Stuart Carlton, Ph.D.
Healthy Coastal Ecosystems and Social Science SpecialistGalveston County
Texas A&M University at Galveston
P.O. Box 1675
Galveston, Texas, 77553
Organization: Texas Sea Grant
Born and raised in New Orleans, Dr. Stuart Carlton received a B.A. in English from Tulane University and an M.S. in Fisheries Biology from the University of Georgia. He worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and taught middle school science before completing a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology at the University of Florida. He joined Texas Sea Grant in September 2014 as the program's Healthy Coastal Ecosystems and Social Science Specialist.
Coastal ecosystems and their watersheds, the foundations of life along the Gulf Coast, face a diversity of stressors. Keeping them healthy is further complicated because ecosystems do not recognize political boundaries. Their management therefore requires ecosystem-based management, which involves coordination among federal, state and local jurisdictions and active engagement of the people who live, work and play within these landscapes.
The intersection between people and natural resources is where Carlton focuses his research. “I’m interested in what influences how people behave and their risk perception with respect to coastal environmental hazards,” he says.
Current projects include a study of climate change beliefs in the Galveston Bay area, a region where recreation and tourism intersect with industry. Another research project looks at what drives adoption of fuel-saving technology in the Gulf shrimp industry.
Carlton also maintains the Galveston Bay Status and Trends database in collaboration with the Center for Texas Beaches and Shores at Texas A&M University at Galveston. The center is dedicated to conserving and protecting Texas’ shoreline, bays and waterways through research in cooperation with government and private sector agencies. The database eventually will be publicly available, offering a wide variety of social and biological data for the Galveston Bay area collected by government agencies such as the Texas General Land Office, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and U.S. Coast Guard. Carlton anticipates that people will access the data to answer research questions on a variety of topics.
A new research program under development will examine the human dimensions of climate change, coastal hazards and ecosystem-based management. Carlton also is developing, along with other staff, a climate literacy workshop for use in outreach efforts by Texas Sea Grant and other groups. He currently offers outreach programs on how to communicate complex, science-related issues like natural resource management and climate science.