Loren E. McClenachan

Elizabeth and Lee Ainslie Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

Office: Diamond 208 [ campus map ]
Box 5351

Phone: 207-859-5351
Fax: 207-859-5369
Mailing Address:
5351 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, Maine 04901-8853
McClenachan, Loren E.


2009, Ph.D. Marine Biology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego
2003, M.S. Environmental Studies, University of Oregon
1998, B.A. Environmental Studies, Middlebury College (magna cum laude)

Areas of Expertise

  • Historical ecology and the applied use of baselines
  • Fisheries conservation
  • Marine extinction risk and consequences

Current Research

I am a marine ecologist interested in long term changes to marine animal populations. My research focuses on historical ecology and the applied use of baselines, fisheries conservation, and marine extinction risk and consequences. I aim to quantify ecological change and identify conservation success over centuries and across large geographic areas in order to halt declines and promote recovery of marine animals and ecosystems.


*undergraduate student co-author

41. O’Hara J, L McClenachan. 2019. Factors influencing ‘Sea to School’ purchases of local seafood products. Marine Policy 100: 76-82.

40. Lovell S*, AE Johnson, R Ramdeen, L McClenachan. 2018. Shifted baselines and the policy placebo effect in conservation. Oryx, 1-9.

39. O’Hara J, L McClenachan. 2018. Missing the boat? Measuring and evaluating local groundfish purchases by New England institutions. Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics 5:2.

38. McClenachan L, R Matsuura*, P Shah, STM Dissanayake. 2018. Shifted baselines reduce willingness to pay for conservation. Frontiers in Marine Science 5:1-9.

37. Al-Abdulrazzak D, G Galland, L McClenachan, J Hocevar. 2017. Opportunities for improving global marine conservation through multilateral treaties. Marine Policy 86: 247-252

36. McClenachan, L. *G. O'Connor, B.P. Neal, J. Pandolfi, and J.B.C. Jackson. Ghost reefs: Nautical charts document large spatial scale of coral reef loss over 240 years. Science Advances 3: e1603155.

35. Kittinger, J. .... L. McClenachan... et al. (33 authors). 2017. Committing to socially responsible seafood. Science 356: 912-913.

34. Beller, E., L. McClenachan, A. Trant, E.W. Sanderson, J. Rhemtulla, A. Guerrini, R. Grossinger, and E. Higgs. 2017. Toward principles of historical ecology. American Journal of Botany 104: 645-648.

33. Drew, J., *E.H. Lopez, *L. Gill, *M. McKeon, *N. Miller, *M. Steinberg, *C. Shen, and L. McClenachan. 2016. Collateral damage to marine and terrestrial ecosystems from Yankee whaling in the 19th century. Ecology and Evolution 6: 8181-8192.

32. McClenachan, L. A.B. Cooper, and N.K. Dulvy. 2016. Rethinking trade driven extinction risk in marine and terrestrial megafauna. Current Biology 26: 1640-1646.

31. McClenachan, L., S.T.M. Dissanayake, and *X. Chen. 2016. Fair trade fish: consumer support for broader seafood sustainability. Fish and Fisheries 17: 825-838.

30. Thurstan, R.H., L. McClenachan, L.B. Crowder, J.A., Drew, J.N. Kittinger, P.S. Levin, C.M. Roberts, J.M. Pandolfi. 2015. Filling historical data gaps to foster solutions in marine conservation. Ocean and Coastal Management 115: 31-40.

29. McClenachan, L. A.B. Cooper, M.J. Hardt, M. McKenzie, and J. Drew. 2016. The conservation implication of omitting historical data sources. Conservation Biology 30:1640-1646.

28. McClenachan, L. A.B. Cooper, M. McKenzie, and J. Drew. 2015. The importance of surprising results and best practices in historical ecology. BioScience 65: 932-939.

27. Jacquet, J., J. Estes, J. Jackson, A.E. Johnson, N. Knowlton, L. McClenachan, D. Pauly, and E. Sala. 2015. Ocean calamities: Hyped litany or legitimate concern? BioScience 65: 745-746.

26. McClenachan, L., *S. Lovell, *C. Keaveney. 2015. Social benefits of restoring historical ecosystems and fisheries: Alewives in Maine. Ecology and Society 20: 31.

25. *Witkin, T., S. Dissanayake, and L. McClenachan. 2015. Opportunities and barriers for fisheries diversification: Consumer choice in New England. Fisheries Research, 168: 56-62.

24. McClenachan, L. 2015. Extinction risk in reef fishes. In Mora, C. (ed) Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs. Cambridge University Press.

23. McClenachan, L., *G. O'Connor, and T. Reynolds. 2015. Adaptive capacity of co-management systems in the face of environmental change: The soft-shell clam fishery and invasive green crabs in Maine. Marine Policy 52: 26-32.

22. Kittinger, J., L. McClenachan, L. Blight, and K. Gedyn (Editors). 2014. Applying Marine Historical Ecology to Conservation and Management: Using the Past to Manage for the Future. University of California Press.

21. McClenachan, L., B.P. Neal., D. Al-Abdulrazzak, *T. Witkin, K. Fisher, and J.N. Kittinger. 2014. Do community supported fisheries (CSFs) improve sustainability? Fisheries Research 157: 62-69.

