Nicole Peterson

Graduate Student


Nicole will be graduating from UGA in December 2018 with a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering. As a master’s student, she has been working with Dr. Brian Bledsoe under a Wormsloe research fellowship and Georgia Sea Grant to improve modeling tools that predict the effects of future sea level rise on coastal salt marsh habitat extent. In particular, Nicole’s research focuses on modeling interactions between current and future distributions of hard armoring (e.g. bulkheads, revetments) and inland salt marsh migration. Coastal Georgia is a prime study site for application of this research, as approximately one-third of all salt marshes along the U.S. Atlantic coastline are found there. Salt marsh ecosystems provide unique habitat characteristics that many species rely upon while also providing countless services to humans, including provision of food, protection from coastal flooding and erosion, water purification, carbon sequestration and recreation opportunities. The outcomes of Nicole’s research efforts will assist decision makers in developing fully informed sea level rise response plans, as trade-offs between conservation and societal interests are certain to exist.