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Rob Brumbaugh

Rob Brumbaugh

Senior Marine Scientist

Dr. Rob Brumbaugh is a Senior Marine Scientist at The Nature Conservancy (TNC). In this capacity, he leads an initiative called Mapping Ocean Wealth to develop new scientific approaches for mapping ecosystem services associated with important ocean habitats like coral reefs, marshes, mangroves and oyster reefs.  This kind new ocean information, in turn, is key for making smart investment decisions for conservation and economic development by the private and public sectors through ocean zoning, or Marine Spatial Planning. As part of The Nature Conservancy's Global Oceans Team, he provides guidance to organization’s state, country and regional programs on implementation of large-scale ocean management governance frameworks, and leads a team of scientists who focus on facilitating site-based habitat restoration and conservation of coral reefs, submerged sea grass meadows, oyster reefs, mangroves, marshes and riparian habitats. He is integrally involved with TNC’s work on the Global Partnership for Oceans, initiated by the World Bank in 2012, which seeks to halve the rate of marine habitat loss and dramatically increase the level of ocean protection by 2020.
Rob has more than 20 years of experience working in environmental consulting and marine conservation, and has worked for TNC since 2004. Throughout his career, he has focused on using science-based approaches to advance marine policy and implementation of watershed management for conservation of estuaries and near-shore marine habitats. He holds a doctorate in biological oceanography with an emphasis on interaction between ocean currents, biology of fish and invertebrates, and the habitats that support their earliest life stages.



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

Spalding, M.D., Brumbaugh, R.D. & Landis, E. (2016). Atlas of ocean wealth. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA.


Ermgassen, P.S.E.Z., Spalding, M.D., Grizzle, R.E. & Brumbaugh, R.D. (2013). Quantifying the loss of a marine ecosystem service: filtration by the eastern oyster in US estuaries. Estuaries and Coasts, 36, 36–43.


Grabowski, J.H., Brumbaugh, R.D., Conrad, R.F., Keeler, A.G., Opaluch, J.J., Peterson, C.H., Piehler, M.F., Powers, S.P. & Smyth, A.R. (2012). Economic valuation of ecosystem services provided by oyster reefs. BioScience, 62, 900–909.

Ermgassen, P.S.E.Z., Spalding, M.D., Blake, B., Coen, L.D., Dumbauld, B., Geiger, S., Grabowski, J.H., Grizzle, R., Luckenbach, M., McGraw, K., Rodney, W., Ruesink, J.L., Powers, S.P. & Brumbaugh, R. (2012). Historical ecology with real numbers: past and present extent and biomass of an imperilled estuarine habitat. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 279, 3393–3400.


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

Brumbaugh, R.D., Beck, M.W., Hancock, B., Meadows, A.W., Spalding, M. & zu Ermgassen, P. (2011). Changing a management paradigm and rescuing a globally imperiled habitat. National Wetlands Newsletter, 32, 16.


Brumbaugh, R.D. & Coen, L.D. (2009). Contemporary approaches for small-scale oyster reef restoration to address substrate versus recruitment limitation: a review and comments relevant for the Olympia oyster, Ostrea lurida Carpenter 1864. Journal of Shellfish Research, 28, 147–161.


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

Rob Brumbaugh

Senior Marine Scientist


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