Dr Vanessa Adams

Honorary Fellow

School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science


A key theme in Vanessa' research is applying economic concepts and social consultation to make on-ground conservation action more effective and equitable between groups of stakeholders. Vanessa was raised in New Mexico (USA) but currently calls Australia home. She has worked in a variety roles ranging from actuarial analyst for global consulting firm Mercer HR to research scientist at universities. She spent a year as a Fulbright scholar conducting research at University of Queensland in 2004 and completed her PhD at James Cook University in 2011. During her PhD she was awarded a Sir Keith Murdoch fellowship through the American Australian Association to support a component of her research conducted in Fiji modelling costs of conservation actions to local fishermen. Her research explores how to plan for development and conservation goals conjointly with a focus on how new market mechanisms, such as carbon offsets, may be leveraged for dual objectives such as livelihood provisioning and biodiversity conservation. Vanessa partners with relevant government agencies and NGOs to ensure that her research is relevant to policy makers and is positioned to influence on-ground conservation.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, James Cook University


  • Weeks, R. and Adams, V. M. (2018) Research priorities for conservation and natural resource management in Oceania's small-island developing states. Conservation Biology, 32 1: 72-83. doi:10.1111/cobi.12964

  • Álvarez-Romero, Jorge G, Munguía-Vega, Adrián, Beger, Maria, Del Mar Mancha-Cisneros, Maria, Suárez-Castillo, Alvin N, Gurney, Georgina G, Pressey, Robert L, Gerber, Leah R, Morzaria-Luna, Hem Nalini, Reyes-Bonilla, Héctor, Adams, Vanessa M, Kolb, Melanie, Graham, Erin M, VanDerWal, Jeremy, Castillo-López, Alejandro, Hinojosa-Arango, Gustavo, Petatán-Ramírez, David, Moreno-Baez, Marcia, Godínez-Reyes, Carlos R and Torre, Jorge (2017) Designing connected marine reserves in the face of global warming. Global change biology, . doi:10.1111/gcb.13989

  • Biggs, Duan, Holden, Matthew H., Braczkowski, Alex, Cook, Carly N., Milner-Gulland, E. J., Phelps, Jacob, Scholes, Robert J., Smith, Robert J., Underwood, Fiona M., Adams, Vanessa M., Allan, James, Brink, H., Cooney, R., Gao, Y., Hutton, J., Macdonald-Madden, Eve, Maron, Martine, Redford, Kent H., Sutherland, William J. and Possingham, Hugh P. (2017) Breaking the deadlock on ivory. Science, 358 6369: 1378-1381. doi:10.1126/science.aan5215

View all Publications


Book Chapter

  • Craigie, Ian D., Grech, Alana, Pressey, Robert L., Adams, Vanessa M., Hockings, Marc, Taylor, Martin and Barnes, Megan (2015). Terrestrial protected areas of Australia. In Adam Stow, Norman Maclea and Gregory I. Holwell (Ed.), Austral ark: the state of wildlife in Australia and New Zealand (pp. 560-581) Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Journal Article