Earth Scientist
Earth Scientist

Biography

Dr. Heida Diefenderfer is an Earth scientist with the Energy and Environment Directorate at PNNL, where she studies coastal and river ecology and ecological restoration. She is jointly appointed as a faculty fellow at the University of Washington, College of the Environment. Located at PNNL-Sequim campus since 2000, Dr. Diefenderfer conducts long-term and large-scale ecological research with a focus on wetlands, forests, marshes, and submerged aquatic vegetation. Her studies emphasize multi-scale phenomena, particularly landscape or watershed connectivity with riparian and littoral interfaces, over decadal and longer periods. She develops and applies multidisciplinary research and evaluation approaches for terrestrial-aquatic ecosystems. As principal investigator and project manager, Dr. Diefenderfer leads applied research advancing science in spatial planning, resilience, climate adaptation, endangered species recovery, mitigation of energy infrastructure, Earth systems modeling, and evidence-based assessment of large-scale ecosystem restoration. Her areas of disciplinary expertise include ecohydrology, ecological engineering, geomorphology, landscape ecology, critical thinking (systems analysis and synthesis), cultural studies, and sustainability. She has served as a PNNL team leader with a focus on coastal wetland ecosystem research for governmental and non-governmental entities across the U.S. In addition to peer-reviewed publications, she has contributed to more than 50 PNNL technical reports.

Education

  • BA in Biology (minor: Cognitive Science), Reed College, 1991
  • BA in Liberal Arts (Native American Studies/Professional Writing), The Evergreen State College, 1997
  • MA in English, Western Washington University, 1999
  • PhD in Forest Resources (Ecosystem Analysis), University of Washington, 2007

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Ecological Society of America
  • Society for Ecological Restoration International
  • American Geophysical Union

Publications

2020

  • Borde, AB, HL Diefenderfer, VI Cullinan, SA Zimmerman and RM Thom. In Press 2020. “Ecohydrology of wetland plant communities along an estuarine to tidal river gradient.” Ecosphere 11(9): e03185.10.1002/ecs2.3185.
  • Diefenderfer HL, GD Steyer, HA Neckles, DM Burdick, MC Harwell, AJ LoSchiavo, GE Johnson, KE Buenau, E Trujillo, JC Callaway, NK Ganju, RM Thom, and RR Twilley. In Press 2020. “A beneficial cumulative effects paradigm to advance large-scale ecosystem restoration and management.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
  • Kauffman JB, L Giovanonni, J Kelly, N Dunstan, AB Borde, HL Diefenderfer, C Cornu, C Janousek, J Apple, L Brophy. 2020. “Total ecosystem carbon stocks at the marine-terrestrial interface: Blue carbon of the Pacific Northwest Coast, USA.” Global Change Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15248
  • Ward N.D., P. Megonigal, B. Bond-Lamberty, V.L. Bailey, D. Butman, E. Canuel, and H.L. Diefenderfer, et al. 2020. "Representing the Function and Sensitivity of Coastal Interfaces in Earth System Models." Nature Communications 11. PNNL-SA-147328. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-16236-2

2018

  • Diefenderfer HL, VI Cullinan, AB Borde, CM Gunn, RM Thom. 2018. “High-frequency greenhouse gas flux measurement system detects winter storm surge effects on salt marsh.” Global Change Biology 24:5961–5971.
  • Diefenderfer HL, IA Sinks, SA Zimmerman, VI Cullinan, AB Borde. 2018. “Designing topographic heterogeneity for tidal wetland restoration.” Ecological Engineering 123:212-225.
  • Roy Chowdhury T., L.M. Bramer, D.W. Hoyt, Y. Kim, T.O. Metz, L. McCue, and H.L. Diefenderfer, et al. 2018. "Temporal dynamics of CO2 and CH4 loss potentials in response to rapid hydrological shifts in tidal freshwater wetland soils." Ecological Engineering 114. PNNL-SA-123359. doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.06.041
  • Thom RM, SA Breithaupt, HL Diefenderfer, AB Borde, GC Roegner, GE Johnson, DL Woodruff. 2018. “Storm-driven particulate organic matter flux connects a tidal tributary floodplain wetland, main stem river, and estuary.” Ecological Applications 28:1420–1434.

