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Colleen Mercer-Clarke, PhD

Using landscape ecology to understand changing patterns of land use and its effects on the sustainability of coastal ecosystems

Colleen Mercer-Clarke, PhD
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Colleen is an experienced marine ecologist (M. Sc. Memorial 1976) and landscape architect (M .L. Arch. Guelph, 1987), with over 30 years in private sector practice as an environmental consultant and senior project manager. Currently she is at work mobilizing scientific knowledge on climate change for use in improving our understanding of impacts to coastal environments and in mobilizing the adaptation planning of coastal communities in Canada and the Caribbean.

Shannon Bard

Dalhousie Umiversity


Ecosystem Function, EF-02: Developing Indicators to Assess Coastal Ecosystem Health

The project examined the ration of land use categories in selected watersheds on the Atlantic shore of Nova Scotia, and using GIS, related these ratios, as well as other point sources for nutrient loading, to the concentrations of nutrients in nearshore coastal waters.

The PhD aims were to:

• improve knowledge of the state of information on marine environments in Canada;

• challenge current societal expectations that coastal marine waters were relatively pristine;

• link human activities on the land to coastal contamination and coastal change.

This project was directly related to the CHONe objectives of Ecosystem Function: determining how ecosystem function and health are linked to biodiversity and agents of disturbance, including natural and anthropogenic sources,

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