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Amanda Vincent

Name: Dr Amanda Vincent
Professor, Fisheries Centre & Zoology; Director & Co-founder, Project Seahorse; Canada Research Chair in Marine Conservation
BSc Zoology (Western Ontario); PhD Zoology (Cambridge)

Research Unit

  • Project Seahorse


Dr. Amanda Vincent holds the Canada Research Chair in Marine Conservation in the Fisheries Centre at the University of British Columbia, Canada.  She has a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, England and a Hons. B.Sc. from the University of Western Ontario in Canada.  She was a Visiting Fellow in Sweden and Germany (1990-1991) and a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, England (1991-1996).  She was on faculty at McGill University, Montréal, Canada (1996-2002), where she was named a William Dawson Scholar in 2000.  The same year, Dr. Vincent was named a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, the world’s pre-eminent award in that field.

In 1996, Dr. Vincent co-founded and still directs Project Seahorse, an interdisciplinary and international organisation committed to conservation and sustainable use of the world’s coastal marine ecosystems. The group engages in connected research and management at scales ranging from community initiatives to international accords. Collaborating with stakeholders and partners, team members use seahorses to focus efforts in finding marine conservation solutions. Project Seahorse undertakes biological and social research, empowers local communities, establishes marine protected areas, manages small-scale fisheries, restructures international trade, promotes integrated policy, and advances environmental understanding.  About 35 professional team members work around the world.

Dr. Vincent was the first person to study seahorses underwater, the first to document the extensive trade in these fishes and the first to initiate a seahorse conservation project.  Her research and advocacy work for marine conservation have earned Dr. Vincent the following awards and accolades, among others: Whitley Award in Animal Conservation (1994); Grand Prix International pour l'Environment Marin (Conféderation Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques: 1997), Rolex Award for Enterprise (1998); TIME magazine Leader for the 21st Century (1999); La Presse Personality of the Year (2000); Chevron Conservation Award (2005); Yves Rocher Foundation Woman of the Earth (2007).

Dr. Vincent is consulted on marine management and policy issues.  From 2000-2004, she chaired the Syngnathid Working Group for the 169-nation Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  Project Seahorse played pivotal roles in the landmark CITES decision to begin regulating international trade in some marine fishes of commercial importance.  In addition,  Dr. Vincent has held special responsibility for coastal species as a member of the Steering Committee of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.

Dr. Vincent has written many scientific papers, technical reports, popular articles and policy briefings.  She published the first monograph on the international trade in seahorses in 1996 and then co-authored a book on seahorses in 1999.  Her work has been documented in five full-length television programmes, and much other media coverage globally. Her background includes extensive rough travel through more than 60 countries.  Project Seahorse research and management initiatives are supported by not-for-profit organisations, government, private enterprise, research councils and individuals. 

Research Interests

  • Use of marine resources for non-food purposes (e.g. medicines, aquarium pets, and curios)
  • Marine protected areas and zoning
  • Community-based coastal resource management, particularly in Southeast Asia
  • Subsistence fisheries management and by-catch reduction
  • Marine trade assessment and policy development
  • Seahorses, pipefishes, pegasid fishes
  • Reproductive ecology of fishes and other marine organisms, and its evolution

Research Projects

  • Enriching and utilizing our knowledge of local seahorse populations to scale up community-based initiatives for seahorse conservation on Danajon Double Barrier Reef
  • The impacts of shrimp trawling on small fish species Improving the status of seahorse populations in the Philippines, under fishing pressure
  • Supporting a landmark CITES Appendix II listing for marine fishes of commercial importance
  • Improving the status of seahorse populations in the Philippines, under fishing pressure
  • Enriching and utilizing our knowledge of local seahorse populations to scale up community-based initiatives for seahorse conservation on Danajon Double Barrier Reef
  • Using an unfortunate trade ban to advance seahorse conservation, with the fishers’ co-operation
  • UBC Sustainable Seafood Project
  • Empowering developing countries to meet international obligations for seahorse conservation and more
  • Advancing no-take marine protected areas in the central Philippines, for conservation and food security
  • Fostering marine conservation in traditional Chinese medicine
  • Mining multiple data sets for multiple no-take marine management areas in the Philippines
  • Study of an Exploited population of H. comes in situ in the Philippines
  • Training Needs Assessment in Coastal Resource Management
  • Measuring for management of international trade in seahorses, Hippocampus spp.
  • Dispersal in seahorse populations of the central Philippines
  • Understanding and improving the effectiveness of community-based marine protected areas, for marine life and for people
  • Understanding extraordinary fisheries
  • Dispersal and movement in fragmented populations of a coral reef fish

Teaching Experiences / Current Courses

  • Ocean conservation and sustainability (new in 2013)
  • Communicating your research for funding … and influence
  • Fisheries law
  • Conservation Biology
  • Introduction to Fisheries Science
  • Marine Biodiversity
  • Applied tropical ecology field course
  • Political ecology
  • Aquatic conservation
  • Ecology and Behaviour field course

Selected Publications

See all

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