MEB Faculty

Juliette Hart

Assistant Professor (Research) of Biological Sciences

Contact Information
E-mail: jahart@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-1937
Office: AHF 253

 

Description of Research

Research Specialties
carbon and nitrogen cycling; climate change adaptation; climate change mitigation; climate change science; regional ocean governance; sustainable tourism; management plan development
Detailed Statement of Research Interests
The main focus of my research is on examining the impacts of climate change on the built and natural environments in urban coastal communities. Communities in California (CA) recognize that there is a pressing need to consider the impacts of climate change in future planning and governing decisions (commonly referred to as climate change adaptation). There is a pressing need for coordinated and location-specific information and training on how to plan for climate change impacts. In order to more precisely identify community needs, I serve as the lead Principal Investigator on a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Communities. I led the development of CA-wide information, research, and tools needs assessment survey directed to coastal decision-makers in the coastal CA counties that was administered in July 2011. This was a leveraged effort conducted in collaboration with a number of CA partners (California Sea Grant, San Francisco Bay and Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserves, and the Center for Ocean Solutions). The goal of the survey is to understand the needs of the various coastal communities, develop appropriate trainings/workshops and technical assistance for communities, and determine the best way to link communities to resources and tools already available. We have recently begun analysis of the results. I have recently begun efforts to work with the City of LA to help them plan for the impacts of climate change. The first effort will focus on the impacts of sea-level rise. For this effort, I am working with the Mayor's Office to assemble a multi-tiered stakeholder engagement process, a research project team to incorporate the best possible science in decision-making and planning, and lead the City of Los Angeles Adaptation Planning Team. I am one of USC Sea Grant's representatives on the "Urban Climate Change Adaptation Collaborative." This collaborative was developed as recommended by Vice Provost Randy Hall in response to a USC Research Collaboration Proposal submitted in April 2009. This collaboration includes several other MEB faculty members, as well as Dr. Hilda Blanco, the director the USC Center for Sustainable Cities, Dr. Dan Mazmanian, the chair of the California Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Advisory Council, and Dr. Mark Bernstein, co-director of the USC Energy Institute. The goal of this collaborative is to identify and initiate trans-disciplinary research projects related to climate change adaptation in urban communities. In the summer of 2010, USC Sea Grant co-sponsored the Ocean Acidification Impacts on Shellfish workshop held at the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) in Costa Mesa, CA. This workshop brought together shellfish producers and researchers who study ocean acidifcation and its impacts on organisms (both through laboratory and field investigations), with the goal of increasing communication between these two groups. During this workshop, participants discussed the current state of the science, identified gaps in the research, and made recommendations on how to share current and future science. In addition, participants are in the process of developing a West Coast ocean acidification collaborative (final group name is yet to be determined) that will continue to meet and promote communication between researchers and shellfish harvesters and producers. A follow-up workshop was held in the summer of 2011, with the goal of determining what data and research are available for synthesis and analysis. USC Sea Grant is a co-PI on a USC College-funded project entitled "Climate Change in the Southern California Bight: Integrating Science and Societal Implications." I served on the Steering Committee for this project and helped develop a recently held colloquium on Cliamte Change in the Southern California Bight, which entailed identifying speakers, coordinating the event and developing the project website. Regional ocean governance recognizes that many ocean issues transcend city, county, and state boundaries, thus the most effective management of our ocean resources depends on regional collaboration. The governors of California (CA), Washington (WA) and Oregon (OR) signed an agreement to work together to protect the large marine ecosystem that spans the west coast of the U.S. They released the West Coast Governor's Agreement on Ocean Health Action Plan in fall 2008. In concert with the Governors' Action Plan development, the west coast Sea Grant colleges (USC, CA, WA, and OR) worked together to develop a regional research plan. I am working most closely with those regional projects that related to climate change science, impacts, and adaptation/mitigation. For instance, we will coordinate our CA-centered needs assessment with a larger effort by the 32 Sea Grant programs to develop a national survey on climate change adaptation by local governments. As the Principal Investigator on the grant "Developing A Framework for Sustainable Development and Natural Resource Management on Santa Catalina Island" (from the Catalina Island Conservancy, first funded in 2008 and renewed in 2009), I worked on three concurrent projects: 1. Defining Significant Ecological Areas on Catalina Significant Ecological Areas (SEAs) are planning overlays developed by Los Angeles County Regional Planning as part of the General Plan for LA County. They are meant to help the County conserve its biotic diversity by adding an extra layer of oversight and protection to areas that have important vegetation communities and threatened or endangered plants and animals. The Conservancy worked with the County to define the appropriate locations for SEAs on Catalina. My role in this project was to work with the Conservancy's Conservation department to develop GIS-based maps that layer the threatened and endangered plant and animals on the island, the different vegetation communities, the development footprints, and various human use impacts, such as invasive plants and erosion from grazing by introduced herbivores. These data layers were then analyzed to designate appropriate SEAs on Catalina. 2. Integrated Island Management Plan I led the development of an Integrated Island Management Plan for the Conservancy. The goal of this plan was to ensure that the conservation, recreation, and education activities, along with the general Conservancy operations, occur in coordination with each other. There are already numerous individual management plans in place across the different Conservancy departments (e.g. Invasive Plant Management Plan, Fire and Fuels Management Plan). Similarly, each department has their own goals and objectives. Many of these individual departmental goals and management plans intersect with activities in other departments and management activities. This process entailed understanding the different activities across the Conservancy and identifying where/how to integrate goals and activities to ensure efficient and effective resource management of Conservancy lands. 3. Visitor Management Framework An important component of the Island Management Plan was the development of a Visitor Management Framework (VMF) and a Recreational Policy to manage ecotourism on Conservancy lands. I led the Conservancy in development of the VMF, following a methodology developed by the National Park Service. The most complex component of this project was developing appropriate indicators and standards to monitor impacts of recreation on Catalina's natural resources. For instance, how does one measure, and subsequently manage, the human-induced spread of invasive weeds along a trail compared to those caused by the plant's own natural dispersal mechanisms or by the foraging and migrations of the non-native bison and mule deer across the island. Developing the indicators and standards required close collaboration with the Conservancy's botanists and ecologists. In addition, I worked with the Santa Catalina Island Company and community representatives to ensure a transparent process in which all stakeholder voices are represented. Lastly, as part of the Communications Department at USC Sea Grant, I also work on numerous internal and external communications tools and products. Over the last year, we have developed a quarterly mini-journal, "The Urban Mariner: USC Sea Grant's Urban Ocean Report," that highlights the work of Sea Grant funded researchers. This mini-journal is both online and in print. I developed the original design for the newsletter and website and now serve as editor. In March 2011, I wrote the special issue devoted to USC Sea Grant's climate change science and adaptation initiatives. I also led the redesign of the USC Sea Grant website, developed its navigation and wrote much of its new content. The new website was launched in 2011. Last, I have developed an internal database (in Filemaker Pro 11) that allows us to record, analyze and report important performance metrics on our research, outreach and education activities.





  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • University of Southern California
  • Allan Hancock Foundation Building
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371