Distinguished scientists and managers from around the world will be joining us during WSC22 & ISBW14 sessions and plenaries. See below for more information.
Rich Batiuk, Co-Founder of CoastWise Partners
Rich Batiuk is a Co-founder of Coastwise Partners and spent more than three decades with U.S. EPA and the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership, where he led the integration of science into multi-partner collaborative decision-making. He was the principal architect of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, a groundbreaking pollutant accountability system spanning six states and the District of Columbia. Rich has led the development and expansion of one of the world's most comprehensive estuarine and watershed monitoring networks, designed to assess an array of water quality standards, environmental indicators and outcomes directly linked to management.
Rich will be giving the Chesapeake Bay Plenary on Monday morning, 8 August.
Brooke Landry, Chair, Chesapeake Bay Program's SAV Workgroup and Biologist at Maryland's Department of Natural Resources
Brooke is an SAV ecologist at Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources and Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Workgroup. Her work spans the gamut from SAV research – focused primarily on anthropogenic drivers of SAV dynamics - to restoration, monitoring, outreach, and management. She runs Chesapeake Bay SAV Watchers, a volunteer-based SAV monitoring program and will soon launch a second, sentinel-site monitoring program for Chesapeake Bay SAV. On the management front, Brooke leads the development and implementation of the Bay Program’s SAV Management Strategy and biennial workplans by translating her own research and that of partners and collaborators into actionable approaches to SAV conservation and recovery. Additional interests include social marketing as a means of environmental outreach and the advancement of women’s roles in science and management through positive collaborations and mentoring.
Brooke will present during the Chesapeake Bay Partnership and Collaboration Invited Speaker Session on Monday morning, 8 August.
Carin Bisland, Branch Chief, Partnerships and Accountability Branch, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Carin is responsible for coordinating federal, state and local actions to improve water quality, habitat and living resource conditions in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers. Some of the responsibilities of her team include coordination within and between Chesapeake Bay Program partner teams and committees, development of decision support tools to allow for adaptive management, the development and use of indicators and performance measures, and ongoing support for the Federal Office Directors.
Carin will present during the Chesapeake Bay Partnership and Collaboration Invited Speaker Session on Monday morning, 8 August.
Denice Wardrop, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Research Consortium
Denice Heller Wardrop was one of the first Systems Engineers to graduate from the University of Virginia, which she followed with an MS in Environmental Sciences from the same institution. She practiced as a consulting environmental engineer for over a decade before moving to State College PA, embracing football as well as basketball, and finishing a PhD in Ecology at Penn State. In addition to her role as Executive Director of the Chesapeake Research Consortium, she is a Research Professor of Geography and Ecology. Her discovery areas are wetlands of all kinds and landscape ecology, and she works a great deal on how human activities impact the ability of natural systems to provide ecosystem services. Her favorite teaching activity involves escorting multi-disciplinary teams of students to Peru, and helping them unpack the UN Sustainable Development Goals to find a focus to their work. She serves on science committees that advise both the Chesapeake Bay and Everglades restoration efforts, and passionately supports humans and aquatic systems finding ways to bring out the best in each other.
Denice will present during the Chesapeake Bay Partnership and Collaboration Invited Speaker Session on Monday morning, 8 August.
Jana Davis, President Chesapeake Bay Trust
Dr. Jana Davis is the President of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, overseeing its work on watershed restoration, education, outreach, and innovation. Jana has been at the Trust since 2005, first as Assistant Director for Programs then as Associate Executive Director prior to assuming the role of President. Jana is trained as a marine ecologist, with a B.S. in biology from Yale University and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and has spent her career working at the intersection of science and policy. Her previous scientific work includes research in the applied realms of fisheries, aquaculture, and shoreline habitat restoration at Scripps; at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, where she was a postdoctoral fellow; and at the Williams College – Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program, where she was an oceanography faculty member. Prior to coming to the Trust, Jana served as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Congressional Science Fellow in the United States Senate, sponsored by the American Geophysical Union. Jana continues an active research program on shoreline restoration and ecology issues.
Jana will present during the Chesapeake Bay Partnership and Collaboration Invited Speaker Session on Monday morning, 8 August.
Kate Fritz, CEO of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
Kate Fritz has lived in 5 of the 7 Chesapeake Bay watershed jurisdictions, and now calls Annapolis, MD her home. Kate currently serves as the CEO of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, a regional nonprofit that has been bringing together communities, companies, and conservationists to restore the lands and waters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed for the last 50 years. Kate believes in the power of collaboration and inclusivity, and currently volunteers with many groups in the community, including the Anne Arundel County Women’s Giving Circle and the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Alumni Association. With more than 17 years of leadership experience, Kate believes that the greatest thing she can do as a leader is to support and grow more leaders.
