Kerstin Wasson
Elkhorn Slough National Research Reserve
Watsonville, California

Kerstin Wasson has been the Research Coordinator at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve for over 18 years.  She coordinates a comprehensive long-term monitoring program for Elkhorn Slough, where citizen scientists engage in tasks such as collecting water quality data, counting migratory shorebirds, and tracking nesting at a heronry.  She has mentored graduate students on subjects ranging from threatened red-legged frogs to sea otters, from eelgrass to marshes. She is passionate about restoration of native oysters and salt marshes, both of which have suffered extensive losses in this estuary, and conducts experiments to inform restoration strategies locally and in other wetlands.  She helped to launch an ambitious ecosystem-based management initiative to bring together diverse stakeholders to jointly develop a shared vision for restoration of the estuary’s wetlands.  That vision is now being implemented, and she is leading extensive restoration experiments at a large marsh restoration site.  In addition, Kerstin has led major collaborative projects across the network of National Estuarine Research Reserves.  With her counterpart from the Rhode Island Reserve, she led a national assessment of salt marsh resilience to sea level rise, synthesizing consistently collected data across 15 Reserves in a publication that received national attention.  Now they are conducting a replicated restoration experiment at eight of these Reserves, testing sediment addition as a strategy for enhancing marsh resilience.  She is also leading an investigation of crab herbivory across 15 Reserves, and developing a network of native oyster restoration practitioners from Baja California to British Columbia.