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DES Centennial Celebration

Environmental Sciences Seminar

DATE/TIME: Wednesday, May 3, 2023, 12:00 pm

James Shope
Rutgers University, Department of Environmental Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences

Promoting climate resiliency across the U.S.: From farms to coastlines

My interdisciplinary research guides communities and stakeholders toward climate resiliency, helping them prepare for new and more intense hazards. In this seminar, I will address climate change impacts to flooding risk for U.S. coastal communities and invasive pests for New Jersey blueberry farmers.

Coral reefs provide coastal flood protection, but are threatened by ocean acidification and human activity. I will describe a collaborative effort to quantify the value of flooding protection provided by reefs throughout the U.S. and its territories. A combination of hydrodynamic modeling, economic analysis, and flood mapping yielded that at least 18,000 people and 1.8 billion dollars are protected annually by U.S. reefs.

In 2020, blueberries yielded $85 million in New Jersey and were the number one crop in the state. In recent years, the invasive spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) has emerged as the major blueberry pest. I will show that seasonal warming exacerbates D. suzukii activity, so D. suzukii activity will likely intensify in coming decades, necessitating new integrated pest management strategies to protect crop yields. I will conclude with an outline of my vision for an interdisciplinary research program to address climate change impacts in New Jersey, including ongoing work researching how the urban heat island affects vulnerable communities.

Seminar Host:
Mark Miller
Department of Environmental Sciences