Melissa Ward, Ph.D. is an ecologist and oceanographer, who studies carbon cycling in coastal habitats and landscapes. Specifically, she studies the ability for natural coastal habitats to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration.
Melissa recently graduated from University of California, Davis with a Ph.D. in marine ecology, where she continues to work as a scientist and a marine science instructor. Her research assesses:
- carbon storage in seagrass and salt marshes sediments (Blue Carbon) across the U.S. West coast, and
- the ability for seagrasses to ameliorate the impacts of ocean acidification through photosynthesis.
This work brings together a network of stakeholders including academics, resource managers, and aquaculturists, each of which are invested in the research as a means to reach sustainable climate solutions. Simultaneously, Melissa is working with policymakers as a consultant to encourage and pass policies that support the protection and restoration of key coastal habitats. Melissa plans to broaden her work on climate solutions through her science fellowship with Project Drawdown and through developing collaborations with the Blue Carbon Lab in Melbourne, Australia.