Lauren collaborates with colleagues to provide technical, scientific and communications expertise to a range of projects centred on marine biodiversity and ecosystem services. As part of her role, she streamlines marine and coastal data to support decision-making and efforts to track progress towards global conservation targets. Her areas of expertise include fisheries management, spatial ecology (species and habitat distribution mapping and modelling), and climate change (impacts and adaptation).
Lauren has a background in geography, fisheries science, and communications, and is passionate about synthesizing data and information into tools and products that support policy- and decision-making. She completed her MSc in Resource Management and Environmental Studies at the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Centre (now the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries) in Vancouver, Canada, where she examined the threat of climate change to the fisheries of Canada’s coastal Indigenous peoples. During this time, she worked closely with Dr. William Cheung and Dr. Yoshitaka Ota, Directors of the NF-UBC Nereus Program, on a global survey of coastal Indigenous fishing communities and conducted research on corporate social responsibility, marine spatial planning, and indicators of the human dimensions of fisheries. Prior to her work at UNEP-WCMC, she collaborated with scientists under the “Oceans 2015 Initiative” to produce a review of the scientific literature published subsequent to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, identifying points of agreement and departure regarding the impacts of climate change on coastal sectors through changes in the marine environment.
EU BON is a European Union Framework Programme 7 collaborative project with 30 partners. The main objective of EU BON is to build a substantial part of the Group on Earth Observation’s Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON). EU BON’s deliverables include a comprehensive European Biodiversity Portal for all stakeholder communities and strategies for a global implementation of GEO BON and supporting the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). UNEP-WCMC is involved in several work packages within EU BON, and leads Work Package 6 (Stakeholder engagement and science-policy dialogue).
As part of this project, Lauren leads the development of the Ocean Data Viewer and co-leads the management and distribution of high-quality marine and coastal data. These datasets are important resources that can be used to ensure compliance with international regulations, such as the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standard 6, and to manage local operational impacts on biodiversity. Her work also focuses on developing novel ways in which data and modelling approaches can be used to inform decision-making. As part of this work, Lauren led the development of the 2015 edition of the Manual on marine and coastal datasets of biodiversity importance (updated from Martin et al. 2014).