Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Discovery Lecture Series

Friday, June 1, 2018
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Dr. Christine Whitcraft, California State University, Long Beach

Designing solutions to restore wetlands in a time of change

Salt marshes, a type of wetland, are highly productive and important ecosystems along our coast. Despite their importance, human activities through time, such as development and pollution, have reduced wetland area and degraded wetland conditions. Here in California, we estimate that approximately 90% of our coastal wetlands have been lost. Habitat restoration has been a strategy employed to combat this loss and improve functioning of coastal salt marshes. However, climate change predictions indicate that sea level rise and increasing temperatures will have a profound impact on these coastal salt marshes. The research in our Wetland Ecology Laboratory focuses on understanding how human activities, including development and climate change, impact salt marshes and how we can successfully protect and restore these valuable ecosystems in the future.

Christine Whitcraft is currently an associate professor in the Biology Department at CSU Long Beach. She earned her B.A. in Biology from Williams College in Massachusetts and her Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Her main research interest is in the functioning of coastal wetlands and estuarine communities from a multi-disciplinary perspective including plant, algae, and benthic invertebrate biodiversity, food web structure, physical environmental parameters, and recently economic perspectives. She teaches a range of ecology classes within the department including Wetland Ecology, Plant Ecology, and Conservation Biology. Outside of research, Christine still canít get enough of wetlands and serves as the President of a local non-profit, Friends of Colorado Lagoon and on the board of the Bolsa Chica Conservancy.

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