The Project Researchers


Georgina Alonso
Graduate Researcher
PhD Candidate, School of International Development and Global Studies
University of Ottawa

Georgina is a PhD Candidate in the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa. Her thesis looks at labour and gender dynamics in Vietnamese offshore fisheries and involved learning directly from Vietnamese fishing communities. This work is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship and the International Development Research Centre's Doctoral Research Award. Georgina has a master’s degree from Saint Mary’s University in International Development Studies and is working towards social, environmental and labour justice more broadly. For the Work at Sea project, her work contributes to unpacking the relationship between offshore fishing labour and masculinities as well as understanding the particularities of Vietnamese fishing labour within and beyond Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.


Hazel Dizon 
Research Assistant  
MA Geography, York University

Hazel Dizon is a geographer whose research interests lie primarily in examining the processes of urban and rural transformations, and their intersections with development. She holds an MSc in Geography from the University of the Philippines and MA in Geography from York University. Her research examined the housing take-over of socialized housing by the homeless Filipino urban poor. This scholarly endeavour led her to interrogate occupation, strategies of resistance, and social movements under the “right to the city” conceptual framework. Prior to embarking on her graduate studies, she worked in the academe and with child rights-based NGOs in the Philippines. For the Work at Sea project, Hazel is responsible for gathering and collating primary and secondary data on overseas fishery labour from the source country of the Philippines.


Elizabeth Havice
Associate Professor, Department of Geography
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Elizabeth Havice is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her research draws together development studies, environmental politics, and political economy to explore the multi-scalar intersections among states, firms, non-state organizations and nature in the global economy. She has been researching intersecting political economy, environmental and labour dimensions of the global tuna industry for 15 years. In addition to the Work at Sea project, her current projects include exploring ‘value’ in global value chains, dilemmas over property, territory and sovereignty in marine spaces and marine resource management, and the intersection between the big data revolution and oceans governance. She is building networks of scholars exploring resource geographies and contemporary and historical ocean frontiers. She also works in advisory roles for Pacific Island country governments and other not-for-profit groups interested in marine resources, value chain analysis, and economy–environment intersections more broadly. She also writes a bi-monthly publication, The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency Trade and Industry News, in which she regularly reports on work conditions aboard fishing vessels and emergent efforts to regulate these in the tuna sector.

Representative Publications:

  • Havice, E., M. Marschke, P. Vandergeest. 2020. ‘Industrial seafood systems in the immobilizing COVID-19 moment’, Agriculture and Human Values. Rapid Response Opinion Piece. 37(3).
  • Havice, E. and A. Zalik. 2018. ‘Ocean Frontiers: Epistemologies, juridictions, commodifications’, International Social Science Journal, 68 (229–230): 219–235.
  • Havice, E. 2018. ‘Unsettled sovereignty and the sea: Mobilities and more-than-territorial configurations of state power’, Annals of the American Association of Geographers. 108 (5): 1280–1297.
  • Campling, L. and E. Havice. 2018. ‘The global environmental politics and political economy of seafood systems’, Global Environmental Politics, 18(2): 72–92.
  • Havice, E. and L. Campling, 2017. ‘Where chain and environmental governance meet: Inter-firm strategies in the canned tuna global value chain’, Economic Geography, 93 (3): 292–313.
  • Foley, P. and E. Havice. 2016. ‘The rise of territorial eco-certifications: New politics of transnational sustainability governance in the fishery sector’. Geoforum, 69 (February): 24–33.


Carli Melo
Doctoral Candidate, Graduate Programme in Geography
York University

Carli Melo is a doctoral candidate in York University’s Graduate Programme in Geography. She holds a Master’s degree in Planning from the University of Toronto and an Honours Bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies from McGill University. Carli currently works as a research consultant with the Mekong Migration Network, researching and advocating for the rights of migrant workers across mainland Southeast Asia. Her doctoral research explores the impact of crises, in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic and 2021 Myanmar coup, on the inclusion and exclusion of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand’s seafood processing industry. To contribute to the Work at Sea project, Carli will conduct fieldwork in Thailand, interviewing migrant workers, worker support organizations, and other relevant stakeholders.


