninger (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 265-280. ISBN 9781107142268 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.1017/9781316499016.027 [eCite] [Details]



(1 outputs)
2016Alexander K, 'Big, bold and blue: lessons from Australia's marine protected areas, edited by James Fitzsimons and Geoff Westcott, Melbourne, CSIRO Publishing, 2016, 402 pp', Australian Journal of Maritime & Ocean Affairs pp. 1-2. ISSN 1836-6503 (2016) [Review Single Work]

DOI: 10.1080/18366503.2016.1245390 [eCite] [Details]


Contract Report, Consultant's Report

(2 outputs)
2015Potts T, Alexander K, O'Higgins T, MacLucas N, Logan K, et al., 'Supporting Marine Spatial Planning with Local Socio- Economic Data (MSP-LED)', Scottish Government, CREW (Scotland's Centre of Expertise for Waters), Scotland (2015) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

2014Alexander KA, Gatward I, Parker A, Black K, Boardman A, et al., 'An assessment of the benefits to Scotland of aquaculture', Scottish Government, Imani and SRSL, Scotland (2014) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Seal relocation risk, effectiveness and natural context - Phase 1 (2017)$234,581
This research project will investigate the risks, effectiveness, and natural context of the Tasmanian fur seal relocation program using biotelemetry to assess seal movement and foraging behaviour in SE Tasmania.
Tassal Operations Pty Ltd ($234,581)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Lea MA; Hindell MA; Alexander KA; Alderman R
From global ideals to local realities - the foundations of sustainability (2016)$30,123
The focus of this project is the development of robust indicators for social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability in aquaculture. A vast number of standards and indicators have been developed worldwide, however little is known about the use of these indicators, nor what aspects are missing/contradictory/overlapping/ inadequate. It is these aspects that this project will address.
Scottish Association of Marine Science ($30,123)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Alexander KA

Research Supervision

Prior to coming to UTAS, Karen has supervised Honours and Masters projects to successful completion on topics such as marine invasive species and marine protected areas. Karen is currently co-supervising a PhD project with colleagues at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland investigating integration in marine and coastal Ecosystem Based Management.  She has also previously examined PhD theses. Karen is interested in supervising topics in social aspects of marine management, particularly those relating to the interplay of marine and coastal user and interest groups.  For information on a PhD opportunity available with Karen through the Centre for Marine Socioecology, please visit





PhDPolitical Representation in Institutional Design: Governing Multi-User, Multiple Values Marine Resources2016
PhDTop Predators and Feeding People from the Ocean: Natural Behaviour, Habituation, and the Foraging Ecology of Fur Seals in Tasmania2017