Kate earned an Executive Master of Natural Resources focused on Leadership in Sustainability from Virginia Tech, as well as a masters degree in Environmental Management from the University of Maryland University College. Kate has also held positions in both the private and public sectors, starting her career as a Field Biologist, and then working for seven years in the Planning Department in Prince George’s County, MD. Prior to joining the Alliance, Kate served as the Executive Director of the South River Federation, now known as the Arundel Rivers Federation.
Kate will present during the Chesapeake Bay Partnership and Collaboration Invited Speaker Session on Monday morning, 8 August.
Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director of WATERKEEPERS® Chesapeake
Betsy Nicholas is the Executive Director of WATERKEEPERS® Chesapeake, the regional coalition of 19 Waterkeeper Organizations protecting the rivers and streams of the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Watersheds. She has been leading this organization since 2012. She is also the founder of the Fair Farms campaign – building a movement of Marylanders of all stripes, working together for a new food system — one that is fair to farmers, invests in homegrown healthy foods and restores our waterways instead of polluting them. Previously, she worked as a trial attorney in the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of U.S. Department of Justice for several years. Prior to that, she was the General Counsel for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper in Atlanta, Georgia for more than five years. Ms. Nicholas has also been an environmental associate for law firms in New York and Washington, DC. Her experience includes all types of stormwater pollution, industrial agriculture, regenerative agriculture, clean water act litigation, legislative advocacy, endangered species act conservation, hydropower licensing and a host of other issues that come with 20 years of environmental work. Like most clean water advocates, she also loves to get out on the water when she can.
Betsy will present during the Chesapeake Bay Partnership and Collaboration Invited Speaker Session on Monday morning, 8 August.
Maria Potouroglou, World Resources Institute
Dr. Maria Potouroglou is a biologist by background whose work has focused on understanding the effects of climate change on marine and coastal ecosystems. Maria started working with seagrasses in 2007- a passion that has carried over to every position she has held over the last 15 years. She has conducted both multidisciplinary research on seagrasses and capacity building activities in Europe, Asia, South-East Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In 2018, she established a regional project in West Africa, covering seven countries from Mauritania to Sierra Leone, including Cape Verde. In 2020, she led the first ever global seagrass report 'Out of the Blue: The Value of Seagrasses to the Environment and to People', initiated by UN Environment Programme, acting as Editor-in-Chief and coordinating a collaborative effort of over 60 seagrass experts from academia, not-for-profit organisations and governmental agencies. Maria currently works for the Secretariat of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy at the World Resources Institute. The Ocean Panel is the only ocean policy body led by serving world leaders with the authority to trigger, amplify and accelerate ocean action worldwide.
‘Out of the Blue: The Value of Seagrasses to the Environment and to People’ is a global synthesis report that was released in 2020 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) together with GRID-Arendal, UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the World Seagrass Association. The aim of ‘Out of the Blue’ was to generate increased interest in seagrasses by policymakers, helping to ensure a sustainable future for these essential but undervalued ecosystems. It provides a science-based synthesis of the numerous services linked to seagrasses and the associated risks in losing them in the age of climate change and ongoing global habitat loss and degradation. The report provides management and policy options at the local, regional and global levels, with the aim to share best practices and prevent further losses. It also highlights the opportunities that effective conservation measures, sustainable management, and successful restoration efforts for seagrass ecosystems can provide to governments in order to achieve their international environmental policy commitments, targets and objectives.
Dr. Potouroglou will join us online to present during Tuesday morning's, 9 August, Virtual Plenary on Global Seagrass Coordination.
Carmen B. de los Santos, Research Assistant at the Centre of Marine Sciences and Visiting Assistant Professor, University of the Algarve
Carmen is a Research Assistant at the Centre of Marine Sciences and Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of the Algarve in Faro, Portugal. She has 15 years of research experience in seagrass ecology, with a focus on ecosystem service provision, responses to environmental stress, trait-based ecology, as well as assessing seagrass trends of change. Her research purpose and motivation are to advance in the ecological knowledge of seagrasses to support science-based management, promote their conservation, and inform national and international environmental policies. Through her research activities, Carmen has developed collaborative work with researchers in Europe, Australia, and Asia. Currently, she is co-coordinating the launch of the SeagrassTraitDB with the aim of applying the principles of trait-based ecology to seagrass science.