2016

  • Diefenderfer H.L., A.B. Borde, I.A. Sinks, V.I. Cullinan, and S.A. Zimmerman. 2016. Columbia Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Program: Restoration Design Challenges for Topographic Mounds, Channel Outlets, and Reed Canarygrass. PNNL-24676. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Columbia Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Program: Restoration Design Challenges for Topographic Mounds, Channel Outlets, and Reed Canarygrass
  • Diefenderfer H.L., G.E. Johnson, R.M. Thom, K.E. Buenau, L.A. Weitkamp, C.M. Woodley, and A.B. Borde, et al. 2016. "Evidence-based Evaluation of the Cumulative Effects of Ecosystem Restoration." Ecosphere 7, no. 3:e01242. PNNL-SA-104585. doi:10.1002/ecs2.1242
  • Jay D.A., A.B. Borde, and H.L. Diefenderfer. 2016. "Tidal-Fluvial and Estuarine Processes in the Lower Columbia River: II. Water Level Models, Floodplain Wetland Inundation, and System Zones." Estuaries and Coasts 39, no. 5:1299-1324. PNNL-SA-123352. doi:10.1007/s12237-016-0082-4

2015

  • Diefenderfer H.L. 2015. "Coastal Conservation." Marine Biology Research 11, no. 4:446-448. PNNL-SA-107702. doi:10.1080/17451000.2014.999095
  • Jay D.A., K. Leffler, H.L. Diefenderfer, and A.B. Borde. 2015. "Tidal-Fluvial and Estuarine Processes in the Lower Columbia River: I. Along-channel Water Level Variations, Pacific Ocean to Bonneville Dam." Estuaries and Coasts 38, no. 2:415-433. PNNL-SA-98787. doi:10.1007/s12237-014-9819-0
  • Tian B., Y. Zhou, R.M. Thom, H.L. Diefenderfer, and Q. Yuan. 2015. "Detecting wetland changes in Shanghai, China using FORMOSAT and Landsat TM imagery." Journal of Hydrology 529, no. Part 1:1-10. PNNL-SA-112617. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.07.007

2013

2012

  • Borde A.B., V.I. Cullinan, H.L. Diefenderfer, R.M. Thom, R.M. Kaufmann, S.A. Zimmerman, and J. Sagar, et al. 2012. Lower Columbia River and Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Program Reference Site Study: 2011 Restoration Analysis - FINAL REPORT. PNNL-21433. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Lower Columbia River and Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Program Reference Site Study: 2011 Restoration Analysis - FINAL REPORT
  • Callaway, JC, AB Borde, HL Diefenderfer, VT Parker, JM Rybczyk, RM Thom. 2012. "Pacific Coast tidal wetlands."  Chapter 8 in Wetland habitats of North America: Ecology and conservation concerns, eds. DP Batzer, AH Baldwin, pp. 103-116. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. ISBN: 9780520271647  PNNL-SA-78920.
  • Diefenderfer H.L., G.E. Johnson, J.R. Skalski, S.A. Breithaupt, and A.M. Coleman. 2012. "Application of the Diminishing Returns Concept in the Hydroecologic Restoration of Riverscapes." Landscape Ecology 27, no. 5:671-682. PNNL-SA-66973. doi:10.1007/s10980-012-9713-8
  • Johnson G.E., H.L. Diefenderfer, R.M. Thom, G.C. Roegner, B.D. Ebberts, J.R. Skalski, and A.B. Borde, et al. 2012. Evaluation of Cumulative Ecosystem Response to Restoration Projects in the Lower Columbia River and Estuary, 2010. PNNL-20296. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Evaluation of Cumulative Ecosystem Response to Restoration Projects in the Lower Columbia River and Estuary, 2010
  • Thom R.M., H.L. Diefenderfer, J. Vavrinec, and A.B. Borde. 2012. "Restoring Resiliency: Case Studies from Pacific Northwest Estuarine Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) Ecosystems." Estuaries and Coasts 35, no. 1:78-91. PNNL-SA-68902. doi:10.1007/s12237-011-9430-6

