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This year saw the departure of scientist Brady Mattsson, who has left USGS to continue research in Europe. Mattsson ably served as a collaborative researcher between the USGS Western Ecological Research Center and the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative, providing the California LCC with assistance in program development, ecological modeling expertise and analytical support.

A photo of WERC ecologist Karen Thorne
WERC Ecologist Karen Thorne.

Mattsson most notably facilitated the Structured Decision Making Workshop held by the California LCC in October 2011. The session gathered researchers and managers from USGS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation and other offices, and coached participants through developing decision models for resource issues including American River salmonid habitat planning, San Francisco Bay tidal marsh restoration, and state-wide landscape conservation.

However, WERC is fortunate to have many talented researchers who readily rise to new challenges. Karen Thorne, currently a scientist with WERC’s San Francisco Bay Estuary Field Station, will step into Mattsson's position to continue our support to the California LCC.

Thorne was among the coordinators at the Structured Decision Making Workshop, co-leading the San Francisco Bay climate change and wetlands session. In her new role, Thorne will help conservation partnerships in California identify the focal conservation problems, decision-making capacity, management objectives, on-the-ground management actions, and data and communications tools to work toward their ultimate objectives.

Karen Thorne
Karen Thorne with instrument. Public domain.

Thorne recently completed her doctorate in geography and global change at University of California-Davis. She arrived at WERC in 2005 after serving as a researcher with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska.

In recent years, her research with WERC scientist John Takekawa has focused on fine-scale mapping and forecasting of sea level rise impacts on estuarine wetlands in San Francisco Bay, southern California and elsewhere along the U.S. Pacific Coast. Using cutting-edge GPS instruments, her team has been creating projections of wetland habitat and topography change under various sea level rise scenarios, compiling important decision models and tools for federal, state and local agencies.

Thorne will continue to conduct her sea level rise research in addition to her LCC role.

Meet Karen Thorne:

-- Ben Young Landis

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