Join us for monthly webinars featuring project teams supported by the NERRS Science Collaborative. Speakers share their unique approaches to addressing current coastal and estuarine management issues. Learn about new methods to integrate technical experts and users of project outputs into the research process, and how their research results and products might inform your work.

Be sure to check back periodically for session recordings and other relevant products, or sign up (Mailing List | RSS) to receive notifications about new resources and upcoming webinars.

Upcoming Webinars

Past Webinars

Thu 2/3/2022, 3 - 4pm EST
Kaitlyn Dietz, Aimee Good, and Doug George

If you’ve ever developed a user-driven research proposal, you know it takes a lot of conversations, coordination, and iteration — not to mention significant investment of time and resources. Partnerships are the heart of the collaborative science approach, and success depends on assembling the right team to engage, understand, design, and deliver results to meet users’ needs. When getting started with a new collaborative science project, it’s important to commit the time and resources necessary to foster relationships among team members, end users, and other partners, establish mutual understanding, and ultimately create a shared vision for what you want to accomplish.

In this webinar, two speakers from the NERRS shared how their successful collaborative science efforts started. Speakers discussed how small grants helped them explore ideas with partners that sparked future projects, and the importance of getting together, understanding one another’s needs, and fostering relationships to do science that makes a difference.

Learn more about the speakers:

Kaitlyn Dietz, Collaboration Coordinator, GTM NERR

Kaitlyn Dietz is the collaboration coordinator at the GTM Research Reserve where she helps to translate science into application and action. Collaboratively, through a large network of local and regional partners, the GTM Research Reserve shares data, information, and expertise that allow stakeholders to quickly respond to changing local needs. Kaitlyn graduated from Georgia College and State University with a B.S. in biology and from Jacksonville University with a M.S. in marine science.  

Aimee Good, Coastal Training Program Coordinator, San Francisco Bay NERR

Aimee Good has over two decades of experience leading wetland and coastal training programs in the SF estuary. She finds any excuse to be out at reserve sites working with decision makers, stakeholders, partners and neighbors. Never one to shy away from new initiatives, her work ranges from adaptation planning & nature based solutions, wetland monitoring & delineation to migratory bird tracking.  


Doug George, NERRS Science Collaborative Program Manager, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Dr. Doug George is a geological oceanographer and the program manager for the NERRS Science Collaborative. He has worked throughout the West Coast as a federal scientist, state resource manager, and environmental consultant with projects ranging from estuary restoration and living shorelines to regional sediment management and climate change adaptation. Dr. George’s educational background includes a B.S in Oceanography from Humboldt State University, a M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, a M.Sc. in Oceanography from Dalhousie University and a Ph.D. in Hydrologic Sciences from the University of California, Davis.

Tue 12/7/2021, 2 - 3pm EST
Amanda Spivak, Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers, Giulio Mariotti, and Gabrielle Sakolsky

Parallel grid ditches were dug in approximately 90% of mid-Atlantic and New England salt marshes from the 1920s through the 1940s. Today, managers must navigate the effects of these past actions when making decisions about marsh hydrology and drainage that impact human health, ecosystem services, and marsh sustainability. Managers must also consider how stressors such as sea-level rise impact marshes. A team of scientists including staff from the Waquoit Bay Reserve in Massachusetts helped to address this challenge by working iteratively with coastal managers and restoration practitioners to develop a decision support tool for marsh hydrology management strategies that promote sustainability and continued delivery of valuable ecosystem services under future sea level rise scenarios.

In this webinar, the project team shares both the collaborative and technical aspects of their approach and the resultant Marsh Sustainability and Hydrology Decision Support Tool. The tool predicts potential outcomes of ditch and runnel maintenance in micro- and macro-tidal salt marshes under different scenarios of suspended sediment input and sea level rise.

