UNH Ocean Seminar

Integrative Ecosystem Assessment for Marine Renewable Energy Development and Increased Ecological Understanding

Lindsay Dubbs
Associate Director

NC Renewable Ocean Energy Program
Coastal Studies Institute

Monday, Mar. 8, 2021, 3:10pm

The North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program has set-out to characterize the marine environment off the coast of North Carolina and identify potential risks and opportunities presented by future marine renewable energy development. A scientific benefit of the Program has been the opportunities it has presented to collect information about the structure and function of understudied marine systems and controls on their productivity. In this presentation, I will discuss my approach to integrative and holistic ecological assessment of the marine environment off the coast of North Carolina, considering the changes that might be introduced by marine renewable energy development. I will also share the outcomes of associated research and observing to better understand the use of the Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras by loggerhead sea turtles and marine mammals and the coast by loggerhead sea turtles and investigate the distributions, community composition, and rates of productivity and nutrient cycling associated with Sargassum, a protected brown macroalgae. This work contributes to scientific understanding of unique marine ecosystems and organisms and will enable us to make well-informed decisions regarding siting of marine renewable energy developments off the coast of North Carolina in the future. 


Lindsay Dubbs is the Associate Director of the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program (NCROEP) at the Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese, North Carolina (Outer Banks), and an Associate Research Professor with the Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. Dubbs leads environmental assessment and permitting aspects of the NCROEP, where her research focuses on Gulf Stream ecology and ecological impact assessment associated with marine renewable energy. For UNC Chapel Hill, Dubbs co-directs the Outer Banks Field Site, a semester-long undergraduate program focused on integrated science and policy approaches to the sustainable management of coastal resources. She developed and teaches undergraduate classes in coastal ecology and research methods, as well as coastal and offshore energy classes for both undergraduate and graduate students. Dubbs holds a BS in Biology and Environmental Studies from Tufts University and an MS and a PhD in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill.