Rebecca Short



When I was about seven I saw a film of a Marine Biologist diving off a boat, wrestling a turtle to the surface, tagging it and releasing it all in one slick movement. I was sold. My parents dutifully bought me my first mask and snorkel, took me to a Greek island and the deal was sealed.


With a background in Marine biology and a general distaste for anything cute and cuddly I have naturally gravitated towards generic silver fish as a career focus. Having said that, as I have mellowed with age the cute and fuzzies have become more appealing, allowing me to appreciate the true gorgeousness of the eel, amongst others.

Threats to the world’s fish populations and ecosystems they rely on are significant, persistent and accelerating. I am interested in reducing these threats by working from a fishers-eye-view and most keenly pursue these insights in small-scale and subsistence fisheries, where I believe the greatest challenges lie. As threatened as the ecosystems are the people whose livelihoods rely on them and my conservation motivations have been rapidly exceeded by a desire to help these communities secure and enhance their futures. Towards this end, I am now interested in coastal, community-based conservation efforts: novel and innovating ideas that marry conservation with improved livelihoods and wellbeing for people reliant on the oceans.


I am currently completing a PhD entitled: Disentangling the net: the socio-ecological dynamics of mosquito net fishing.

The use of mosquito nets (handed free or subsidised in anti-malarial efforts) as fishing gear is becoming an increasingly reported issue in artisanal fisheries. There is currently a glaring dearth of information on the activity; its ecological impacts as an unselective fishing method, what it means for anti-malarial efforts and its current role in local livelihoods/food security. The response has often been to ban the activity despite this lack of understanding, with natural resource managers and the health community currently coming at the problem disjointedly from different angles.

My PhD aims to gain the first detailed insights in to this relatively new fishery at a global scale, assess localised impacts on fish and people, and bring together all relevant stakeholders for an interdisciplinary approach to broad and localised policy.

For more information please visit our Project Page.


This PhD is supervised by Prof. E.J. Milner-Gulland (Oxford), Dr. Marcus Rowcliffe (IoZ), Dr. Nick Hill (ZSL), and Dr. Sergio Rosendo (Universidade Nova de Lisboa) and is funded by the Imperial College London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership.


2014 – Present: PhD Student: Grantham Institute, Imperial College London; Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science, University of Oxford; Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London

2011 – 2014: Marine and Freshwater Programme Co-ordinator, ZSL

2010 – 2011: MSc Conservation Science, Imperial College London

2009 – 2010: Research Intern, Tidal Thames Conservation Project, ZSL

2009: Trainee Estate Ranger and Monitoring Assistant, Igomango, Sharpham estate, Devon, UK

2008 – 2009: Research Assistant, Archipelagos IMERAS, Ikaria, Greece

2005 – 2008: BSc Marine Biology, University of Plymouth

Reef Conservation UK Committee member

European Coral Reef Symposium 2017 organisation committee

Soapbox Science Oxford 2016 organisation committee


Emma R. Bush, Rebecca E Short.  E.J. Milner-Gulland. Kirao Lennox.  Melita Samoilys. Nicholas Hill. (2016) Mosquito Net Use in An Artisanal East African Fishery. Conservation Letters

  • International Marine Conservation Congress 2014, Glasgow – ‘On the EDGE of Existence: prioritising coral species for conservation’
  • Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association Conference 2015, Port Edward, South Africa – ‘Mosquito nets in East African fisheries – what do we know and where are we going?’
  • International Marine Conservation Congress 2016, St. Johns, Canada - ‘The use of mosquito nets in fisheries: A global perspective’


  • Reef Conservation UK 2012, London – ‘Madagascar’s shark fisheries: dependence, depletion and dissociation’


  • International Congress for Conservation Biology 2015, Montpellier – ‘Disentangling the net: The socio-ecological dynamics of mosquito net fishing’


  • Wellcome Trust Centre for Global Health Research Annual Meeting 2016, London, UK - ‘Disentangling the net: The socio-ecological dynamics of mosquito net fishing’ [Also winning prize for best poster]


Imperial College London Joseph Hooker prize winner, 2011.

The Green Party of England and Wales

British ecological Society

Society for Conservation Biology

Rebecca Short