Dr Michele Barnes

Research Field: Social Networks and Environmental Impacts

You may have heard the saying “what you know is who you know”. The underlying notion is
that social networks matter. The relationships we have with others influence our exposure to
ideas, information, and resources. They also influence our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
Dr. Barnes’s research focuses on this phenomena in relation to the environment: how do
social networks potentially contribute to, or help to solve environmental problems?

To answer this, she uses social network science to explore key issues such as how
environmental knowledge spreads through society, how social networks influence
environmental behavior, and how relationships between people and nature drive
environmental outcomes – such as how much fish there are in the sea.

Dr. Barnes’s work has a strong focus on marine fisheries and coral reefs. Approximately 3
billion people rely on fish as their primary source of protein, and coral reefs are one of the
most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet. Her work seeks to help contribute to
sustaining these systems in the face of a range of threats, such as overfishing, pollution, and
climate change.