Learn more about the speakers:

Amanda Spivak is an Associate Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at University of Georgia. Her research aims to refine the role of estuaries and wetlands in the global carbon cycle and predict the likelihood of ecosystem recovery from disturbances. She uses biogeochemical and ecological approaches to quantify carbon fluxes, transformations, and fates. As project and technical lead, Amanda coordinated the many aspects of the project including fieldwork and model development.
Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers is the Manager of Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Massachusetts. She has been working at the nexus of science and management for two decades and as part of her role at the Reserve leads engagement efforts to integrate stakeholders in research and planning processes related to coastal issues such as climate change, ecosystem services, coastal resilience, and water quality. As collaborative lead for this project, Tonna-Marie helped design and facilitate the team’s approach to engaging end users and being responsive to their needs in developing the decision support tool.
Giulio Mariotti is an Associate Professor in Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences. His research aims to understand and quantify the long-term morphological evolution of coastlines and their responses to global environmental changes, with particular interest in coupling physical and biochemical processes (ecogeomorphology). As co-technical lead for this project, Giulio led development of a mathematical model that helps predict the evolution of marsh properties based on various parameters.
Gabrielle Sakolsky is the Superintendent at the Cape Cod Mosquito Control Project, a key end user of products developed as part of this project. She has conducted and directed the mosquito arbovirus surveillance program in Barnstable County for CCMCP for the past 25 years. Gabrielle also serves as chair of the American Mosquito Control Association’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) committee and is past president of the Northeastern Mosquito Control Association.

Learn more about the project: Evaluating the Impact of Hydrologic Alterations on Salt Marsh Sustainability in a Changing Climate

Tue 11/30/2021, 2 - 3pm EST
Rachel Noble and Whitney Jenkins

Like many older towns along the east coast, Beaufort, North Carolina grew at a faster pace than its stormwater and wastewater infrastructure. Stormwater outfalls that discharge into coastal waters have detrimental impacts on human and ecosystem health, and stormwater runoff often results in elevated levels of pathogens and nutrients, which can lead to fishing and swimming closures, illnesses, and negative impacts on coastal ecosystems. To better understand the effects of stormwater, a project team based at the Rachel Carson component of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve used a comprehensive sampling regimen to gather quantitative information that helped them assess the effects of precipitation and tidal inundation on stormwater impacts, and identify sources of fecal contamination.

In this webinar, members of the project team discuss the technical and collaborative aspects of their approach, including the sampling regimen and how their engagement approach resulted in a decision-maker summit and citizen science app that fosters ongoing community engagement on stormwater issues.

Learn more about the speakers:

Dr. Rachel Noble is a land-water interface scientist who specializes in understanding the interactions between wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, coastal regions, and water quality, particularly in low lying coastal areas. Dr. Noble uses advanced molecular tools to understand the movement of microbial contaminants into coastal systems, and the risk associated with contaminants in recreational, drinking, and shellfish harvesting waters. Dr. Noble works with diverse stakeholder groups including municipalities, counties, and State, regional, and federal government to understand the interplay between contamination and remediation strategies. Dr. Noble has also devoted extensive attention to understanding flooding and resilience of coastal communities in the context of extreme events.
Whitney Jenkins has been the coordinator of the North Carolina Coastal Training Program since 2002. The goal of the program is to promote informed coastal decisions through science-based training for professionals. Training programs focus on sustainable development, water quality protection, and coastal hazards. Whitney is also responsible for developing and facilitating Collaborative Learning processes for groups such as the N.C. Sentinel Site Cooperative. Whitney has a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University and a B.S. from the University of Florida. Whitney is based at the Coastal Reserve’s headquarters in Beaufort, but coordinates training across North Carolina’s 20 coastal counties.

