Geographer and Marine Ecologist Joins Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

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Kristen Cumming will work with the Coral Reef Project and the Coastal Climate Impacts Project.

This article is part of the August 2018 issue of the Sound Waves newsletter.  

Two photos placed together, one has 3 ladies smiling on the back of a boat, one is an underwater photo of a lady snorkeling.

Above: Kristen Cumming (right) with fellow divers Lili Wagner (left) and Alanna Waldman (center) in South West Bay, Bahamas, 2016. Below: Kristen diving among Acropora palmata (elkhorn coral) on the Belize Barrier Reef, 2015. Photo credit: Amber Metallo, Nova Southeastern University.

Kristen Cumming recently joined the U.S. Geological Survey’s Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California, where she will work with the Coral Reef Project and the Coastal Climate Impacts Project. She earned her M.S. degree in Marine Environmental Science from Nova Southeastern University, where she worked in the GIS and Spatial Ecology Laboratory. For her Master’s thesis, Kristen conducted seafloor surveys of nearshore hardbottom communities (plants and animals that live on rocky seafloor and underwater reefs) in Palm Beach, Florida. She used remotely sensed data to determine how the movement of sediment affected the structure and complexity of the nearshore coral reef ecosystem. Kristen’s main interests focus on how natural and human disturbances affect coral reef communities, which she investigates by looking at a variety of physical and biological factors over a range of spatial scales and time periods. She received a B.S. degree in Geographic Science from James Madison University in 2011, where she conducted research assessing disturbance on the fringing coral reefs of Apo Island, Philippines. Most recently, she served as the Spatial Ecology Coordinator at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in Miami, then spent time exploring and living in Trinidad and Tobago.


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