Eliza Heery

(c) Ed Gullekson

Photo by Ed Gullekson, research diver

Bio: Though I grew up peering over the sides of docks and piers in San Francisco, I did not plan to study urbanized waterways. My path into academia is largely the result of an opportunity I was granted in high school to be a CiS intern at the California Academy of Sciences. Since then, I have found academic and personal intrigue in the most unexpected of places – on the undersides of urban waterfronts in Seattle, Sydney, Italy, and now Singapore. I am grateful to have been a fellow in the IGERT Program on Ocean Change (IPOC) at the University of Washington, where I completed my PhD in 2017. Through my experiences in IPOC, I have gained a deep interest in and commitment to understanding the challenges that face coastal communities globally as a result of climate change, and to providing support via research.

Why Urban Marine Ecology?

Often when we read about marine conservation in the media or hear about it in conversation, we focus on classic ecosystems: coral reefs, kelp forests, deep sea hydrothermal vents, and fisheries in the open ocean. While these habitats are marvels of our world, they are places that many of us will never visit and represent a small proportion of the ocean overall.

Despite this, there is a fantastic underwater world much closer to home, along the periphery of and intermixed with urban development in coastal cities. Though we may think of these environments as void of life, they are very much alive, and in some cases are more diverse than natural habitats within the same region.

Unfortunately our knowledge of urban marine environments is extremely limited. Improving our understanding of what lives in urbanized marine habitats and of how these ecosystems function are central goals to my research and professional focus. I built urbanmarineecology.org in the hopes of establishing a repository of information on the growing body of research on this subject. The site includes posts about my own work, but I also strive to highlight the works of others in the field.

If you have ideas, questions, or comments, drop me a line!