Learn more about the project: Collaborative Research to Manage Stormwater Impacts on Coastal Reserves

Wed 9/29/2021, 4 - 5pm EDT
David Sutherland, Emily Eidam, and Jenni Schmitt

Designated one of Oregon’s three “deep draft development” estuaries, the Coos estuary has many diverse users who share a need for better information about water and sediment flows through the estuary under current and future conditions. Working closely with the South Slough NERR and the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds, a local stakeholder group, researchers from the University of Oregon and the University of North Carolina helped to address some of these informational needs. The team collected new data, including the first bathymetric dataset to cover the entire Coos estuary, and developed a hydrodynamic model to better understand and predict estuarine water and sediment flows. They then worked with end users to develop data and modeling products of interest, including two perturbation experiments analyzing a proposed deepening and widening of the estuary’s main navigation channel.

In this webinar, members of the project team discuss the end-user engagement approach used in their collaborative research project, present highlights from the model experiments, and share observations from an examination of historic estuary conditions prior to human impacts.

Learn more about the speakers:

David Sutherland is a coastal physical oceanographer at the University of Oregon, studying estuarine dynamics in Oregon, as well as glacial fjords in Alaska and Greenland. Dave served as the project and collaborative lead, coordinating the many aspects of the project and end user engagement. He also co-led the technical elements, including fieldwork and model development.

Emily Eidam is a fluvial and coastal sedimentologist at University of North Carolina, studying sediment transport and accumulation in diverse environments (primarily in the Arctic). Emily began with the project as a postdoctoral scholar, contributing significantly to model development. She then transitioned to a co-PI when she moved to UNC.

Jenni Schmitt is the Watershed Monitoring Coordinator at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Her research interests include understanding wetland ecosystems with a focus on how climate change influences habitats and species. Jenni also organizes and chairs the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds, a collaborative stakeholder group whose members are currently working to guide improved estuary management by using tools such as the hydrodynamic model.

Thu 7/29/2021, 3 - 4pm EDT
Christine Angelini, Mike Langston, Eric Sparks, Jeanne Bloomberg, and Doug George

Collaborative science and the co-production of science involve working closely with partners at every stage - from conceptualizing a new project, to conducting the research, to refining tools to best meet a management need. The goal is to encourage mutually beneficial exchanges between researchers and resource managers. Essential to collaborative science is building relationships and engendering trust among the partners. NOAA’s NERRS Science Collaborative and RESTORE Science programs support collaborative science through funding and partnerships around protected and at-risk coastal and ocean areas.

This webinar, the first jointly hosted event between the NERRS Science Collaborative and RESTORE Science programs, featured a panel discussion among three contributors to the programs, highlighting important lessons learned and experiences on how to become effective co-producers of science.

The NOAA RESTORE Science Program was authorized by Congress in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to carry out research, observation, and monitoring to support the long-term sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, including its fisheries. The Science Program supports teams of resource managers and researchers committed to work together to produce science that helps answer the questions resource managers are facing.


Christine Angelini, Associate Professor in Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida

Christine Angelini is an Associate Professor in Environmental Engineering Sciences and Director of the UF Center for Coastal Solutions. She is an ecologist with expertise in wetland, reef and dune systems, and has participated in multiple collaborative research projects related to living shorelines, habitat restoration, and water quality as a project and technical lead. She received her PhD in Biology from the University of Florida in 2014 and her BSc in Marine Biology from Brown University in 2009.

Mike Langston, USGS Deputy Director, South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center

Dr. Mike Langston currently serves as the Deputy Director of the South Central CASC. In this role, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Center, conducting an annual actionable-science grants competition, incentivizing co-production of that research, and developing relationships with resource managers and other end users of the resulting information. When Dr. Langston isn’t working, he can be found weightlifting, fishing, backpacking and spending time with his wife, their five children, and ten grandchildren.

Eric Sparks, Director, Coastal and Marine Extension for Mississippi State University

Eric Sparks currently serves as the Director of Coastal and Marine Extension for Mississippi State University and dually as the Assistant Director of Outreach and Coastal Ecology Specialist for the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. In these roles he conducts a variety of research and extension activities across a variety of topics, but specializing in living shorelines, coastal ecology, marine debris, and environmental stewardship. He received a Ph.D. in Marine Sciences from the University of South Alabama/Dauphin Island Sea Lab in 2014 and a B.S. in Marine Biology from Troy University in 2008.