Together Carmen and Rui Santos (bio below) will present SeagrassTraitDB, a global database of seagrass traits. SeagrassTraitDB has been developed to integrate seagrass trait data from around the world, based on datasets contributed by scientists, into a consistent format. The aim of SeagrassTraitDB is to integrate and make available global empirical seagrass trait data. They hope that this will contribute to understanding and predicting how the expression of functional diversity of seagrass individuals varies along environmental gradients and how this translates into higher levels of population and community structure and ecosystem functioning. The Steering Committee for SeagrassTraitDB is formed by Dr. Carmen B. de los Santos and Prof. Rui Santos along with bioinformatic researchers from Biodata.pt (Portuguese distributed infrastructure for biological data and the Portuguese ELIXIR node).
Carmen and Rui will present SeagrassTraitDB online during Tuesday morning's, 9 August, Virtual Plenary on Global Seagrass Coordination.
Rui Santos, Associate Professor, University of Algarve
Rui Santos is an Associate Professor with habilitation at the University of the Algarve. He has over 30 years of academic experience teaching in the areas of Ecology, Ecophysiology and Marine Botany, at undergraduate and postgraduate level in various universities. His research has focused on the role of coastal vegetation, algae, seagrass and salt marsh, on the functioning of ecosystems and on the goods and services they provide. His present broader interests focus on the effects of human impacts, including ocean acidification, temperature and eutrophication on the cycling of carbon (blue carbon) and nitrogen of coastal vegetated ecosystems, particularly seagrasses and calcareous algae. He has over 200 scientific publications and over 6200 citations, (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=zCFvYk8AAAAJ&hl=pt-PT) and extensive experience in scientific dissemination and extension activities in the form of public lectures, teacher training, news and programs in the media, and frequently contributes scientific information to the management and conservation of coastal ecosystems.
Carmen and Rui will present SeagrassTraitDB online during Tuesday morning's, 9 August, Virtual Plenary on Global Seagrass Coordination.
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Seagrass ecosystems serve as critical habitat for many species, can help meet climate change mitigation and adaptation objectives, and support community needs and livelihoods worldwide. Despite these benefits, coastal conservation policies too often fail to incorporate seagrass science and protective measures or prioritize data collection and monitoring of this critical habitat. While scientific advancement is expanding the knowledge base for seagrass, there remains a formidable science-to-policy gap that can hinder conservation from regional to global scales. Environmental organizations can play an important role in better integrating the use of science and communication into decision making. The Pew Charitable Trusts and Partners will lead the plenary, Seagrass as a Catalyst for Collaborative Conservation, during which panelists will explore three case studies (Seychelles, North Carolina, Florida) where more than half a million acres of seagrass will be better protected through collaborative initiatives facilitated by conservation organizations.
Holly Greening, Co-founder of Coastwise Partners will moderate the Thursday morning, 11 August, plenary: Seagrass as a Catalyst for Collaborative Conservation. Panelists will include Dr. Justin Grubich and Dr. Savannah Barry, discussing Florida’s Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve; Anne Deaton and Leda Cunningham, discussing the North Carolina Coastal Habitat Protection Plan; and Dr. Stacy Baez, discussing the Seychelles Coastal Wetlands Project. See below for panelist's bios.
Holly Greening, Co-Founder of CoastWise Partners
Holly Greening is a Co-Founder of CoastWise Partners which offers pro-bono assistance with goal-setting, organizational assessment, establishing criteria, technical advice, monitoring design, and workshop planning to coastal and watershed programs worldwide. Her professional career has focused on managing watershed and estuarine projects and programs. As Senior Scientist (1990-2007) and then Executive Director (2008-2018) of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Holly was responsible for maintaining the strong partnerships forged through TBEP, continuing the bay’s science-based seagrass restoration and recovery strategies. Holly has served on the Estuarine Research Federation Governing Board, the National Academy of Sciences Ocean Studies Board, and five National Research Council committees. She was Co-Chair of the 2011 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation Conference, Chair of the Association of National Estuary Programs, and is currently serving as Associate Editor for the scientific journal Estuaries and Coasts. She has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications with a focus on estuarine ecology and collaborative watershed management and is the recipient of regional and national awards for coastal stewardship.
Justin Grubich, Officer with Pew Charitable Trusts
Dr. Justin Grubich is an Officer with Pew Charitable Trusts working in the Gulf of Mexico for Conserving Marine Life in the U.S. Based in Stuart, Florida, Grubich works to conserve Florida and the Gulf of Mexico’s marine resources, including seagrass and forage fish. Previously, he was an assistant professor of marine biology at the American University in Cairo and a science and technology policy fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington D.C. Grubich earned a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of Miami and a doctorate in fish ecomorphology from Florida State University.