Philip F. Kelly
Professor, Department of Geography
Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University

Philip Kelly is an economic geographer whose research focuses on labour, migration and transnationalism. He has also contributed to debates concerning the structuring of the global economy through global production networks. His work has focused primarily on the Philippines and elsewhere in Southeast Asia as well as issues of labour and social mobility among immigrant communities in Canada. He is the co-author (with Neil Coe and Henry Yeung) of Economic Geography: A Contemporary Introduction (2020, Third Edition, Wiley-Blackwell); co-editor (with Preet Aulakh) of Mobilities of Labor and Capital in Asia (2020, Cambridge University Press); and editor of Migration, Agrarian Transition and Rural Change in Southeast Asia (2013, Routledge). In the Work at Sea project, Professor Kelly will have primary responsibility for coordinating research on seafood global production networks, and how these contribute to shaping labour relations, and he will supervise research in the migrant source area in the Philippines.


Mallory MacDonnell
Graduate Researcher
Doctoral Student, Graduate Programme in Geography
Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University

Mallory MacDonnell is currently based in Toronto, Canada, but grew up on the East Coast in Nova Scotia, and spent some time living in East Asia. She is a second-year doctoral student in the graduate programme in Geography at York University. She completed her BSc at Saint Francis Xavier University and her MSc at The University of New Brunswick, both in Biology. Her research interests are in Political Ecology and Critical Physical Geography, specifically around how marine species ecologies and gear technologies impact labour relations of fishery workers in Southeast and East Asia. As part of the Work at Sea project, my doctoral research will have a focus on ports in Taiwan and Thailand. Her research will centre around the mobility of fishing vessels and the mobility of fish, and if these factors can create uncertain and unpredictable working situations.


Melissa Marschke
Associate Professor, School of International Development and Global Studies
University of Ottawa

Melissa Marschke is Associate Professor at the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa. She is currently involved in research projects examining (a) work across the seafood sector, and (b) sand livelihoods. She is the author of Life, Fish and Mangroves: Resource Governance in Coastal Cambodia (University of Ottawa Press, 2012), and has published in various journals including Marine Policy, People & Nature, Antipode, International Migration, Journal of Rural Studies, and The Canadian Geographer.

Relevant Publications:

  • Knott, C. and M. Marschke. 2020. ‘Flagpoling: Inter-provincial mobility of international migrants within Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program’. International Migration, 1–16, DOI: 10.1111/imig.12713.
  • Marschke, M., D. Campbell, and D. Armitage. 2020. ‘Precarious livelihoods: Examining the intersection of fish work and ecological change in coastal Jamaica’. People and Nature, 1–11, DOI: 10.1002/pan3.10061 [Open Access].
  • Vandergeest, P. and M. Marschke. 2020. ‘Modern slavery and freedom: Exploring contradictions through labour scandals in the Thai fisheries’. Antipode, 1–25, DOI: 10.1111/anti.12575.
  • Belton, B., M. Marschke, and P. Vandergeest. 2019. ‘Fisheries development, labour and working conditions on Myanmar's marine resource frontier’. Journal of Rural Studies, 69 (July): 204–213, DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2019.05.007.
  • Marschke, M., C. Kehoe, and P. Vandergeest. 2018. ‘Migrant worker experiences in Atlantic Canadian fish processing plants’. The Canadian Geographer, 62(4): 482–493, DOI: 10.1111/cag.12466.
  • Kittinger, J. N., L. C. Teh, E. H. Allison, N. J. Bennett, L.B. Crowder, E. M. Finkbeiner, ... and J. Young. 2017. ‘Committing to socially responsible seafood’. Science, 356 (6341): 912–913, DOI: 10.1126/science.aam9969.
  • Vandergeest, P., O. Tran, and M. Marschke. 2017. ‘Modern day slavery in Thai fisheries: Academic critique, practical action’. Critical Asian Studies, 49 (3): 461–464, DOI: 10.1080/14672715.2017.1339465.
  • Marschke, M. and Vandergeest, P. 2016. ‘Slavery scandals: Unpacking labour challenges and policy responses within the off-shore fisheries sector’. Marine Policy, 68 (June): 39–46, DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2016.02.009 [Open Access].