Doug George, NERRS Science Collaborative Program Manager, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Dr. Doug George is a geological oceanographer and the program manager for the NERRS Science Collaborative. He has worked throughout the West Coast as a federal scientist, state resource manager, and environmental consultant with projects ranging from estuary restoration and living shorelines to regional sediment management and climate change adaptation. Dr. George’s educational background includes a B.S in Oceanography from Humboldt State University, a M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, a M.Sc. in Oceanography from Dalhousie University and a Ph.D. in Hydrologic Sciences from the University of California, Davis.

Jeanne Bloomberg, National Academies Gulf Research Program Science Policy Fellow, NOAA RESTORE Science Program

Jeanne Bloomberg is a Science Policy Fellow with the National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program. She holds an M.S. in oceanography and coastal sciences from Louisiana State University and a B.S. in marine biology from Northeastern University, where she participated in the Three Seas Program. She is interested in continuing to work at the intersection of science and policy by bridging the gap in communication and research goals between science, management, and local communities.

Tue 6/29/2021, 2 - 3pm EDT
Jessica Brunacini, Edgar Guerron Orejuela, Marae Lindquist, and Chris Katalinas

The Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship is a two-year fellowship program that places one graduate student at each of the 29 national estuarine research reserves. Through a research project, fellows work with a mentor, fellow scientists, and local communities to address a key coastal management question to help scientists and communities understand coastal challenges that may influence future policy and management strategies. The fellowship includes networking opportunities and career-readiness training.

This webinar featured a panel discussion among fellows, highlighting their experiences and lessons learned working collaboratively with reserves and end users to design and complete their research.

Learn more about the Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship


Jessica Brunacini, Wells NERR, Michigan State University

Jessica’s research explores the social dimensions of climate change adaptation, including how people are connected to place and why that matters for decision-making. Her work seeks to build knowledge around effective approaches for broadening participation in policy and planning processes that respond to sea level rise.

Edgar Guerron Orejuela, Kachemak Bay NERR, University of South Florida

Edgar is an ecohydrologist with interest in natural resources management, vulnerability analysis, and decision-making. His research, broadly, focuses on understanding the influence that hydrological processes have on social-ecological systems, and the way anthropogenic actions affect these processes and systems.

Marae Lindquist, North Carolina NERR, University of North Carolina - Wilmington

Marae’s research strives to provide essential information for the management and conservation of vulnerable marsh birds in the face of sea level rise. To develop effective conservation plans, managers seek estimates of population dynamics and predictions of how sea level rise could influence habitats and bird populations; and so Marae is working to fill these knowledge gaps.


Chris Katalinas, Grants Specialist, Lynker at the NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Chris is employed by Lynker as a grants specialist at the NOAA Office for Coastal Management. In addition to supporting the office's grant programs, Chris delivers training opportunities on project design and evaluation, provides meeting facilitation services, and helps coordinate the Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship program.

Tue 5/25/2021, 3 - 4pm EDT
Dan Rogers, Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers, and Paraskevi (Vivian) Mara

Excess nitrogen in coastal waters can lead to a variety of problems, including algal blooms, fish kills and beach closures, but there aren’t easy solutions. In Massachusetts, towns along Cape Cod have been exploring the use of non-traditional methods for meeting nitrogen reduction requirements, such as establishing shellfish aquaculture operations in coastal waters. This webinar featured a recently completed research project that addressed critical information gaps identified by water quality managers and regulators - specifically the needs to quantify the nitrogen removal rates of commercial shellfish growing practices, and to identify best practices for siting and maintaining aquaculture operations that maximize benefits for water quality.

In partnership with the Town of Falmouth, the project team studied the microbial communities and measured nitrogen fluxes in the sediment below three popular systems for growing oysters. They found that all three growing systems increased rates of denitrification and enhanced nitrogen removal, but aquaculture projects need to be carefully sited for best results. To share their findings, the team developed a best practices guide for growers, an eight-part video series to help inform local and regional planning boards, and signs and a demonstration site to help school groups and reserve visitors learn more about shellfish aquaculture. To learn more, visit the project page.