Savanna Barry, Regional Specialized Agent with SeaGrant and UF/IFAS
Dr. Savanna Barry did her dissertation work in the beautiful seagrass meadows of the southern Nature Coast where she investigated the morphology, resilience, invertebrate community composition, and carbon storage of seagrass meadows growing under different rates of nutrient input. Savanna began serving the Nature Coast as a Regional Specialized Agent with Sea Grant and UF/IFAS Extension in February 2016. She lives in Cedar Key and is stationed full time at the Nature Coast Biological Station
Anne Deaton, Habitat Program Supervisor for North Carolina's Division of Marine Fisheries
Anne Deaton is the Habitat Program Supervisor for North Carolina’s Division of Marine Fisheries. She has worked on habitat conservation protection efforts through the state’s Coastal Habitat Protection Plan, as well as SAV and shellfish mapping efforts. Anne previously worked in south Florida with the Florida Park Service. While there, she worked on mapping and assessing damage to seagrass and restoration of natural communities (SAV, coral, wetlands). Anne earned a BS from UNC-Wilmington in Marine Biology and Masters in Marine Science from Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Leda Cunningham, Officer, Conserving Marine Life in the U.S., The Pew Charitable Trusts
Leda Cunningham leads Pew’s work in North Carolina to protect and restore coastal habitats, including seagrass, oysters, and wetlands, that will promote healthy fisheries and resilient ecosystems in the face of climate change. She is based in Morehead City, North Carolina. She previously served as executive director of the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, where she led fundraising and strategic planning initiatives and managed a team of staff and volunteers whose achievements included developing the world’s largest database of marine life sightings derived from citizen science. Cunningham holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Macalester College and master’s degrees in business administration and global environmental policy from American University.
Stacy Baez, Senior Officer with Pew's Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reef Project
Dr. Stacy Baez is a senior officer with Pew’s Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reefs project. She currently supports Belize, Costa Rica, and Seychelles to protect and restore coastal wetlands as part of their nationally determined contributions to the Paris Agreement. Previously at Pew, she worked to create fully protected marine areas worldwide and establish Caribbean shark sanctuaries. Before joining Pew, Baez conducted small-scale fisheries assessments in the Philippines. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Morgan State University and a doctorate in oceanography from Old Dominion University.
Jud Kenworthy, Marine Scientist with NOAA, retired.
Dr. Kenworthy is a Marine Scientist with 33 years of experience working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at the Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research in Beaufort, N.C. Dr. Kenworthy spent most of his career focused on applied research designed to address issues related to the conservation and protection of marine resources. His research addresses seagrass ecology and restoration, disturbance ecology, endangered species protection, optical water quality modelling, and designing and implementing environmental assessments and resource mapping and monitoring programs. Dr. Kenworthy’s work has assisted Federal, State, and International Agencies, as well as NGOs, in developing and implementing conservation and restoration programs for seagrasses, manatees and green sea turtles here in the United States and elsewhere around the world. Prior to retiring from NOAA, Dr. Kenworthy was a scientific working group leader for NOAA’s response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and continued this work as a NOAA sub-contractor until 2016. After retiring from NOAA in 2011, Dr. Kenworthy has continued to work with and advise state and federal agencies and NGOs on efforts to preserve coastal environmental quality and further the conservation and restoration of seagrass ecosystems.
Bill Dennison, Vice President for Science Applications and Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Applications at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network. The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is one of two research and service institutions in the 12-institution University System of Maryland. UMCES is comprised of three laboratories distributed across the watershed of Chesapeake Bay within Maryland: Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay in Solomons and Horn Point Laboratory on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay near Cambridge as well as Maryland Sea Grant College in College Park, Maryland. UMCES also operates an Annapolis Liaison Office. Bill Dennison rejoined UMCES in 2002 following a ten year stint at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. He originally started at UMCES (then the Center for Environmental and Estuarine Science) in 1987 as a Postdoctorate/Research Assistant Professor based at Horn Point Laboratory. In Australia, Bill developed an active Marine Botany group at the University of Queensland with strong links to the Healthy Waterways Campaign for Moreton Bay. Bill obtained his academic training from Western Michigan University (B.A., Biology & Environmental Science), the University of Alaska (M.S., Biological Oceanography), The University of Chicago (Ph.D., Biology), and State University of New York at Stony Brook at Stony Brook (Postdoc, Coastal Marine Scholar).
Bill will lead the closing plenary on Friday afternoon, 12 August.