General research interests: Grassland Restoration, Marine Ecology, Wetland Ecology, Ecotoxicology, Fisheries Management, Wetland and Subtidal Marine Habitat Restoration
Sean Anderson is a broadly trained ecologist who has tackled environmental questions from California to the South Pole. He has worked extensively in marine systems investigating the toxicology of produced water (the byproduct from oil drilling) in the Santa Barbara Channel, evaluating and improving artisanal fisheries in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, studying macroalgal recruitment in Southern California, and documenting under-ice communities in Antarctica as part of the National Science Foundation’s Long Term Ecological Research Program. While pursuing his doctorate at UCLA, Sean became increasingly interested in restoration ecology, eventually heading up a large salt marsh restoration effort at Mugu Lagoon in Ventura County, California. Sean now works exclusively on the restoration of coastal communities.
Here at Stanford, Sean is conducting restoration experiments in oak woodlands, grasslands, and seasonal wetlands. His phased, experimental methodology presents an alternative to the typical approach to restoration. In addition to his actual restoration efforts, Sean is developing a suite of novel metrics with which to assess restoration performance. To parameterize and evaluate the utility of these candidate metrics, he has established an extensive array of reference sites around the Bay Area that has been continually monitored since 2001. This monitoring effort is the most extensive of its kind and is beginning to produce important insights into the functioning of California ecosystems. One example is the first ever estimate of the health costs of invaded grasslands; we Californians pay an additional $400 million to $1 billion annually due to the increased incidence of hay fever.
When not conducting research, Sean serves as a scientific advisor to several regional restoration projects, lectures on conservation and the rhetoric of land use, and teaches his son how to count.
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