Between Conservation and Ecotourism: Marielle Abalo advances her Research in Germany

Marielle Abalo, a first-year Biology and Society PhD student, recently took advantage of a CBS funded conference trip to advance her research. As part of the 4E (Ecology, Economics, and Ethics of the Environment) track, Abalo conducts research at the intersection of animal conservation and ecology and human dimensions of nature (ecotourism perceptions and willingness to pay under different conservation scenarios).

While initially in Germany for a collaborative conference dedicated to aspects of cognition, behavior, and modelling approaches at the Interdisciplinary College, Abalo learned of an additional tourism convention taking place the same week in Germany.  The ITB tourism convention included exhibitors ranging from well-seasoned tourism operations and operations to fledgling and beginning tourism sectors and entrepreneurship. 

Armed with a list of relevant company exhibitors whose input could potentially make a great impact on her research, Abalo was able to adjust her conference trip to also visit ITB and to meet with potential tourism industry research participants. The visit was highly productive and allowed important networking and face-to-face conversations with tourism companies working in the geographic locations of her research.

Through a single trip to Germany, Abalo was able to advance both the ecological and social aspects of her research and to move her dissertation significantly forward. She is now developing the connections and potential collaborations stemming from both conventions in Germany, and is looking forward to formulating a project to find common ground between conservation goals and ecotourism.

More Information: Marielle Abalo (