Elizabeth Watson, Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2006
Coastal wetlands, climate change, ecohydrology, translational ecology
Lab Website: Watson Lab Website
Dr. Watson earned a PhD in geography at the University of California, Berkeley in 2006, where her research focused on coastal paleoecology and relationships between vegetation, climate and anthropogenic change. Watson was a post-doctoral researcher at UC Davis, and at CICESE, a graduate research center in Baja California, México. Prior coming to Stony Brook University, she worked at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, the EPA's Atlantic Coastal Environmental Sciences Division Laboratory in Narragansett, Rhode Island, and held a joint position at Drexel University in Philadelphia, and at the Academy of Natural Sciences, a natural history museum. Watson was also a Fulbright scholar in México in 2019, as the recipient of a Fulbright-García Robles grant.
The goal of our lab's work is to better understand the impacts that humans are having on coastal ecosystems so that coastal environments can be better managed and restored. We combine field and laboratory research with geospatial analysis and modeling to examine the impacts of environmental change to coastal environments. We focus on nutrient pollution, sea level rise, changing precipitation patterns, land use change, and restoration. As a scientist that has spent the last two decades focusing on climate change impacts to coastal ecosystems and communities, and who has experienced impacts first-hand, a second focus of Watson's work is preparing students to confront the challenges brought by climate change, through activities that span research, teaching, and service. This has included public engagement events, and establishing climate and sustainability internships through the Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast, among other actions.