Zelin Chen

Zelin Chen


My academic background is marine biology, with enthusiasm on aquatic fisheries science and management. I obtained my bachelor of Marine Resource and Environment in Ocean University of China in 2017 and master of Marine Affairs in University of Washington in 2019. I am interested in statistical approaches in the fisheries management. My undergraduate thesis applied numerical models and related factors to project fisheries catches and biomass. My graduate thesis analysed a crab fishery using data-limited toolkits to provide recommendations for the policy-makers.

I started my journey of marine biology with hands-on experiments in the intertidal zones and multiple field surveys on oceanographic conditions and marine fish species sampling. My biology background broadens toward marine affairs when I have a research opportunity working with WorldFish and School of Aquatic Fishery Science to study aquatic source of nutrients and its potential of improving nutritious levels. The intersection of marine policy and fisheries science engaged me with a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) on China’s swimming crab fishery. It triggered my interest by viewing social-ecological-economic components in a fishery system. Now I am working at a national oceanography institute to study the diversity pattern of plankton communities at the Daya Bay.

Zelin Chen

PhD title: Environmental Drivers of Food Web Structure and Energy Flux in Marine Ecosystem

Global climate change and anthropogenic activities have significantly influenced the structure and stability of marine ecosystems in the North Sea, Atlantic Ocean. The typical examples are commercial fishing and the installation of man-made structures such as oil and gas platforms, pipelines, and offshore wind turbines. Recent efforts have been made to apply ecosystem-based management strategies to promote sustainable management of marine resources. However, the impacts of these anthropogenic stressors on the local and regional marine ecosystem, particular from the perspective of food web system, have little available studies, leaving a knowledge gap for well-informed policy decisions. This Ph.D. project will aim to determine the major drivers of trophic complexity and body size/biomass distributions in the North Sea marine ecosystem, with focus on quantifying changes in food web structure and energy flux to functional groups along large-scale environmental gradients. The proposed analysis based on modelling food web and interactions across ecosystem components are at the cutting edge of current research and will offer exciting new insights into the fate of North Sea marine ecosystem in the face of global climate change. The study will also provide multiple measures of ecological stability regarding vulnerable species, which will be conductive to more effective ecosystem-based advice.


    Koehn, J. Z., Allison, E. H., Villeda, K., Chen, Z., Nixon, M., Crigler, E., Zhao, L., Chow, M., Vaitla, B., Thilsted, S. H., Scholtens, J., Hicks, C. C., & Andrew, N. (2021). Fishing for health: Do the world’s national policies for fisheries and aquaculture align with those for nutrition? Fish and Fisheries, 00, 1– 18. https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12603.

    Yu, Y., Sun, P., Cui, H., Sheng, H., Zhao, F., Tang, Y., & Chen, Z. (2015). Effects of trawl selectivity and genetic parameters on fish body length under long-term trawling. Journal of Ocean University of China, 14(5), 835-840..


  • IMBeR Future Oceans2 Conference poster and presentation in the “Modelling social-ecological systems: methods and tools for scenario development and prediction” session. Presentation title: “A fishery system approach using socio-ecological model: a case study of Fujian swimming crab fishery in China”. June, 2019. Brest, France.

Awards and prizes

  • China Scholarship Council (CSC) Postgraduate Ph.D. Fellowship in 2020
  • Wendy Graham Endowed & College of the Environment (CoEnv) Conference & WHOI Ocean Carbon Geochemistry (OCG) scholarships in 2019
  • Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) student research grant in 2018


Other information

China Team Intern at the Ocean Outcomes

Administered the organization’s Fujian Red Swimming Crab Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) through Marine Stewardship Council research scholarship program. Independently conducted field investigations in Fujian, collected qualitative and quantitative social-biological fisheries data and implemented data analysis.

Research assistant at the China Blue Sustainability Institute

Assisted in the establishment of the organization’s Chinese seafood sustainability database (iFISH). Grade-evaluated over 60 aquatic products based on research literature, China fisheries yearbooks, and food safety reports. Results were contributed to China Blue Sub-forum of Qingdao’s Sustainable Seafood Forum in November 2016.