Austin Humphries


Austin grew up in the mountains of southwest Virginia and has traveled the world in search of fish: he has worked as a fisherman in Alaska, spent years counting fish on coral reefs in East Africa and the Seychelles, studied the first fisheries habitat restoration program in China, and occupied boats in remote parts of Indonesia and Pacific Islands for months at a time. He has a strong affinity for fishing, surfing, and string music.


Dr. Humphries’ research is at the interface of people and the sea. Primary interests include the linked ecological and social dynamics that both drive and result from fisheries management. By understanding these mechanisms and their sources, his research is able to then test solutions that aim to work for both people and nature. These projects often include a large field data collection component that has both underwater surveys of fishes as well as fisheries catches and interviews with fishermen and households. With these data, he uses a variety of statistical tools and design simulation models that elucidate interactions and patterns. Increasingly the problems he chooses to research are centered on how we might balance trade-offs between fish population health and human health, or food security, in small-scale tropical fisheries. His work is centered on collaborative learning experiences with fishermen and community members.


  • Ph.D., Rhodes University (South Africa), 2014
  • M.S., Louisiana State University, 2010
  • B.S., University of Vermont, 2006

Selected Publications

Carvalho PG, Humphries AT (2022) Gear restrictions create conservation and fisheries tradeoffs for management. Fish and Fisheries 23:183-194.

Arizi EK, Collie J, Castro K, Humphries AT (2022) Fishing characteristics and catch composition of the sardinella fishery in Ghana indicate urgent management is needed. Regional Studies in Marine Science 52:102348.

Wibisono E, Mous P, Firmana E, Humphries AT (2022) A crew-operated data recording system for length-based stock assessment of Indonesia’s deep demersal fisheries. PLoS ONE 17(2): e0263646.

Iannotti LL, Blackmore I, Cohn R, Chen F, Gyimah EA, Chapnick M, Humphries AT (2021) Aquatic animal foods for nutrition security and child health. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 1-21.

Carvalho PG, Setiawan F, Fahlevy K, Subhan B, Madduppa H, Zhu G, Humphries AT. (2021) Fishing and habitat condition differentially affect size spectra slopes of coral reef fishes. Ecological Applications e2345.

Innes-Gold A, Pavlowich T, Heinichen M, McManus C, McNamee J, Collie J, Humphries AT (2021) Exploring social-ecological tradeoffs in fisheries using a coupled food web and human behavior model. Ecology and Society 26(2):40.

Humphries AT, McClanahan TR, McQuaid CD. (2020) Algal turf consumption by sea urchins and fishes is mediated by fisheries management on coral reefs in Kenya. Coral Reefs 39:1137-1146.