The science of climate-related “disaster-ology”

June 14, 2008

rtr520r_comp.jpg Deborah Brosnan swears she doesn’t court disaster. But it does seem to follow her around and she has cultivated expertise in what might be called environmental “disaster-ology.”

A marine biologist who specializes in the impact of natural disasters on ecosystems and people, Brosnan narrowly survived a plane crash after working on coral reefs in Asia and a volcanic eruption on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.

“I was out studying coral reefs, so I was even underwater and the mountain blew on me,” she wrote of her run-in with the volcano. “But being positive — it gave me a lot of information on how exploited ecosystems cope with these events and what it means for humans, knowledge we can put to good use.”

She turned disaster into opportunity earlier in her career after a major storm wiped out the mussels she was studying for her doctoral thesis.

“I thought it was a total disaster for my thesis … and then I thought, wow, here was an opportunity to find out how systems respond and to see what happens to the whole ecology of the shore.”

She is the founder and president of Sustainable Ecosystems Institute, an Oregon-based ecological organization of scientists and others. Read about her work in the world’s river deltas — which she sees as at high risk from natural disasters spurred by climate change — here.

4 comments

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want to know much more from her experiences during her research on ecosystems and even regarding the sustainable ecosystems(i can get them in the internet),i want her views..the way she sees it..it would be kind enough for her to write me in detail on this regard

Posted by vish | Report as abusive

Sounds incredible. Any disaster can be a blessing in disguise if only you know how to look at it.

Dagny
http://www.onnotextiles.com
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This is all horrendously misleading. When the title of a piece is “The Science of Climate-related Diaster-ology” I would expect something to back up the climate related aspect of natural disasters. This is distinctly lacking not only in this article but the one you link as well. It is written in the link that “even less intense storms could have severe effects” which makes me think that this has absolutely nothing to do with climate change if regular weather would lead to problems. Also the fact that people affected by natural disasters was up 46%in ’07 from ’06 is probably down to the fact that there were more of them. Also how many of those ’07 disasters can be attributed to anything regarding climate change, because unless CO2 is causing earthquakes now, I would be quite happy to put money on the fact that this statistic is totally irrelevant to what is being discussed. This is a shameful attempt to try and convince gullible people that we are all killing people who live near rivers on the other side of the world. If you are not convinced that this is wrong headed you just have to read Dagny’s comment where he says “Any disaster can be a blessing in disguise”. If you must try and make people believe this toss then at the very least please try and make it consistent.

Posted by Mik Osborne | Report as abusive

My friend is from montserrat and I was with her when we first say the volcano flows over her island. Deborah Brosnan sound like she has a very intersting job and I would like to know more about her work. I just blog about it but she lives it. I also agree with Mik Osborne I expected more from this article. Please try to interview her again and make it more informative.