Rhode Island’s Wildlife Action Plan References AUNE Alumna’s Thesis Research

SASims (1)

Sally Ann Sims

The thesis research conducted by Sally Ann Sims (2012 MS, Environmental Studies, Conservation Biology) is referenced in the Vulnerable Habitats, Maritime Beaches/Beach Strand section of the 2015 Rhode Island Wildlife Action Plan. Her research modeled the consequences of sea level rise (SLR) over the next 100 years for the piping plover nesting habitat in the state, focusing on five mainland beaches used by the birds as breeding sites. Sally says, “In my thesis, I wanted to study birds and climate change in a way that would advance understanding of down-scaled climate impacts, effects on wildlife habitat, and implications for management across different land ownership types.”

Today, Sally is a an independent conservation and climate change adaptation consultant working with public agencies and NGOs on issues related to: wildlife/biodiversity conservation in a changing climate, salt marsh migration modeling relevance to management issues, and sea level rise and coastal resilience planning. Sally explains,  “I use what I learned from doing my thesis in my current work.” She credits the AUNE Conservation Biology program, “It encouraged me to put my piping plover and sea level rise research interest into a broader landscape ecology and global change science perspective, which launched my career direction.”

Piping plover and wave, Weekapaug Coast, Rhode Island, USA copyright Sally Ann Sims)

A piping plover on the Weekapaug Coast of Rhode Island.


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