Ocean Evidence Gap Map (2018-2019)

Evidence gap maps are emerging as conservation tools that synthesize existing scientific research in a creative way, in order to guide evidence-based decision-making and identify areas where more targeted research is needed. Gap maps also help identify studies that suggest linkages between particular interventions and outcomes (e.g., ecological, social) and can help identify and characterize contexts for understanding tradeoffs and synergies in conservation decision-making. In the rapidly developing field of ocean science and conservation, evidence gap maps can provide informed and data-based direction for scientific, philanthropic, government and nongovernment organizations as they decide how to invest limited resources.

In collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, this Bass Connections project developed an ocean evidence gap map with a subset of evidence gap maps on coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses. The project’s interdisciplinary approach used natural and social science research to examine potential linkages between intervention (e.g., take limits, restoration) and both natural (e.g., fish abundance, ecosystem health and resilience) and social outcomes (e.g., income, well-being, degree of cooperative interactions).

The project team also assessed implications of the results of the ocean evidence gap map for World Wildlife Fund investments in ocean conservation and for research directions by Duke faculty and students. The team reviewed approaches to and methods for synthesizing literature, including gap maps; collaboratively developed the search terms and chose categorization of interventions and outcomes; and reviewed World Wildlife Fund interventions in the three focal habitats of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses. 


Summer 2018 – Summer 2019

Team Outputs

Willa R. Brooks, Morgan E. Rudd, Samantha H. Cheng, Brian R. Silliman, David A. Gill, Gabby N. Ahmadia, Dominic A. Andradi-Brown, Louise Glew, Lisa M. Campbell. 2020. “Social and ecological outcomes of conservation interventions in tropical coastal marine ecosystems: A systematic map protocol, Environmental Evidence 9(9).

Evidence Mapping: Investigating the Social and Ecological Impacts of Conservation in Mangrove Ecosystems (master’s project by Willa Brooks, Amy Manz and Colyer Woolston MEM ’19)

This Team in the News

Building a Mangrove Map

Meet New Blogger Anne Littlewood – Working on Biology and Puppies

The Importance of Evidence in Environmental Conservation

Donor Support Spurs Interdisciplinary Research on Pressing Global Challenges

See related team, Ocean Evidence Gap Map and Synthesis (2019-2020).

Ocean scenes

Team Leaders

/graduate Team Members

  • Willa Brooks, Master of Environmental Management, Coastal Environmental Management
  • Margaret Chory, Master of Environmental Management, Coastal Environmental Management
  • Amy Manz, Master of Environmental Management, Coastal Environmental Management
  • Anastasia Quintana, Marine Sci & Conservation-PHD
  • Colyer Woolston, Master of Environmental Management, Coastal Environmental Management
  • Sarah Zigler, Marine Sci & Conservation-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Meredyth Albright, Theater Studies (AB)
  • Katherine Knotek
  • Anne Littlewood
  • Elizabeth Nowlin, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
  • Lauren Pederson, Environmental Sciences (BS), Cultural Anthropology (AB2)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Lisa Campbell, Nicholas School of the Environment-Marine Science and Conservation*
  • Brian Silliman, Nicholas School of the Environment-Marine Science and Conservation*

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Gabby Ahmadia, World Wildlife Fund-US*
  • Samantha Cheng, Arizona State University
  • Linwood Pendleton, World Wildlife Fund-Global