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Executive Director for TNC's Caribbean Division
Dr. Rob Brumbaugh - Executive Director for TNC's Caribbean Division © TNC

Our People

Rob Brumbaugh

Executive Director, Caribbean Division


  • Areas of Expertise

    Marine spatial planning, habitat restoration, fisheries, ecosystem services, coastal resilience


Dr. Rob Brumbaugh joined The Nature Conservancy in 2004 and is currently the Executive Director for the Caribbean Division. In his more than 15 years with the organization, he has served in several other roles, including Senior Marine Scientist for the Florida Chapter and Global Ocean Management and Habitat Restoration Lead on the Global Ocean Team.

With 25 years of experience directing multi-national conservation programs, Rob excels in partnership development and is a talented leader of globally dispersed, high-performing teams. He conceived and led the development of The Nature Conservancy and partners’ Mapping Ocean Wealth Initiative, which won a World Travel & Tourism Council Innovation Award, and helped shape the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project, which informs large-scale marine planning in waters throughout the Eastern Caribbean.

A central focus of Rob’s career has been the quantification and mapping of marine and coastal ecosystem benefits that support economic and community well-being through fish production, water security, carbon storage, storm protection and tourism value. This work guides The Nature Conservancy and partners in defining strategies for the conservation, restoration and management of critical ecosystems like coral reefs, mangrove forests and seagrass meadows.

Rob earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in oceanography from Old Dominion University, holds a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license, and is a certified member of The Nature Conservancy’s Scientific Diving Program through the American Academy of Underwater Sciences.

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Fitzsimons, J.A., S. Branigan, C.L. Gillies, R.D. Brumbaugh, J. Cheng, B.M. DeAngelis, L. Geselbracht, B. Hancock, A. Jeffs, T. McDonald, I. McLeod, B. Pogoda, S. Theuerkauf, M. Thomas, S. Westby, and P.S.E. zu Ermgassen (2020) Restoring shellfish reefs: global guidelines for practitioners and scientists. Cons Science and Practice.

Posner, S., E. Fenichel, D. McCauley, K. Biedenweg, R. Brumbaugh, C. Costello, F. Joyce, E. Goldman, and H. Mannix (2019) Boundary spanning among research and policy communities to address the emerging industrial revolution in the ocean. Env. Science and Policy 104: 73-81.

Spalding, M., I. Meliane, N. Bennett, P. Dearden, P. Patil, and R. Brumbaugh (2016) Building towards the marine conservation end-game: consolidating the role of MPAs in a future ocean. Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 26 (Suppl. 2): 185–199.

Spalding, M.D., R.D. Brumbaugh, and E. Landis (2016) Atlas of Ocean Wealth. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. 108pp.

zu Ermgassen, P., Hancock, B., DeAngelis, B., Greene, J., Schuster, E., Spalding, M., and Brumbaugh, R (2016) Setting objectives for oyster habitat restoration using ecosystem services: A manager’s guide. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington VA. 76pp.

zu Ermgassen, P., M.Spalding, B.Blake, L.Coen, B.Dumbauld, S.Gieger, J.Grabowski, R.Grizzle, M.Luckenbach, K.McGraw, W. Rodney, J.Reusink, S.Powers and R.Brumbaugh (2012) Historical ecology with real numbers: past and present extent and biomass of an imperiled estuarine habitat. Proc. of the Royal Society B.

Beck, M.W., R.D. Brumbaugh, L. Airoldi, A. Carranza, L.D. Coen, C. Crawford, O. Defeo, G. Edgar, B. Hancock, M. Kay, H. Lenihan, M. Luckenbach, C. Toropova, G. Zhang and X. Guo (2011) Oyster reefs at risk and recommendations for conservation, restoration and management. Bioscience 61(2): 107-116.

Brumbaugh, R.D. and C. Toropova (2008) Economic valuation of ecosystem services: A new impetus for shellfish restoration? Basins and Coasts News 2(2): 8-15. USAID/IMCAFS.