I work on the evolution of social behaviour, including conflict and cooperation. My research asks whether the theory of evolution by natural selection can explain why environmental problems arise and why they persist. I am particularly interested in human conservation and anti-conservation behaviours, and the evolution of environmental morality: individual-level beliefs, intuitions, attitudes, as well as social norms about what is right and wrong regarding other species and the environment more generally. I measure and analyse people’s moral attitudes, judgments, and beliefs about wild organisms, I conduct experiments to untangle factors underpinning conservation conflicts, and I develop evolutionary models of adaptive conservation behaviours. I have an MA(Hons) in moral and political theory from the University of Glasgow and a PhD in Natural Resources from Cornell University. I worked in public policy for nine years before starting my postgraduate work. I retain a keen interest in public policy and collaborate with conservation professionals across sectors to help design socially and ecologically responsible systems of wildlife governance.
I am affiliated with Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. I am working to establish long-term research collaborations between Oxford and Cornell, supported by the Brettschneider Exchange Fund. I am an adjunct assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology at the University of New Mexico.