As a graduate student, I developed two main interests: quantitative spatial studies and policy analysis. I honed skill sets in these disciplines and developed a thesis that would allow me to employ them both while working to protect local coastal waters and communities.

Water quality in Biscayne Bay is of major concern to tourism, recreation, fisheries, and other regional economic activities. My thesis focused on water quality degradation in the Bay and potential socioeconomic impacts. As part of the NOAA Habitat Blueprint Biscayne Bay Habitat Focus Area (a multidisciplinary effort coordinated by Miami Waterkeeper and NOAA Florida Sea Grant), my task was to develop and carry out a spacial-economic analysis of fisheries and recreational water operations in the region.

I used stakeholder interviews and participatory mapping to create spatial-economic profiles for and describe the flexibility of Biscayne Bay fisheries and recreational water operations. I also identified water quality degradation hot spots, as perceived by industry participants. Results indicated where fisheries and recreational operations were vulnerable to localized water quality degradation, which allowed me to determine where industries did/did not have enough spatial mobility to prove resilient under localized environmental pressures.

For more information, please visit the Biscayne Bay Economic & Spatial Study website.