Kristy Lewis

  • Assistant Professor
  • University of Rhode Island: Graduate School of Oceanography
  • Email:


I am a biological oceanographer using geospatial and ecosystem modeling approaches to investigate how global change impacts marine food webs and the coastal communities who live there. My lab approaches these climate-driven challenges through a transdisciplinary oceanography lens. By its very nature, transdisciplinary science focuses on ecosystem resilience and environmental justice collectively with Indigenous groups, governmental agencies, and other local community members. I work across discipline and difference with physical, chemical and geological oceanographers as well as social scientists, hazard geographers, natural resource economists and archaeologists to accelerate innovation to address our most pressing climate- and human-driven disturbances on our coasts. Using action science and the co-production of knowledge as a framework, I employ advanced modeling approaches, which integrate long-term ecological, remotely-sensed, community-based participatory, economic and environmental data. This combined approach allows me to act as a boundary spanner across disparate types of data and disciplines to address our most complex coastal challenges. In all my research, I aim to understand the mechanisms behind changes seen in coastal systems, develop methodologies to advance scientific theory and adaptively manage ecosystems, and then ground the truth of those methods by validating them with local ecological knowledge and observations from field surveys and experiments. In every aspect of my research, I am driven by the following question: how can I create a culture of mentorship and inclusion to lead and train a diverse cohort of researchers who have historically been underrepresented and excluded?