Learn more about the speakers:

Dan Rogers, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Stonehill College

Dr. Daniel Rogers is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Stonehill College. His research focuses on biogeochemical cycling in coastal and deep-sea environments and the development of new tools to study biological activity. As project lead, Dan coordinated the team, supervised numerous students and conducted the chemical analyses including the measurement of nitrogen fluxes.

Learn more about Dan

Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers, Manager, Waquoit Bay NERR, MA

Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers is the manager of Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Massachusetts. She has over 15 years of experience connecting science with management and engaging stakeholders in research and planning processes. As collaborative lead for this project, Tonna-Marie facilitated a close connection with project end users and led the development of the video series.

Learn more about Waquoit Bay NERR

Paraskevi (Vivian) Mara, Research Associate, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Vivian Mara is a research associate at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she specializes in marine microbiology, gene expression and biogeochemistry in ocean water and marine sediments. For this project, Vivian led the field, lab and sequencing work for the genetic analyses and served as lead author for the article that summarized project findings and compared nitrogen removal processes for each of the aquaculture types. See: article in Frontiers in Marine Science.

Tue 4/27/2021, 2 - 3pm EDT
Coowe Walker and Mark Rains

In Alaska’s Kenai Lowlands, groundwater is key to healthy watersheds and resilient salmon, farms, and communities. Groundwater discharge provides important ecological services to salmon streams by moderating temperatures, maintaining stream flows, delivering nutrients, and creating overwintering habitat. To better understand the availability of groundwater and how human activities impact this resource, researchers at the Kachemak Bay Reserve and the University of South Florida built a predictive model that shows the depth and extent of aquifers and predicts groundwater discharge and recharge.

In this webinar, project team members shared how their findings generated new insight into groundwater in southern Kenai Lowland watersheds, and how their model revealed the precariousness of groundwater resources and the potential for competition among users. They discussed how engagement with stakeholders has increased awareness of the need to actively manage this limited resource, and how the community has begun to shift policies and practices to build toward more resilient groundwater resources.

Learn more about the speakers:

Coowe Walker, Manager, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Coowe has worked at the Kachemak Bay NERR as a watershed ecologist since the Reserve was designated in 1999, and has served as the reserve manager for three years. She has been leading efforts to understand ecosystem service values of coastal peatlands in the Kachemak Bay area that are important for salmon streams, and also represent potentially large stores of carbon.

Learn more about Kachemak Bay

Mark Rains, Professor, University of South Florida

Mark Rains is a Professor of Geology at the University of South Florida and the Chief Science Officer for the State of Florida. His research is focused on hydrological connectivity from ridges to reefs, especially between hill slopes, wetlands, and headwater streams; the roles that hydrological processes play in governing ecosystem structure and function; and the roles that science plays in informing water-related law, policy, and decision-making.

Learn more about Mark's work

Learn more about the project: Promoting Resilient Groundwater Resources and Holistic Watershed Management in the Southern Kenai Lowlands

Wed 3/31/2021, 3 - 4pm EDT
Y. Peter Sheng and Sarah Fernald

As coastal communities strive to safeguard themselves from increasing storm risks, they are looking for ways to maximize the protective powers of their natural features such as coastal wetlands. This project closely examined one marsh complex that lies adjacent to Piermont Village along the Hudson River Estuary in New York. Village residents wanted to better understand how Piermont Marsh would buffer their village from storm-induced flooding and waves, and whether a proposed plan to restore native cattails within a small area of the Phragmites-dominated marsh would lessen its buffering capacity.

In this webinar, two members of the project team explained how the team used state of the art modeling methods to simulate marsh vegetation and storm impacts produced by a series of past and future storm scenarios. By looking back at Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and projecting how much worse the damage could have been without the marsh, the research team was able to put a dollar value on Piermont Marsh’s buffering services. They shared key takeaways from the research and explained how the findings are informing planning for the marsh and shoreline infrastructure.

