Aireona Raschke
ASU Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD, Arizona State University



Dr. Aireona Bonnie Raschke is a research analyst working with the Conservation Solutions Lab in the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, and is also affiliated with the Conservation Innovation Lab. Her current research aims to uncover information about characteristics that make community engagement in conservation an effective tool for enhancing resident well-being and biodiversity health. Besides community engagement in conservation, Aireona is currently interested in researching interdisciplinary topics such as ecotourism and local ecological knowledge.

Her past work has covered a wide range of topics, all connected to biodiversity conservation. For her PhD, she examined social, economic, and conservation-related aspects of whale watching in the Caribbean in order to determine under what conditions this form of nature tourism can provide long-term benefits for local people and cetaceans. Before that, she worked on projects monitoring the endangered Mt. Graham Red squirrel population, examining invasive plants along Arizona’s roadways, and learning more about social insect communication and the import of polymorphism.

Postdoctoral fellow Elena Finkbeiner

Elena M. Finkbeiner
ASU-Conservation International
Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD, Biology, Stanford University
MEM, Coastal Environmental Management, Duke University
BS Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCSC

In general, my research explores how social-ecological systems can adapt and respond to change, and seeks to identify resource management and conservation approaches that can achieve both environmental sustainability and human wellbeing.  I use small-scale fisheries as my social-ecological study system, given their importance for global livelihood and food security, culture, and ecological sustainability. I draw from ecology, political science, anthropology, and economics, and use  a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods, including ethnographic techniques, analysis of fisheries catch data, and behavioral economic experiments. I think it is important to use applied, interdisciplinary science to improve our understanding of how we can increase both social wellbeing and ecological sustainability in the face of increasing uncertainties and threats that global fisheries face.

Research Interests

  • Self-organization, resilience, and adaptive capacity in social-ecological systems
  • Small-scale fisheries governance
  • Role of diversification in fisheries
  • Environmental entitlements and access
  • Solution-based science
  • Human rights and social justice considerations in natural resource management and conservation

Curriculum Vitae

Headshot of postdoctoral fellow Gwen IaconaGwen Iacona
Postdoctoral Research Associate

PhD, University of Tennessee
MS, University of Florida



Dr. Gwen Iacona is an applied conservation scientist who uses quantitative and empirical approaches to understand how biodiversity outcomes can be improved by better decision making. Her current work aims to improve endangered species recovery by better understanding the risks and costs associated with recovery planning. Gwen specializes in using theoretical tools to study how the costs of conservation interventions influence the choice of actions and the resulting outcomes for conservation agencies. Past projects include predicting invasive plant cover, modelling protected area effectiveness, and prioritizing conservation action. Gwen currently is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes at Arizona State University where she is working with Professor Leah Gerber. She has a PhD from the University of Tennessee, where she studied with Professor Paul Armsworth, and an MS from the University of Florida.

Postdoctoral fellow Krista KemppinenKrista Kemppinen
ASU-Conservation International Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD, University of Cambridge, 2017
BA (Hons), University of Cambridge, 2011


Krista Kemppinen is an ASU-CI postdoctoral fellow working on the role of nature in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Her research articulates and quantifies the degree of dependence of the SDGs and associated targets on natural capital, and investigates the trade-offs between individual goals and targets. Through this research, Kemppinen aims to inform national and global scale policy interventions.

Prior to coming to ASU, Kemppinen was a PhD candidate, and before this an undergraduate student, at the University of Cambridge. The focus of her PhD thesis was to investigate the causes of past atmospheric CO2 fluctuations by designing and executing Earth System Model experiments on the Cambridge HPC Cluster, conducting statistical analyses of the model outputs, evaluating these against observations, and building computationally cheap model surrogates. For her Bachelor’s, Kemppinen specialised in the environmental science disciplines as well as conservation and sustainable development.

Kemppinen has worked in different countries and sectors, including:  the Indian Himalayas, where she looked at the impact  of measures introduced to reduce water scarcity and achieve energy security; Southern Italy, where she investigated volcanic aerosol emissions; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Helsinki, where she worked on ocean methane emissions. Kemppinen has native proficiency in English, French, Spanish and Finnish.

In her spare time, Kemppinen is a Carbon Pricing Evaluation Support Fellow for MIT’s Climate CoLab. She is also passionate about science communication and facilitating the exchange of scientific information. Organisations she has previously volunteered with include the Cambridge Climate and Sustainability Forum, the Wolfson Research Event and a new UK-based social networking start up aiming to advance scientific collaborations.