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Blue Carbon, Green Infrastructure, and Nature-Human Health Connections

Coastal ecosystems are some of the most threatened in the world. Rising temperatures and ocean acidification due to climate change, are concurrently impacting coastal ecosystems. Emerging research is determining that coastal ecosystems provide incredibly valuable climate change mitigation and adaptation benefits, as well as many important societal benefits. This presentation will cover some of this emerging research into the value of coastal wetlands as carbon sinks ("coastal wetland blue carbon"), the value of coastal ecosystems in providing wave attenuation and erosion risk reduction to help provide increased coastal resilience to flooding, as well as some of the recent research about the connections between nature and biodiversity exposure on human health. All of these cutting-edge research topics can inform policy and decision-making in coastal areas with the goal of improving environmental and human health.

Dr. Ariana Sutton-Grier
Dr. Ariana Sutton-Grier

Dr. Ariana Sutton-Grier is an ecosystem ecologist with expertise in wetland ecology and restoration, biodiversity, biogeochemistry, climate change, and ecosystem services. Dr. Sutton-Grier is a research faculty member at the University of Maryland in the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center and is also the Ecosystem Science Adviser for the National Ocean Service at NOAA.  She holds Honors Bachelor degrees from Oregon State University in Environmental Science and International Studies and a doctoral degree from Duke University in Ecology.  Her research interests include the relationships between nature/biodiversity and human health, coastal blue carbon, and natural and nature-based coastal resilience strategies.  A former Smithsonian Fellow and a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, Dr. Sutton-Grier also was recently selected as an Early Career Fellow by the Ecological Society of America and one of her papers won the ESA 2016 “Innovations in Sustainability Science” award. She gets especially excited about seeking and discovering innovative opportunities to combine science and policy to solve environmental problems and promote ecosystem conservation. Dr. Sutton-Grier has authored over 30 publications in many environmental and policy journals and her research has been featured in several news stories, as well as a children’s science TV show. For more information and links to Dr. Sutton-Grier’s research, teaching, and education and outreach activities, go to: http://suttongrier.org/