Wendy Alejandra Medina de Loera
Graduate Researcher
Doctoral Candidate, Graduate Programme in Geography
Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University

Wendy Medina is an international doctoral candidate in Geography at York University. She holds a MA in Southeast Asian Studies from the Center for Asian and African Studies at El Colegio de México, in Mexico City. She is a YCAR Student Associate, and member of both Grupo de Estudios sobre Eurasia—GESE (Eurasia Studies Group) and the Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies—CCSEAS. She is also co-editor of the CCSEAS Newsletter. Her current research explores the ways in which sand mining in South Sulawesi, Indonesia (re) shapes the diversity of rural livelihoods in the area. In the Work at Sea project, she will consult media and social media in Indonesian to gather and organize information on Indonesian crewmen working on foreign fishing vessels, the recruitment agencies involved, and the organizations concerned with these fish workers.


Terence Rudolph
Graduate Researcher
Doctoral Candidate, Graduate Programme in Geography
Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University

Terence Rudolph is a doctoral candidate in the graduate programme in Geography at York University. He employs the automatic identification system (AIS) to illuminate a global geography of ships. His research is focused on migration and maritime rescue on the Mediterranean Sea. It employs geospatial technology to map the trajectories of commercial ships involved with rescuing migrants. To contribute to the Work at Sea project, on labour relations and working conditions among migrant workers in industrial fisheries, he will use AIS to track the movements of fishing vessels operated out of Taiwan and Thailand. Generally, his ongoing research interests include maritime geography, forced migration, and labour at sea.


Zhiming Sha
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Public Administration and Political Science, University of Ottawa

Zhiming Sha is a third-year student in Public Administration and Political Science at the University of Ottawa. Born and raised in East Asia, he has a deep understanding of Eastern Asian culture and how it shapes the activities of fishing industry and its stakeholders. He began working on this project in May 2021, and is particularly interested in its political and governance aspects. For the Work at Sea project, he is responsible for consolidating and visualizing research materials, preparing presentations, and updating the research database.


Peter Vandergeest
Principal Investigator
Professor, Department of Geography
Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University

Peter Vandergeest is Professor of Geography at York University. He has been conducting research on the making of Southeast Asian forests, food systems and fisheries for many years, with a long term engagement with Thailand as well as regional and comparative work. He works with a political ecology approach that starts with the direct resource user—farmers, fishers, gatherers and labourers—and locates what they do in multi-scale transformations in how these resources are re-made and governed. His current research builds on his recent work on the political ecology of labour relations, migration, and mobilities in Southeast and East Asia. In the Work at Sea project, he aims to build an approach to the study of labour relations and working conditions that starts with workers and their aspirations and experiences, and also builds relationships with worker support groups across the region. He will be responsible for project coordination, and conduct field research Taiwan, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries.

Past Researchers

Peter Duker
Graduate Researcher
Master’s Student, Graduate Programme in Geography
Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University

Peter Duker is a master’s student in Graduate Programme in Geography at York University, under the supervision of Peter Vandergeest. He has a background in environmental science and physics from Colorado College and started his graduate studies after six years as an educator in Thailand and Sierra Leone. His current research utilizes a political ecology approach to study the intersections of rural livelihoods, conservation and development in the context of inland fisheries. Specifically, he is looking at the establishment of riverine conservation areas by ethnic Karen communities in northwestern Thailand. While the fieldwork for his master’s thesis is delayed due to COVID-19, he will assist the Work at Sea project by gathering and analyzing information on the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on seafarers.

Ilinca Isopescu
Undergraduate Research Assistant
International Development and Globalization, University of Ottawa

Ilinca Isopescu is a fourth-year student in International Development and Globalization at the University of Ottawa, with a minor in Environmental Studies. She is particularly interested in the intersections between environmental challenges and development issues. She began working with Dr. Melissa Marschke on a research project examining labour conditions and the livelihoods of workers within the seafood sector. In the context of the Work at Sea project, her research will contribute to understanding the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of migrant fishermen across Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on Taiwan.