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Elizabeth Burke Watson, PhD

Elizabeth Burke Watson, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Wetlands Section Leader, Patrick Center for Environmental Research, ANS
Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Office: PCER, ANS
Phone: 215.299.1109

Additional Sites:

Google Scholar Profile
Coastal Change Lab


  • AB, Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley
  • MA/PhD, Physical Geography, University of California, Berkeley
  • Post-Doctoral: Land, Air & Water Resources, UC Davis
  • Post-Doctoral: Depto. Geología; CICESE, Baja California, México

Research Interests:

I am a coastal scientist broadly interested in implications of global and regional environmental change, and unraveling the interacting effects of multiple anthropogenic stressors on coastal ecosystems to promote more informed management, conservation, and restoration.  Current and recent projects address the implementation and success of coastal climate-adaptation strategies in southern New England; developing indicators of nutrient enrichment for Long Island, NY estuaries; using CT scans to visualize belowground biomass of wetland plants; toxicological effects of macroalgae; and the 150-year reconstruction of cumulative nitrogen pollution in Narragansett Bay.

Selected Publications:

  • Watson, E.B., C. Wigand, M. Cencer, K. Blount. 2015. Inundation and precipitation effects on growth and flowering of the high marsh species Juncus gerardii. Aquatic Botany 121: 52-56.
  • Watson, E.B., A.J. Oczkowski, C. Wigand, A. Hanson, E.W. Davey, S.C. Crosby, R.L. Johnson, and H.M. Andrews. 2014. Nutrient enrichment and precipitation changes do not enhance resiliency of salt marshes to sea level rise in the Northeastern U.S. Climatic Change 125: 501-509.
  • Wigand, C., C.T. Roman, E. Davey, M. Stolt, R.L. Johnson, A.R. Hanson, E.B. Watson, S.B. Moran, D.R. Cahoon, J.C. Lynch, and P. Rafferty. 2014. Below the disappearing marshes of an urban estuary: historic nitrogen trends and soil structure. Ecological Applications 24: 633-649.
  • García-García, A., M. Leavey, and E. B. Watson. 2013. High resolution seismic study of the Holocene infill of the Elkhorn Slough, Central California. Continental Shelf Research 55: 108-118.
  • Watson, E.B., and R. Byrne. 2013. Late Holocene salt marsh expansion in southern San Francisco Bay, California. Estuaries and Coasts 36: 643-653.
  • Watson, E.B., K. Wasson, G.B. Pasternack, A. Woolfolk, E. Van Dyke, A.B. Gray, A. Pakenham, and R.A. Wheatcroft.  2011. Applications from paleoecology to environmental management and restoration in a dynamic coastal environment. Restoration Ecology 19: 765-775.