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Nicole Naar


  • 2007 B.S. Anthropology and Environmental Studies, Emory University
  • 2013 M.A. Anthropology, UC-Davis
  • 2014 Advanced to Candidacy, Anthropology, UC-Davis


Growing up in Florida, I wanted to be a marine biologist for my whole life until I started traveling the world and fell in love with anthropology. So now I’m an anthropologist who studies coastal communities. I am broadly interested in applying theories and methods from behavioral ecology and political ecology to better understand conservation and common-pool resource management. I'm in the midst of data entry, data analysis, and writing after two years of dissertation research in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Working with local fishermen, I collected ethnographic, survey, social network, and experimental games data with the goal of understanding how community diversity and immigration impact cooperation in the context of fisheries management. As part of my internship with NOAA Fisheries in Seattle, I am documenting traditional cultural and ecological knowledge about bull kelp and rockfishes, and their roles in indigenous subsistence systems. 

Adviser: Monique Borgerhoff Mulder

Artisanal fishermen harvest geoduck clam ( Panopea generosa) in Magdalena Bay.

Research Focus

Human behavioral ecology, political ecology, cultural ecology, Darwinian cultural evolution, common-pool resource management, conservation, artisanal fisheries, Baja California, Latin America

Selected Publications

  • 2016 Richerson PJ, Baldini R, Bell A, Demps K, Frost K, Hillis V, Mathew S, Naar N, Newson L, Newton EK, Ross C, Smaldino PE, Waring TM, Zefferman MR. Cultural group selection plays an essential role in explaining human cooperation: A sketch of the evidence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39: e30.
  • 2014 Naar, Nicole and Jairos Mahenge. Finding a middle ground: Conservation challenges among stakeholders in coastal Tanzania. Anthropology Today 30(1):9-14.


  • ANT 103: People and Conservation (Winter 2017)


  • NSF-Graduate Research Fellowship (2012-2017)
  • NSF-Graduate Research Internship, NOAA-Fisheries, Seattle, WA (2016)
  • NSF-Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (2014-2016)
  • SSRC-Mellon Mays Graduate Studies Enhancement Grant (2015, 2014, 2013)
  • UC-Davis Evolutionary Anthropology Summer Research Fellowship (2013, 2012)
  • UC-Davis Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship (2011-2013)