The National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) works with state, academic, and local partners to observe and evaluate the health of U.S. coral reef ecosystems. The program looks at biological, climatic, and socioeconomic factors to determine the health of coral ecosystems in the face of stresses from climate change.
In college, Erica got the chance to do field work on the Great Barrier Reef, an experience that inspired her to pursue a career in coral reef ecology and conservation. Once she’d gotten her Ph.D., she realized “if I really wanted to ‘make a difference’ with respect to conservation, I probably needed to know something about conservation policy.” Through a NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship, she worked on Capitol Hill for a year and also spent time learning how NOAA policy is made. She knew she wanted to find a position that used both her policy and science knowledge.
Now, Erica works with NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program. She says her role is her “dream job, where I get to blend science and policy.” She coordinates teams as they plan their projects, collect data, and share their results with partners and the public. She has particularly enjoyed working on NCRMP Status Reports, which are report cards for different U.S. coral reef ecosystems. Erica was happy to work on something for the general public and policy makers, saying “I’m really excited for people to see these reports!”