2011

  • Diefenderfer H.L., G.E. Johnson, N.K. Sather, J.R. Skalski, E.M. Dawley, A.M. Coleman, and K.G. Ostrand, et al. 2011. Evaluation of Life History Diversity, Habitat Connectivity, and Survival Benefits Associated with Habitat Restoration Actions in the Lower Columbia River and Estuary, Annual Report 2010. PNNL-20295 Final. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Evaluation of Life History Diversity, Habitat Connectivity, and Survival Benefits Associated with Habitat Restoration Actions in the Lower Columbia River and Estuary, Annual Report 2010
  • Diefenderfer H.L., R.M. Thom, G.E. Johnson, J.R. Skalski, K.A. Vogt, B.D. Ebberts, and G.C. Roegner, et al. 2011. "A Levels-of-Evidence Approach for Assessing Cumulative Ecosystem Response to Estuary and River Restoration Programs." Ecological Restoration 29, no. 1-2:111-132. PNNL-SA-55734.
  • Thom R.M., H.L. Diefenderfer, J.E. Adkins, C. Judd, M.G. Anderson, K.E. Buenau, and A.B. Borde, et al. 2011. "Guidelines, processes and tools for coastal ecosystem restoration, with examples from the United States." Plankton & Benthos Research 5, no. Supplement:185-201. PNNL-SA-73076. doi:10.3800/pbr.5.185

2010

2009

  • Diefenderfer H.L., K.L. Sobocinski, R.M. Thom, C.W. May, A.B. Borde, S.L. Southard, and J. Vavrinec, et al. 2009. "Multiscale Analysis of Restoration Priorities for Marine Shoreline Planning." Environmental Management 44, no. 4:712-731. PNWD-SA-8063. doi:10.1007/s00267-009-9298-4
  • Johnson G.E., H.L. Diefenderfer, A.B. Borde, E.M. Dawley, B.D. Ebberts, G.C. Roegner, and M.T. Russell, et al. 2009. Evaluating Cumulative Ecosystem Response to Restoration Projects in the Lower Columbia River and Estuary, 2008. PNNL-18677. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Evaluating Cumulative Ecosystem Response to Restoration Projects in the Lower Columbia River and Estuary, 2008
     

2008

  • Diefenderfer H.L., A.M. Coleman, A.B. Borde, and I.A. Sinks. 2008. "Hydraulic Geometry and Microtopography of Tidal Freshwater Forested Wetlands and Implications for Restoration, Columbia River, U.S.A." International Journal of Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology 8, no. 2-4:339-361. PNNL-SA-59093. doi:10.2478/v10104-009-0027-7
  • Diefenderfer H.L., and D.R. Montgomery. 2008. "Pool spacing, channel morphology, and the restoration of tidal forested wetlands of the Columbia River, U.S.A." Restoration Ecology 17, no. 1:158-168. PNNL-SA-55592. doi:10.1111/j.1526-100X.2008.00449.x
  • Johnson G.E., and H.L. Diefenderfer. 2008. Facilitation of the Estuary/Ocean Subgroup for Federal Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation, FY08 Annual Report. PNNL-17811. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Facilitation of the Estuary/Ocean Subgroup for Federal Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation, FY08 Annual Report
  • Johnson G.E., H.L. Diefenderfer, A.B. Borde, E.M. Dawley, B.D. Ebberts, D.A. Putman, and G.C. Roegner, et al. 2008. Evaluating Cumulative Ecosystem Response to Restoration Projects in the Columbia River Estuary, Annual Report 2007. PNNL-17437. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Evaluating Cumulative Ecosystem Response to Restoration Projects in the Columbia River Estuary, Annual Report 2007
  • Johnson G.E., H.L. Diefenderfer, B.D. Ebberts, C. Tortorici, T. Yerxa, J. Leary, and J.R. Skalski. 2008. Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation for the Federal Columbia River Estuary Program. PNNL-17300. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation for the Federal Columbia River Estuary Program
  • Roegner G.C., H.L. Diefenderfer, A.B. Borde, R.M. Thom, E.M. Dawley, A.H. Whiting, and S.A. Zimmerman, et al. 2008. Protocols for Monitoring Habitat Restoration Projects in the Lower Columbia River and Estuary. PNNL-15793. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Protocols for Monitoring Habitat Restoration Projects in the Lower Columbia River and Estuary

