Asst. Prof. Peter Mackelworth, PhD


Conservation Director, Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation
Department of Biodiversity, Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies, University of Primorska


Asst. Prof. Peter Mackelworth is a social scientist and conservation biologist with expertise in two main fields; the marine policy-research interface, with particular interest in human dimensions of conservation and decision-making; and, the legal, political and socio-economic process facilitating marine transboundary conservation, with particular interest in the use of soft law mechanisms to integrate with maritime spatial planning.


  • Ph.D. – University College London, Department of Geography. 2007. Dissertation title: Convergence of Marine Protected Area Policy with Common Pool Resource Theory, a Case Study: Lošinj Dolphin Reserve, Croatia.
  • M.Sc. – Heriot-Watt University, Department of Offshore Engineering. 1998. Thesis title: A Review of the Factors Affecting the Proposed Cres-Lošinj Marine Park, with Particular Reference to the Recreational Diving Industry.
  • B.Sc. - University of Wolverhampton, Department of Environmental Science. 1990.

Adjunct appointments

  • University of Primorska, Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies, Koper, Slovenia
  • Bowdoin College, Maine, U.S.

Classes taught

  • Human Dimensions of Conservation (University of Primorska, Slovenia)
  • Marine Protected Areas (University of Primorska, Slovenia)
  • Marine Conservation Biology (University of Primorska, Slovenia)
  • Marine Protected Areas: a Social Phenomenon (Bowdoin College, Maine, U.S.)

Selected references

Mackelworth, P., ed., (2016) Marine Transboundary Conservation and Protected Areas. Routledge, London and New York. Pp.314. ISBN: 978-1-13-885113-9.

Picciulin, M., Sebastianutto, L., Fortuna, C.M., Mackelworth, P., Holcer, D. & Rako Gospić, N. (2016). Are the 1/3-Octave Band 63-and 125-Hz Noise Levels Predictive of Vessel Activity? The Case in the Cres–Lošinj Archipelago (Northern Adriatic Sea, Croatia). The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life II, pp 821-828.

Katsanevakis, S., Levin, N., Coll, M., Giakoumi, S. Shkedig, D., Mackelworth, P., Levy, R., Velegrakis, A.,  Koutsoubas, D., Caric, H., Brokovich, E., Ozturk, B. & Kark, S. (2015) Marine conservation challenges in an era of economic crisis and geopolitical instability: The case of the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Policy, 51: 31-39.

Gaspari, S., Holcer, D., Mackelworth, P., Fortuna, C., Frantzis, A., Genov, T., Vighi, M., Natali, C., Rako, N., Banchi, E., Chelazzi, G. and Ciofi, C. (2015). Population genetic structure of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Adriatic Sea and contiguous regions: implications for international conservation. Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst., 25: 212–222.

Carić, H. & Mackelworth, P. (2014). Cruise tourism environmental impacts – the perspective from the Adriatic sea. Ocean and Coastal Management, 102: 350-363.

Batel, A., Basta, J. & Mackelworth, P. (2014). Valuing visitor willingness to pay for marine conservation – the case of the proposed Cres-Lošinj Marine Protected Area, Croatia. Ocean and Coastal Management, 95: 72-80.

Fortuna, C. M., Kell, L., Holcer, D., Canese, S., Filidei, E., Mackelworth, P., Donovan, G. (2014). Summer distribution and abundance of the giant devil ray (Mobula mobular) in the Adriatic Sea: baseline data for an iterative management framework. Scientia Marina, 78(2).

Mackelworth, P., Holcer, D.  & Fortuna, C.M. (2013). Unbalanced governance: the Cres-Lošinj Special Marine Reserve, a missed conservation opportunity. Marine Policy, 41: 126–133.

Mackelworth, P., Holcer, D. & Lazar, B. (2013). Using conservation as a tool to resolve conflict, establishing the Piran Savudrija International Marine Peace Park. Marine Policy 39: 112–119.

Becker, E., Pavlovic, A., Nemet, S. & Mackelworth, P. (2013). Legal Issues Concerning the Cres-Lošinj Marine Habitat and Protected Area Legislation in Croatia. Environs, UC Davis, Environmental Law and Policy Journal 37(1): 1-24.

Pleslić, G., Rako. N., Mackelworth, P., Wiemann, A., Holcer, D. & Fortuna, C. (2013). The abundance of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the former marine protected area of the Cres-Lošinj Archipelago. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 25: 125–137.

Micheli, F., Levin, N., Giakoumi, S., Katsanevakis, S., Abdulla, A., Coll, M., Fraschetti, S., Kark, S., Koutsoubas, D., Mackelworth, P., Maiorano, L. & Possingham, H. (2013). Setting priorities for regional conservation planning in the Mediterranean Sea. PLoS One, 04/2013; 8(4):e59038. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0059038.

Rako, N., Picciulin, M., Fortuna, C.M., Nimak-Wood, M., Mackelworth, P., Pleslić, G., Holcer, D., Wiemann, A., Sebastianutto, L. & Vilibić, I. (2013). Leisure boating noise as a trigger for the displacement of the bottlenose dolphins of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago (northern Adriatic Sea, Croatia). Marine Pollution Bulletin, 68(1–2): 77–84.

Holcer, D., Lazar, B., Mackelworth, P. & Fortuna, C.M. (2013). Rare or just unknown? The occurrence of the giant devil ray (Mobula mobular) in the Adriatic Sea. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 29(1):138-144. Doi: 10.1111/jai.12034.

Mackelworth, P. (2012). Peace parks and transboundary initiatives: implications for marine conservation and spatial planning. Conservation Letters 5: 90-98.

Rako, N., Picculin, M., Mackelworth, P., Holcer, D. & Fortuna, C.M. (2012). Long-Term Monitoring of Anthropogenic Noise and Its Relationship to Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Distribution in the Cres–Lošinj Archipelago, Northern Adriatic, Croatia. In: Popper, A. & Hawkins, A. (eds.). The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 730, DOI 10.1007. Pp 323-325.

Mackelworth, P., Holcer, D., Jovanović, J. & Fortuna, C. (2011). Marine conservation and accession, the future for the Croatian Adriatic. Environmental Management, 47(4): 644-655.

Mackelworth, P. & Carić, H. (2010). Gatekeepers of Island Communities - Exploring the Pillars of Sustainable Development. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 12(4): 463-480.