Gray, Noella

Dr. Noella Gray
Associate Professor, Graduate Coordinator
PhD, Duke University, 2009
519 824-4120 ext. 58155
Hutt 121

Political ecology, marine resource management and conservation, common property and co-management, Central America and the Caribbean.

Broadly, I am interested in the politics of conservation and environmental governance – in how access to natural resources is defined, contested and legitimated by resource users, experts, civil society and the state. More specifically, I consider how science is incorporated into environmental policy, the politics of scale in marine conservation, and how resource management policies are negotiated under co-management arrangements. I have studied both ecotourism and marine protected areas as examples of conservation interventions. I draw on, and contribute to, three fields of study: political ecology, common property, and science and technology studies. I welcome inquiries from potential graduate students who have overlapping interests.

My current and past research is associated with the following projects and groups:




GEOG*2030 Environment and Development
GEOG*3490 Tourism and Environment
GEOG*4220 Local Environmental Management
GEOG*6281 Environmental Resource Evaluation

For a complete list, please see my google scholar page.

Gray, Noella J. 2016. The role of boundary organizations in co-management: examining the politics of knowledge integration in a marine protected area in Belize. International Journal of the Commons 10(2): 1013–1034. .

Gruby, Rebecca L., Noella J. Gray, Lisa M. Campbell and Leslie Acton 2016. Toward a Social Science Research Agenda for Large Marine Protected Areas. Conservation Letters 9(3): 153-163.

Silver, Jennifer J., Gray, Noella J., Campbell, Lisa M., Fairbanks, Luke W., Gruby, Rebecca L. 2015. Blue Economy and Competing Discourses in International Oceans Governance. Journal of Environment and Development 24(2). 

Gray, Noella J., Rebecca L. Gruby and Lisa M. Campbell. 2014. Boundary Objects and Global Consensus: Scalar Narratives of Marine Conservation in the Convention on Biological Diversity. Global Environmental Politics 14(3): 64-83.

Campbell, Lisa M., Shannon Hagerman, and Noella J. Gray. 2014. Producing targets for conservation at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Global Environmental Politics 14(3): 41-63.

Gray, Noella J. 2010. Sea Change: Exploring the International Effort to Promote Marine Protected Areas. Conservation and Society. 8(4): 331-338.

Gray, Noella J. and Lisa M. Campbell. 2009. Science, Policy Advocacy, and Marine Protected Areas. Conservation Biology 23(2): 460-468.

Gray, Noella J. and Lisa M. Campbell. 2007. A Decommodified Experience? Exploring Aesthetic, Economic, and Ethical Values for Volunteer Ecotourism in Costa Rica. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 15(5): 463-482.

Political Ecology, Marine Conservation, Ocean Governance, and Island Futures

I welcome inquiries from prospective graduate students (MA or PhD) who share my research interests in marine conservation governance, “blue economy” policies and impacts, and/or the science-policy interface in the context of conservation and environmental governance, particularly in islands. Please contact me directly to discuss opportunities; inquiries should include a CV/resume, unofficial transcript, writing sample, and statement of interest.

Funded MA/PhD Opportunity: Global Biodiversity Targets and Indigenous-led Conservation

I seek a student to join a long-term project (the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership). The student will examine the intersection between Global Biodiversity Targets (especially for protected areas, “other effective area-based conservation measures”, and Indigenous knowledge) and national and local Indigenous-led conservation efforts. Applicants should hold (or be near completing) an undergraduate and/or Masters degree in Geography or a related social science discipline (Anthropology, Political Science, International Development, Environmental Studies, etc). *I particularly welcome inquiries for this project from students who identify as Indigenous.

Students will receive full financial support.  Additional funding is also available to cover some research expenses, including travel to international policy meetings (as applicable).

For more information about this opportunity please contact Dr. Noella Gray at, ideally before submitting a formal application

Graduate Students Supervised

Name Research
M.A. 2020 Faulkner, Jocelyn Transferring Skills and Knowledge through Volunteer Tourism? Linking International Development and Critical Global Citizenship
M.A. 2020 Sparling, Abigail An Opportunity for Policy Change? Creating New Space for Conservation through Marine 'Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures' in Canada
M.A. 2018 Artis, Evan Conceptions of Ocean Space and the rise of large scale Marine Protected Areas in the South Pacific.
M.A. 2017 Kipp, Amy Shaping the 'volunteer tourist bubble': The gendered experiences of volunteer tourists.
M.A. 2017 Mitchell, Lillian Governing large Marine Protected Areas: Insights from the remote Phoenix Islands Protected Area
M.A. 2016 Brander, K. Georgia Selling Conservation? The Role of Volunteer Tourism in Supporting Marine Conservation in Southern Belize.
M.A. 2016 Ravensbergen, Sarah Marine conservation and volunteer tourism: Examining community perceptions in Sarteneja, Belize.
M.A. 2014 Meeker, Alexandra Volunteer tourism for marine conservation: a force of positive change in Northern Belize
M.A. 2012 Greenberg, Shannon Marine biodiversity conservation and market mechanisms in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Ph.D. Hodson, Victoria Research Interests: Indigenous-led conservation, intersections of international & domestic conservation policy in Canada, ethical space in research, political ecology.
Ph.D. + IDS López-González, Bárbara Research interests: political ecology, sustainability, and environmental governance in small islands.
Ph.D. Pine, Deborah Research interests: Anishinaabe Gkendaasowin, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Conservation
Ph.D. Wiehe, Emilie The political ecology of marine conservation in Mauritius.