Heida Diefenderfer of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) was recently appointed to a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee that will assess long-term environmental trends in the Gulf of Mexico region. The core focus will be on evaluating the cumulative effects of multiple restoration projects, such as assessing regional-scale benefits for improving ecosystem function.
Dr. Diefenderfer, a restoration ecologist, brings over 25 years of scientific research and restoration expertise. Her research focus is on riverine and coastal ecosystems, including swamps, marshes, and submerged aquatic vegetation. She has a particular interest in multidisciplinary work that encompasses a range of temporal and spatial scales including the watershed, riparian zone, and coastal nearshore. At PNNL, she leads applied research advancing ecological restoration methods for endangered species recovery, understanding the cumulative effects of large-scale ecosystem restoration, spatial planning and modeling of wetland evolution associated with coastal resilience, blue carbon and climate-adaptation studies, and impact assessments for energy infrastructure. Diefenderfer holds a faculty fellow position at the University of Washington, where she also earned her Ph.D. in forest resources and ecosystem analysis.
Diefenderfer joins an interdisciplinary committee of scientists from across the country that will consider the effects of both acute events and long-term physical changes on restoration projects. The committee will examine the synergistic effects of numerous restoration projects, recommend adaptive management strategies, and identify needs for additional data and research.