Ms Deborah Cleland



BA/BSc(Hons I)


After a few years working in Environmental Impact Assessment policy at the Federal level, I returned to academia to continue my work in science communication and marine conservation. 

Working closely with Perry Aliño's Community Ecology Lab at the Marine Science Institute at the University of the Philippine and the Marine Environment Resource Foundation, we implemented a project to demonstrate Ecosystem Based Management tools to governance and community stakeholders throughout the Philippines. 

I am now working at the RegNet, School of Regulation and Global Governance, in a project called Regulation and Social Capital.

Other research interests include sustainability science, human ecology, participatory action research, mixed and qualitative methods, aid and development, governance and science studies. 

In my spare time I do aerial acrobatics and blog at



    Research interests

    • Qualitative social research on biodiversity conservation
    • Transdisciplinarity
    • Interdisciplinarity and integrative research
    • Protected area management
    • Socio-economic agent based modelling
    • Public participation, action research and participatory modelling
    • Role of play, hope, games and creativity in sustainability and behaviour change
    • Visual methods


    Journal articles (peer-reviewed)

    Cleland, Deborah and Raissa O’Caya San Jose (in press) Rehearsing inclusive participation through fishery stakeholder workshops in the Philippines, Conservation and Society

    Cleland, Deborah (2017) A playful shift: field-based experimental games offer insight into capacity reduction in small-scale fisheries, Ocean and Coastal Management, 144: 129-137

    Cleland, Deborah (2017) Viable metaphors: the art of participatory modelling for communicating sustainability science. Knowledge Management for Development Journal 13(1): 39-55

    Muallil, Richard, Deborah Cleland and Porfirio M Aliño, (2013) Socioeconomic factors associated with fishing pressure in small-scale fisheries along the West Philippine Sea biogeographic region, Ocean and Coastal Management 82, 27-33

    Cleland, Deborah et al (2012) Simulating the Dynamics of Subsistence Fishing Communities: REEFGAME as a Learning and Data-Gathering Computer-Assisted Role-Play Game, Simulation & Gaming, 43(1): 102-117

    Cleland, Deborah (2011) If wishes were fishes, Griffith Review 32: Wicked Problems, Exquisite Dilemmas (p233-240)

    Melbourne-Thomas, Jessica, Craig R. Johnson, Pascal Perez, Jeremy Eustache, Elizabeth A. Fulton and Deborah Cleland (2011) Coupling Biophysical and Socioeconomic Models for Coral Reef Systems in Quintana Roo, Mexican Caribbean. Ecology and Society 16 (3): 23

    Muallil, Richard, Rollan Geronimo, Deborah Cleland, Reniel Cabral, R, Maria VA Doctor, Abbie Cruz-Trinidad and Porfirio M Aliño, Willingness to exit the artisanal fishery as a response to scenarios of declining catch or increasing monetary incentives, Fisheries Research 11:1-2, 74-81

    Cleland, Deborah and Wyborn, Carina (2011) A reflective lens: applying critical systems thinking and visual methods to ecohealth research, Ecohealth 7(4), pp414-424

    Perez, Perez, Anne Dray, Deborah Cleland, D, Ernesto Arias-Gonzalez (2009). An Agent-Based Model to Address Coastal Management Issues in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, In Anderssen et al (eds) MODSIM09 International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, pp. 72-79

    Book chapters, E-books & guides

    Wyborn, Carina & Deborah Cleland,  (2010) “Using visual methods to explore conflicts in land and seascape management” in V.A. Brown et al, Tackling wicked problems: using the transdisciplinary imagination, Earthscan, London (winner of the 2010 Gerald Young Book Award for ‘the highest standards of scholarly work in the field of human ecology)

    Cleland Deborah, Maria Doctor Maria VA and Pascal Perez (2010) ReefGame Tool Demonstration Guide in: Ecosystem-Based Management Toolkit for Philippine Coastal Resource Management. Marine Science Institute, UP Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

    Cleland Deborah et al (2010) “SimReef and ReefGame: gaming for integrated reef research and management” in Cleland, D, Melbourne-Thomas, J, King, M, Sheehan, G, (eds) Building capacity in coral reef science: An anthology of CRTR scholars research, p123-131

    Updated:  19 June 2018/Responsible Officer:  Director Fenner School/Page Contact:  Webmaster Fenner School