Bertness Lab Mark Bertness Lablogo
Coastal Ecology and Conservation at Brown University


Human impacts on coastal ecosystems

We are more broadly interested in elucidating the general impact of human disturbances on coastal systems and how this is impacting the structure, function and ability of coastal ecosystems to provide ecosystem services. Our work in this area has recently included elucidating mechanistically how shoreline development affects the structure of shoreline communities, experimentally examining in the field how climate change will affect salt marsh community structure and services, and examining mechanisms determining the invisibility of coastal systems to invasive species.

Conceptual model for human impacts

Conceptual model of the impact of shoreline development on the structure of New England salt marsh structure.


Bertness, M.D., P. Ewanchuk, and B.R. Silliman. 2002. Anthropogenic modification of New England salt marsh landscapes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 99 (3): 1395-1398.

Holdredge, C, Bertness, MD,  von Wettberg, E. and Silliman, BR. 2010. Nutrient enrichment enhances hidden differences in phenotype to drive a cryptic plant invasion. Oikos 164: 479-487.

Gedan, KB, BR Silliman and MD Bertness. 2009. Centuries of human-driven change in salt marsh ecosystems. Annual Review of Marine Science 1: 117-141.

Gedan, K. B. and M. D. Bertness. 2009. Experimental warming causes rapid loss of plant diversity in New England salt marshes. Ecology Letters 12: 842-848.