Karen McGlathery

Professor · Ph.D. Cornell University, 1992

Contact Information


My research group focuses on the dynamics of ecosystem change in shallow coastal systems, and the roles of climate, nutrient over-enrichment and species invasions on driving these changes. Current projects include: 1) Blue carbon sequestration in seagrass ecosystems, 2) Seagrass restoration and return of ecosystem services, 3) salt marsh resilience to sea-level rise, 4) ecosystem regime shifts in coastal barrier systems, and 5) impacts of invasive macro algae (Gracilaria). I am the lead PI of the Virginia Coast Reserve Long-Term Ecological Research Project on Virginia’s eastern shore, and the Director of UVA’s Environmental Resilience Institute.

Recent Publications


Virginia Coast Reserve Long-Term Ecological Research (VCR/LTER)
Research activities at the VCR/LTER include seagrass and macroalgae ecology, nutrient processes, restoration of eelgrass habitats, and plant-animal interactions.

Shallow Coastal System Ecosystem Research Study Woods Hole, MA
A study funded by NSF in Biocomplexity and Coupled Biogeochemical Cycles

Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS)
Research at the BBSR is studying the interactions of top-down and bottom-up forces on seagrass community structure and function.


Global Coastal Change (EVSC 4140)
A comprehensive treatment of global environmental factors affecting coastal marine systems, including climate change, sea-level rise, alterations in freshwater and sediment transport, disturbance and habitat loss, overfishing, alien species, and eutrophication. Includes case studies providing real-world examples, and detailed reviews of the evidence of changes and possible solutions.

Estuarine Ecology (EVEC 4110)
An interdisciplinary course covering the physical, biogeochemical and ecological aspects of coastal estuaries.