20. Lotze, H. and L. McClenachan. 2014. Historical ecology: Informing the future by learning from the past. In Bertness M, B. Silliman, J Bruno, J, Stachowicz (eds) Marine Community Ecology and Conservation. Sinauer Press.

19. Van Houtan, K.S., L. McClenachan, and J.N.Kittinger. 2013. Seafood menus reflect long-term ocean change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11: 289–290.

18. Kittinger, J.N., K.S. Van Houtan, L. McClenachan, and A.L. Lawrence. 2013. Using historical data to assess the biogeography of population recovery. Ecography 36: 868-872.

17. McClenachan, L. 2013. Recreation and the "Right to Fish" movement: Anglers and ecological degradation in the Florida Keys. Environmental History 18: 76-87.

16. McClenachan, L. and J. Kittinger. 2013. Multicentury trends and the sustainability of coral reef fisheries in Hawaii and the Florida Keys. Fish and Fisheries 14: 239-255.

15. McClenachan, L., F. Ferretti, and J.K. Baum. 2012. From archives to conservation: why historical data are needed to set baselines for marine animals and ecosystems. Conservation Letters 5: 349-359 .
Recommended on Faculty of 1000 by Ruth Thurston and John Pandolfi.

14. McClenachan, L., A. Cooper, K. Carpenter, and N. Dulvy. 2012. Extinction risk and bottlenecks in the conservation of charismatic species. Conservation Letters 5: 73-80.

13. Kittinger, J. N., J. M. Pandolfi, J. H. Blodgett, T. L. Hunt, K. Maly, L.McClenachan, J. K. Schultz, and B. A. Wilcox. 2011. Historical reconstruction reveals recovery in Hawaiian coral reefs. PLoS ONE 6(10).

12. McClenachan, L., M. Hardt, J. Jackson, and R. Cooke. 2010. Mounting evidence for historical overfishing and long-term degradation of Caribbean marine ecosystems. The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology. 5: 165-169.

11. Ward-Paige, C., C. Mora, H.K Lotze, C. Pattengill-Semmens, L. McClenachan, E. Arias-Castro, R.A. Myers. 2010. Large-scale absence of sharks on reefs in the greater-Caribbean: a footprint of human pressures. PLoS ONE 5(8): e11968.

10. McClenachan, L. 2009. Documenting loss of large trophy fish from the Florida Keys with historical photographs. Conservation Biology 23:636-643.

9. McClenachan, L. 2009. Historical declines in south Florida, USA goliath grouper populations. Endangered Species Research 7:175-181.

8. Jackson, J.B.C. and L. McClenachan. 2009. Historical ecology for the paleontologist. Conservation Paleobiology: Using the Past to Manage for the Future. G.P. Dietl & K.W. Flessa, Editors. Paleontological Society Papers v.15. PRI, Ithaca, NY.

7. McClenachan, L. and A. Cooper. 2008. Extinction rate, historical population structure and ecological role of the Caribbean monk seal. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 275: 1351-1358.
Recommended on Faculty of 1000 by J. Emmett Duffy.

6. McClenachan, L. 2008. Social conflict, overfishing and disease in the Florida sponge fishery, 1849-1939. Chapter 3 In: Oceans Past: Management Insights from the History of Marine Animal Populations. D. Starkey, Editor. Earthscan Publications Limited, London.

5. Donahue, S. A. Acosta, L. Akins, J. Ault, J. Bohnsack, J. Boyer, M. Callahan, B. Causey, C. Cox, J. Delaney, G. Delgado, K. Edwards, G. Garrett, B. Keller, T. Kellison, V. Leeworthy, L. MacLaughlin, L. McClenachan, M. Miller, S.Miller, K. Ritchie, S. Rohmann, D. Santavy, C. Pattengill-Semmens, B. Sniffen, S. Werndli, D. Williams. 2008. The state of coral reef ecosystems of the Florida Keys. Pages 161-188 in: NOAA Technical Report. The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the US and Pacific Freely Associated States .

4. McClenachan, L., M. Newman, and G. Paredes. 2007. Florida Keys coral reef fish communities, then and now. Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Proceedings, 59: 1-8.

3. McClenachan, L., J.B.C. Jackson, and M.J.H.Newman. 2006. Conservation implications of historic sea turtle nesting beach loss. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 4: 290-296.

2. Pandolfi, J.M., R.H. Bradbury, E. Sala, T.P. Hughes, K.A. Bjorndal, R.G. Cooke, D. McArdle, L. McClenachan, M.J.H. Newman, G. Paredes, R.R. Warner, and J.B.C. Jackson. 2003. Global trajectories of the long-term decline of coral reef ecosystems. Science 301:955-958.
Recommended on Faculty of 1000 by Fiorenza Micheli

1. Olson, D.M., E. Dinerstein, R. Abell, T. Allnut, C. Carpenter, L. McClenachan, J. D’Amico, P. Hurley, K.Kassen, H. Strand, M. Taye, and M. Thieme. 2000. The Global 200: A Representation Approach to Conserving the Earth’s Distinctive Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC.


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