Associate Professor of Marine Policy, School of Marine Sciences
University of Maine
Dr. Teresa Johnson is an associate professor at the University of Maine. A broadly trained and interdisciplinary social scientist, Dr. Johnson completed her PhD in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University in 2007, and also holds degrees in marine policy, government, environmental studies, and biology. Her research aims to understand and improve the efficacy of participatory approaches to science and management and to empower stakeholder and community engagement in policy, with focus on the human dimensions of fisheries, aquaculture, and marine renewable energy. Her research draws on theories from ecological anthropology, studies of the commons, science and technology studies, and social-ecological systems thinking. She adopts a mix of social science research methods and data sources, including participant observation, interviews, oral histories, document analysis, structured surveys, focus groups, social network analysis, and systems modeling.
Dr. Johnson is experienced leader in transdisciplinary research and has worked to promote the value and the inclusion of social science in such collaborations in order to inform policy. She has collaborated with public, private, and non-private sectors, as well as with natural scientists and engineers. As the Maine Tidal Power Initiative’s Human Dimensions team leader, she led research and stakeholder engagement activities with biophysical scientists and engineers to help inform the development of the first tidal power device delivering energy to the grid in North America. As Co-PI of the Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET), a $20 million NSF-funded interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research project, she led a diverse team of applied social scientists, while also leading the development of a transdisciplinary research framework for integrating social science, biophysical research, and engineering to inform the sustainable development of marine aquaculture. She collaborates with Maine Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension staff and other marine aquaculture industry and science experts, to offer shellfish and seaweed training to commercial fishermen and other community members. For this work, Dr. Johnson was co-recipient of a National Sea Grant extension and outreach award. Since 2011, she has served as an appointed member of the State of Maine’s Sea Urchin Zone Council, a co-management body consisting of fishing industry and scientific experts, and served on a subcommittee of the State of Maine Governor’s Ocean Energy Taskforce. She is a committed mentor for early career female faculty, and graduate and undergraduate students in STEM. In recognition of her leadership at the University of Maine and to the State of Maine, Dr. Johnson was selected as a University Faculty Fellow, becoming an ambassador to the public on behalf of the University’s Land and Sea Grant missions.
In addition to her research, Dr. Johnson teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in marine policy and social science and serves as the University of Maine’s marine policy graduate program coordinator. As most students in her courses and in the marine policy graduate program arrive without training in social science or policy, her teaching and mentoring offers her the opportunity to educate future biophysical scientists and policy-makers about the importance of applied social science in informing policy.
Dr. Johnson attended her first meeting of the Society in 2003 as a PhD student, and has been engaged as a member of the Fisheries Topical Interest Group since its formation. She has organized and co-organized sessions on diverse topics related to marine fisheries, aquaculture, and coastal communities. She is excited about the opportunity to contribute more directly to the Society’s mission of promoting applied social science to today’s complex social and environmental challenges. She is especially interested in creating more opportunities for sharing experiences, knowledge, and best practices across the Society’s diverse membership and supporting graduate students and early career scholars and encouraging their work and engagement in the Society.