Learn more about the speakers:

Peter Sheng, Professor Emeritus and Adjunct Research Professor, University of Florida

Peter Sheng is an Emeritus Professor and Adjunct Research Professor of Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering at the University of Florida. Peter specializes in coastal hydrodynamic and bio-geochemical processes and multidisciplinary modeling. His recent interests include the impact of climate change on coastal inundation and understanding the role of coastal wetlands (marshes and mangroves) for buffering coastal communities from flood and wave damage. As project lead, Peter coordinated a team of multidisciplinary scientists and led the development and application of the surge-wave model and the economic loss model.

Learn more about Peter

Sarah Fernald, Research Coordinator, Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve

Sarah Fernald is a marine scientist and the research coordinator at the Hudson River NERR. She is responsible for managing long term monitoring and research at the reserve. For this project, Sarah worked with Peter to ensure that modeling scenarios aligned with proposed marsh management plans and the interests of Piermont Village stakeholders.

Learn more about Sarah's program

Learn more about project: Understanding the Role Coastal Marshes Play in Protecting Communities from Storm Surge and Flooding

Tue 2/23/2021, 3 - 4pm EST
Richard Lathrop, Lisa Auermuller, Kaitlin Gannon, and Dina Fonseca

As climate change and sea level rise alter salt marsh habitats, a less understood impact - with implications for human health - is how changes in marsh habitat affect the production and location of nuisance mosquito populations. Understanding how coastal ecosystems are being impacted by climate change, and how nuisance mosquito populations are changing, is critical to ensuring coastal managers make the most informed decisions going forward.

In this webinar, project team members described how data-collection, mapping, and modeling efforts have resulted in increased clarity about marsh habitat change to inform mosquito control and coastal restoration efforts in New Jersey. Future modeling and marsh-upland edge mapping suggest that the marsh-upland is and will be a hotspot for change, and field sampling confirmed that these “new” habitats can serve as breeding areas for mosquitoes. The team also developed environmental DNA (eDNA) assays for the most common salt marsh mosquitoes in the Middle Atlantic United States. Working closely with mosquito control agency personnel, the team has made major advancements in mosquito surveillance through the deployment of drone-based sampling of breeding pools paired with the eDNA analyses. The team also developed outreach materials to inform the public about health risks posed by mosquitoes, including how climate change might exacerbate those risks, and a module for middle/high school educators.

Learn more about the speakers:

Richard Lathrop, Professor, Director, Grant F. Walton Center for Remote Sensing & Spatial Analysis, Rutgers University

Rick Lathrop is a professor of ecology and watershed monitoring. His research focuses largely on water resources and providing coastal communities with scientific information and tools for decision making in the face of climate change and sea level rise. Rick served as the project lead, coordinating the many aspects of the project and leading the mapping and modeling elements.

Lisa Auermuller, Assistant Manager, Jacques Cousteau NERR

In her role at the Reserve, Lisa Auermuller's duties include assessing the needs of coastal decision makers and providing relevant and timely training opportunities. Lisa has been working with a variety of partners to develop tools and protocols to help communities understand their risks, plan for those risks and put adaptation measures into place. Lisa served as the collaborative lead for the project.

Kaitlin Gannon, Education Coordinator, Jacques Cousteau NERR

Kaitlin Gannon is the Education Coordinator for the JC NERR. She has extensive training in wildlife interpretation and conservation. Kaitlin supported outreach efforts for the project and developed the educational module for use in Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) trainings.

Dina Fonseca, Professor, Director, Center for Vector Biology, Rutgers University

Dina Fonseca is a molecular medical and veterinary entomologist. She primarily develops tools to reveal incipient infestations, identify which traits are associated with expansion and damage of invasive species, and optimize management strategies. Dina served as the project co-lead, coordinating the development of the mosquito eDNA assays.