2007

2006

2005

  • Diefenderfer H.L., C. Roegner, R.M. Thom, E.M. Dawley, A.H. Whiting, G.E. Johnson, and K.L. Sobocinski, et al. 2005. Evaluating Cumulative Ecosystem Response to Restoration Projects in the Columbia River Estuary, Annual Report 2004. PNNL-15102. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Evaluating Cumulative Ecosystem Response to Restoration Projects in the Columbia River Estuary, Annual Report 2004
     
  • Diefenderfer H.L., R.M. Thom, and K. Hofseth. 2005. "A Framework for Risk Analysis for Ecological Restoration Projects in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers." In Economics and Ecological Risk Assessment: Applications to Watershed Management, Environmental and Ecological Risk Assessment Series, edited by Randall J. F. Bruins, Matthew T. Heberling. 57-105. Boca Raton, Florida:CRC Press. PNNL-SA-37959.
  • Thom R.M., G.D. Williams, and H.L. Diefenderfer. 2005. "Balancing the Need to Develop Coastal Areas with the Desire for an Ecologically Functioning Coastal Environment: Is Net Ecosystem Improvement Possible?." Restoration Ecology 13, no. 1:193-203. PNWD-SA-6354. doi:10.1111/j.1526-100X.2005.00024.x

2004

  • Diefenderfer H.L., S.L. Sargeant, R.M. Thom, A.B. Borde, P.F. Gayaldo, C.A. Curtis, and B.L. Court, et al. 2004. "Demonstration Dock Designed to Benefit Eelgrass Habitat Restoration (Washington)." Ecological Restoration 22, no. 2:140-141. PNWD-SA-6315.

2003

  • Diefenderfer H.L., S.L. Sargeant, R.M. Thom, A.B. Borde, P.F. Gayaldo, C.A. Curtis, and B.L. Court, et al. 2003. "Dock Design to Facilitate the Restoration of Eelgrass in Port Townsend Bay, Washington." In Assembling the Pieces - Restoration, Design and Landscape Ecology: Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration International, November 19-22, 2003, Austin, Texas. Tucson, Arizona:Society for Ecological Restoration International. PNWD-SA-6035.
  • Sargeant S.L., R.M. Thom, H.L. Diefenderfer, A.B. Borde, and J.A. Southard. 2003. "Evaluation of Methods to Increase Light under Large Overwater Structures." In 2003 Georgia Basin/Puget Sound Research Conference Proceedings, Vancouver, BC, March 31 - April 3, 2003, edited by TW Droscher and DA Fraser. Olympia, Washington:Puget Sound Action Team. PNNL-SA-37320.
  • Southard J.A., G.D. Williams, S.L. Sargeant, H.L. Diefenderfer, and M.L. Blanton. 2003. "Using Advanced Scientific Diving Technologies to Assess the Underwater Environment." In 2003 Georgia Basin/Puget Sound Research Conference Proceedings, Vancouver, BC, March 31 - April 3, 2003, edited by TW Droscher and DA Fraser. Olympia, Washington:Puget Sound Action Team. PNNL-SA-37344.

2002