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Meet the new Coastal Resilience Coordinator

After six years spent managing a long-term ecosystem monitoring program for a 44,000-acre landscape along the Atlantic coast, Megan Tyrrell is well equipped for her new role with the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

When a staff ecologist at Cape Cod National Seashore learned that there was a link between saltmarsh dieback and a native crab species (Sesarma reticulatum), he suspected Megan Tyrrell would be interested. Not just because she was the Seashore’s Research and Monitoring Coordinator at the time.

“I’m a crab person,” said Tyrrell, explaining that for her Ph.D. in Zoology at the University of New Hampshire, she studied the impacts of an invasive species of crab on ecological community structure.

What once seemed like an esoteric dissertation topic has led to her involvement in an area of growing relevance: salt marsh resilience. Before long, Tyrrell was coordinating a project at the Seashore looking at the vulnerability of salt marshes to climate change. Turns out it doesn’t help when crabs are eating the marsh vegetation.

“I loved the project, and so I saw the position with the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative as an opportunity to focus more on coastal issues and interactions with climate change,” Tyrrell said.

Indeed, as the new Coastal Resilience Coordinator for the North Atlantic LCC, Tyrrell will be responsible for coordinating research projects related to coastal resilience and Hurricane Sandy.

Having managed Cape Cod National Seashore’s Ecosystem Monitoring Program and Atlantic Research and Learning Center since 2008, Tyrrell is well equipped.

In addition to overseeing the implementation of 17 monitoring protocols, supervising staff, processing research permits, and providing equipment, she helped launched a new outreach initiative to connect the public with science in the park.

In 2010, Tyrrell began to host a regular lecture series at the Atlantic Research and Learning Center featuring staff and visiting researchers. The series quickly outgrew the small classroom at the center, morphing into the annual Science in the Seashore Symposium that is now held in the auditorium of one of the Seashore’s visitor centers.

At the North Atlantic LCC, Tyrrell will focus on connecting with audiences and partners in the coastal realm.

“People should contact me if they are involved in coastal or aquatic connectivity issues, are open to coordination, or are interested in looking at methods or existing projects.”

She will also be providing support to specific science delivery projects and related partnerships in a number of ways, from planning workshops to helping with Request for Proposals.

In order to keep a close eye on coastal issues, Tyrrell will split her time between the Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office in Hadley, Mass., and the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge on Cape Cod.

Contact Megan Tyrrell at: megan_tyrrell@fws.gov

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