Erica Towle: National Coral Reef Monitoring Program Coordinator

Erica Towle

Erica Towle: national coral reef monitoring program coordinator

Erica Towle: A Day in the Life Donut chart showing the typical work duties of Erica Towle, National Coral Reef Monitoring Program Coordinator. Managing and coordinating project teams Pink chart segment spanning 60% of the whole: the percentage of time managing and coordinating project teams. Leading projects Green chart segment spanning 25% of the whole: the percentage of time leading projects Serving on committees to collaborate with NOAA partners Blue chart segment spanning 15% of the whole: the percentage of time Serving on committees to collaborate with NOAA partners Daily Duties

Donut chart showing how Erica Towle, national coral reef monitoring program coordinator, spends her time.

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!”

  • Name: Erica Towle
  • Location: Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Education: Ph.D. in Marine Biology and Fisheries; B.S. in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
  • National Ocean Service Office: Coral Reef Conservation Program

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Last updated:
02/26/21

Author: NOAA

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