Eli Fenichel

Assistant Professor

Research Overview

I have a number of ongoing projects or projects starting up.  There are two general interconnected questions my research aims to address.  First, how do forward looking human decisions and ecological dynamics feedback, and what does this mean for management of ecological systems?  Second, how can we think about natural resources as forms of capital, and how do move this thinking from a metaphor that useful for guiding intertemporal management to broader application so that natural capital interfaces smoothly with traditional forms of capital?

1.       Adaptive human behavior and the spread of infectious diseases.  This work, funded by NIH, investigates how people respond to epidemics and how these responses shape the nature of epidemics.  This work involves both theoretical modeling and empirical work. For some examples of my work in this area see:





2.       Linkages between locusts, livestock management, nitrogen cycling, and markets.  This is a new project, supported by the NSF, that investigates how ecological dynamics link the decisions people make over space and time.  Locusts are a major concern for food security in many places in the world, and livestock management may influence both the local outbreaks of locusts and migratory locust plagues.  We are trying to figure out how this couple system works.  For more information see:



3.       Incentivizing land-uses that generate ecosystem services.  This work focuses on incentives for engagement in forestry in the Panama Canal Watershed.  A key question when developing ecosystem service incentives is, how does natural capital interface with other more traditional forms of capital? Collaborators and I are starting to untangle this question with support from the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Fund. 


4.       Management of recreational fisheries. This work, previously supported by NOAA, takes on some of the unique challenges of common pool resources that do not have direct market links because they provide cultural rather than provisioning ecosystem services. Some examples of my work in this area can be found at:


http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/cjfas-2012-0517#.Uqh2zOIa56A http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0928765510000229