Stefania Asta Karsldottir


Growing up by the coast in Iceland where I spent much of my time exploring the nearby beaches in search for marine “treasures”, my interest in the ocean, and nature more generally, is very long-standing. Taking part in a reforestation project with my family as I grew older then sparked an interest in conservation, and I became determined to make a difference for nature in my future career. Gradually I realised that I wanted to do so through research aiming to address biodiversity loss in the ocean by developing solutions that deliver beneficial outcomes for both marine biodiversity and coastal communities.

Research Interests


I am particularly interested in research that uses interdisciplinary approaches to address biodiversity declines in marine habitats and can be used to inform policy and intervention methods. More specifically, I am currently focused on research aiming to address the negative impact of fisheries on marine ecosystems and finding ways to promote their recovery.

Current Research

The impact of humans’ growing demand for resources is particularly evident in marine ecosystems where it is driving biodiversity loss and negatively impacting ecosystem services critical to human societies, including fishery yields. Thus, to meet global biodiversity goals, it is critical to address biodiversity declines in marine habitats and promote recovery. Although net outcome policies for biodiversity are becoming widely used to support such goals in terrestrial systems, they have not yet been applied to mitigate and compensate for the full impact of fisheries and remain largely absent from fisheries management frameworks.

My research project will explore how principles of the mitigation hierarchy could be applied to mitigate and compensate for the total impact of fisheries on biodiversity, including on target stock, bycatch and the greater ecosystem, and become nature positive. I aim to develop a conceptual framework that will demonstrate how this could be done in theory, and use fishery case studies from the leading wild-capture fisheries certification programme, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), to illustrate how it would work in practice. Based on the results, I will outline the implications for fisheries, biodiversity and the MSC Fisheries Standard.

Brief CV


  • Research Assistant – Marine and Freshwater Institute of Iceland (2022)
  • Research Assistant – University of Oxford’s Bee Lab (2021)
  • Volunteer – Mt. Hekla Reforestation Project, Iceland (2009-2023)
  • Volunteer – Merazonia, Ecuador (2020)
  • Glacier Guide – Into the Glacier, Iceland (2019-2020)

Other experience:

  • President of Oxford Deep Blue (the Marine Biology & Conservation Society) (2023-2024)
  • Events Officer of Oxford University’s Vegetarian and Vegan Society (2021-2022)