Jennifer McGowan

Research Affiliate
Area of Interest: 
decision science, spatial conservation planning, prioritization, return on investment

My research focuses on developing tailored decision-support frameworks to guide conservation investments on the land, freshwater and sea. I use aspects of spatial ecology, economics, operations research and decision theory to help managers and practitioners make transparent, repeatable and robust decisions about the allocation of resources to inform conservation actions on the ground. I apply these skills at global and local scales to help solve a wide array of challenges, from optimizing protected area network design to prioritizing countries for conservation finance initiatives to deliver large return-on-investment benefits from biodiversity protection. I also invest significant time into teaching conservation planning theory and training to build capacity in governments to embrace systematic conservation planning in their biodiversity and climate adaptation strategies. I am dedicated to help get decision-support tools into the hands of the people that need them and build institutional knowledge in governments and NGOs who are working to save biodiversity and livelihoods on the ground.

Selected Publications: 

McGowan J, Beaumont LJ, Smith R, Chauvenet ALM, Harcourt R, Atkinson, Mittermeier JC, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Baumgartner JB, Beattie A, Dudaniec RY, Grenyer R, Nipperess DA, Stow A, Possingham HP. 2020. Conservation prioritization can resolve the flagship species conundrum. Nature Communications. 11, 994.

McGowan J, Beger M, Lewison RL, Harcourt R, Campbell H, Priest M, Dwyer RG, Lin HY, Lentini P, Dudgeon C, McMahon C, Watts M, Possingham HP. 2016. Linking research using animal-borne telemetry with the needs of conservation management. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12755.

McGowan J, Weary R, Carriere L, Game ET, Smith JL, Garvey M, Possingham HP. 2020. Prioritizing debt conversion opportunities for marine conservation. Conservation Biology.
McGowan J.  Bode M, Holden MH, Davis K, Krueck N, Beger M, Yates KL, Possingham HP. 2018. Ocean zoning within a sparing vs. sharing framework. Theoretical Ecology.

McGowan J, Smith RJ, Di Marco M, Clarke RH, Possingham HP. 2017. An evaluation of marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas in the context of spatial prioritization. Conservation Letters. doi:10.1111/conl.12399.


Where You're From: 
United States of America