Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]

Center for

Environment & Society

Ruth Kelty

Center Fellow, Center for Environment & Society


Ph.D., Marine Estuarine Environmental Ecology, University of Maryland, 2000.
B.A., Biology and Environmental Studies, Middlebury College, 1995.

Areas Of Interest

  • Science-based decision making
  • Multidisciplinary science
  • Marine ecology, especially coral reef ecology, invert physiology, and nutrient cycling
  • Coastal stewardship, governance, and management
  • Transfer of research to applications
  • Environmental sociology
  • Leadership and promoting diversity in the sciences
  • Teaching

Career Highlights

My office’s mission is to provide the scientific basis for managing coastal and ocean ecosystems. I work in the headquarters office, integrating research across scientific disciplines and providing a link between the science conducted in Federal, university, and industry labs and the information needs of coastal decision-makers. Working with Federal partners and regional managers, I assess and address management needs - usually by integrating technical information to predict the social, economic, and ecological implications of potential management decisions. Ongoing projects address mercury contamination in the Gulf of Mexico, shoreline modification and dock management, cumulative impact assessment, research needs for coral reef ecosystem management, and better measures of land-based pollution. I also conduct applied research on bioindicators of ecosystem health, manage grant programs and research projects, and sneak away to help with as many coral cruises as possible.

Favorite Activities

I enjoy running, hiking, gardening, paddling, skiing, eating, biking, diving, and playing with my husband Ryan and daughter Taylor. We also spend a lot of time building and fixing things around the house.

Favorite Travel Destinations

Anywhere safe and uncrowded with clean drinking water, good food, friendly people, and new experiences/sites. Warm water is a bonus. Recent favorites include Chincoteague, VA, Bristol Bay, AK, National Parks in Swaziland and South Africa, Hudson Valley, NY, Rotan, Honduras, and parts of China (great food!).

Recommended Reading

  • The Economist
  • Good to Great, Jim Collins
  • Wild Swans: Three daughters of China, Jung Chang
  • The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell