F E AT UR E
COASTAL@VT FOSTERING COASTAL RESILIENCE AND PROSPERITY THROUGH TRANSDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ENGAGEMENT written by Kristin Rose
THE COASTAL ZONE HOSTS MORE THAN HALF OF THE WORLD’S HUMAN POPULATION, LARGE PORT FACILITIES VITAL TO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY, AND MILITARY INSTALLATIONS IMPORTANT TO NATIONAL AND GLOBAL SECURITY.
Accelerating sea-level rise, coastal hazards, ocean acidification, population growth, and rapid economic development threaten livelihoods, tourism, health, fish and wildlife species, and ecosystem services in this area. “The cascading impacts of these stressors represent a complex and formidable problem that can be addressed only by coordinated investment in research, teaching, outreach, and inclusive engagement efforts. The focus of the Coastal@VT concept team is characterized by disciplinary strength and excellence, and by strong interdisciplinary links among the different disciplines,” said Robert Weiss and Anamaria Bukvic , co-leaders of the Coastal@ VT group. Robert Weiss is a professor of geosciences in the College of Science and Anamaria Bukvic is an assistant professor of geography in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. Coastal@VT’s vision is to be a catalyst for finding innovative solutions to sustain development of coastal built and natural environments through diversity and inclusion in research, education, and engagement.
Image of destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Anamaria Bukvic.
The interdisciplinary linkages of Coastal@VT, developed through research and education programs, are institutionally manifested through the Destination Areas, specifically Data Analytics and Decision Sciences, Intelligent Infrastructure for Human-Centered Communities, Integrated Security, and the Global Systems Science themes of food, infectious diseases, and water. Coastal@VT will serve as an incubator for advancing technology, policy innovation, and knowledge exchange, as well as for forging sustained and long-lasting partnerships with
industry and other organizations that work to make coastal zones more resilient and capable of adapting to rapidly changing environments. The Coastal@VT initiative is comprised of 36 junior and senior faculty participants from eight different colleges and various scientific disciplines at Virginia Tech. They bring a diverse range of expertise to coastal research, including, but not limited to, geophysics, engineering, geography, urban planning, public health, governance and public policy, fish and wildlife conservation, business information technology, and applied economics.