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Leslie Acton

Dr. Leslie Acton

Assistant Professor


Dr. Leslie Acton is an Assistant Professor of Coastal Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Lab. She is a human geographer and studies human-environment relationships across space and scale. She draws on human geography, political ecology, and common-pool resource theory to examine how ocean policy is negotiated and created and how it impacts stakeholders and communities. Her recent research focuses on large-scale oceans conservation in the high seas and offshore Bermuda and Hawai‘i. Prior to joining the Gulf Coast Research Lab, she completed her PhD at Duke University and was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Colorado State University.

  • Marine Science and Conservation (PHD) - Duke University (2017)
  • Coastal Environmental Management (MEM) - Duke University (2012)
  • What is the Sargasso Sea? The problem of fixing space in a fluid ocean, Political Geography, 2019,
  • Embracing conceptual diversity to integrate power and institutional analysis: Introducing a relational typology, International Journal of the Commons, 2018
  • Conceptualizing social outcomes of large marine protected areas, Coastal management, 2017
  • Toward a social science research agenda for large marine protected areas, Conservation Letters, 2016
  • Network environmentalism: Citizen scientists as agents for environmental advocacy, Global Environmental Change, 2014
  • Preventing Discrimination & Harassment: Employees V2.3
  • Title IX: Preventing Sexual Misconduct for Faculty and Staff - Responsible Employee Edition (LBW)
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
  • American Association of Geographers
  • International Studies Association

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Contact Me

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Oceanography 108



Areas of Expertise

coastal and oceans governance; human geography; political ecology; common-pool resource (CPR) theory