Jean Wencélius

Jean Wencélius
San Diego State University

I am a cultural anthropologist specialized in the fields of ethnobiology and human ecology. During my graduate and post-doctoral research I have focused, in Africa and French Polynesia, on documenting the local ecological knowledge people have of the biological entities they use for their subsistence. I’ve been particularly interested by uncovering the cognitive, economic and social mechanisms underlying the interactions between humans and their environment. To better understand complex socio-ecological systems, I’ve systematically worked within interdisciplinary projects seeking to bridge the gaps between quantitative and qualitative research.


Currently, I am enrolled as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Anthropology Department of San Diego State University within the NSF-CNH funded project focused on analyzing feedbacks between fishing practices and the ecological dynamics of coral reefs in Mo’orea. Carrying out ethnographic fieldwork in Mo’orea I am documenting local ichthyological knowledge, local fishing practices as well as the social and political dynamics of local marine management. An important dimension of our project also consists in weaving collaborative relationships with local communities and developing tools through which fishers produce data on their own fishing efforts and strategies.