Summary of Qualifications

Trained as an ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist, I have a wide range of interests focused on understanding and protecting the natural environment. I explore innovative conservation opportunities including the role of ecosystem service valuation and environmental markets in conservation efforts and in U.S. policies and programs (see, for example, Polefka and Sutton-Grier 2016, Schaefer et al. 2015, Sutton-Grier et al. 2014).

In my recent position as research faculty at University of Maryland and the National Ocean Service Ecosystem Science Adviser at NOAA, I focused on opportunities to improve coastal ecosystem and human community resilience to climate change. To hear more about this work, listen to the recent webinar I gave on global coastal and ocean stressors and what we can do about it. My research includes increasing the use of natural and hybrid infrastructure in coastal planning and decision making (Sutton-Grier et al. 2015) and this paper won the 2016 Ecological Society of America "Innovation in Sustainability Science" award.

I, also, have been examining the role of environmental stressors, including natural or technological disasters, on ecosystem services and how this impacts human health (Sandifer et al., 2017, Sandifer and Sutton-Grier 2014) and the role that nature and biodiversity exposure play in human health and well-being (Sandifer and Sutton-Grier et al. 2015). I have also examined the impacts of derelict traps on coastal ecosystems and species (Arthur and Sutton-Grier et al. 2014) and measured the impact restoration projects have on local economies (Edwards et al. 2012).

I have also focused on using coastal carbon services (the blue carbon stored in coastal ecosystems) to further habitat protection and restoration efforts, while also mitigating climate change. Most recently I worked on a paper that compares the climate mitigation role of different coastal ecosytsems and concludes that coastl wetlands are the best place to focus climate mitigation efforts (Howard and Sutton-Grier et al. 2017). Listen to the Restore America's Estuaries podcast about the paper results. Also, listen to my recent interview for the radio show "Ocean Currents" and my National Ocean Service podcast. My blue carbon work also has included an analysis of how carbon services can be incoporated into U.S. federal policies (see Sutton-Grier and Moore 2016, Sutton-Grier et al. 2014, Pendleton et al. 2013) and into international projects to support ecosystem conservation and community livelihoods (see Wylie et al. 2016).

In addition, I continue to have a strong interest in mentoring and how to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in science. I find balancing all of these interests immensely fun and rewarding.


Director of Science, The MD/DC Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. May 2017-Present
Associate Research Professor, University of Maryland Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, June 2017-Present
Assistant Research Scientist , University of Maryland Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, 2014-May, 2017
Environmental Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, 2012-2014
AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Habitat Conservation, 2010-2012
Adjunct Faculty, Goucher College, Towson, MD, teaching "BIO 240: Ecology and Evolution," Fall 2009
Smithsonian Fellow, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 2008-2010


Ph.D., Ecology. Duke University, 2008.
B.S., Environmental Science. Oregon State University, 2000.
B.A., International Studies. Oregon State University, 2000.

Research Interests

Ecosystem ecology and restoration, ecosystem services and environmental markets, coastal science and policy, biogeochemistry, biodiversity and ecosystem function, climate change


* Denotes undergraduate or post-baccalaureate mentee
+ Denotes co-first authored publication

*Wellman, E., A. Sutton-Grier+, M. Imholt+, and A. Domanski+. 2017. Catching a wave? A Case Study on Incorporating Storm Protection Benefits into Habitat Equivalency Analysis. Marine Policy 83:118-125. DOI.

Sandifer, P., L. Knapp, T. Collier, A. Jones, R. Juster, C. Kelble, R. Kwok, J. Miglarese, L. Palinkas, D. Porter, G. Scott, L. Smith, W. Sullivan, and A. Sutton-Grier. 2017. A conceptual model to assess stress-associated health effects of multiple ecosystem services degraded by disaster events in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. Geohealth 1: 1-20.

Howard, J., A.E. Sutton-Grier+, D. Herr, J. Kleypas, E. Landis, E. Mcleod, E. Pidgeon, S. Simpson. 2017. Clarifying the role of coastal and marine systems in climate mitigationFrontiers in Ecology and Environment.15(1):42-50. DOI.

Polefka, S. and A.E. Sutton-Grier+.  2016. Making ecosystem services part of
business as usual in federal governance.
  Frontiers in Ecology and Environment. 14(4):175. DOI.

Sutton-Grier, A.E. and A. Moore. 2016.  Leveraging Carbon Services of Coastal Ecosystems for Habitat Protection and Restoration.  Coastal Management.44(3):259-277. DOI.

*Wylie, L., A.E. Sutton-Grier, and A. Moore. 2016. Keys to successful blue carbon projects: Lessons learned from global case studies. Marine Policy. 65:76-84. DOI.

Funk, J.L, Larson, J.E., Ames, G.M., Butterfield, B.J., Cavender-Bares, J., Firn, J., Laughlin, D.C., Sutton-Grier, A.E., Williams, L. and J. Wright. 2016. Revisiting the Holy Grail: using plant functional traits to understand ecological processes. Biological Reviews. DOI.

Sutton-Grier, A.E., K. Wowk, and H. Bamford. 2015. Future of our coasts: The Potential for Natural and Hybrid Infrastructure to Enhance the Resilience of Our Coastal Communities, Economies and Ecosystems. Environmental Science and Policy. 51:137-148.  DOI.

Schaefer, M., E. Goldman, A. Bartuska, A.E. Sutton-Grier, and J. Lubchenco. 2015. Nature as capital: Advancing and incorporating ecosystem services in United States federal policies and programs. Proceedings of the National Academcy of Sciences. 112 (24):7383-7389. (also see the full issue on Nature as Capital)

Sandifer, P.A., A.E. Sutton-Grier+, and B.P. Ward. 2015. Exploring connections among nature, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human health and well-being: Opportunities to enhance health and biodiversity conservation. Ecosystem Services. 12:1-15.

Arthur, C., A.E. Sutton-Grier+, P. Murphy, and H,. Bamford. 2014.  Out of sight but not out of mind: Harmful effects of derelict traps in selected U.S. coastal waters.  Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Sandifer, P. and A.E. Sutton-Grier. 2014. Connecting stressors, ocean ecosystem services, and human health. Natural Resources Forum. DOI

Sutton-Grier, A.E., A.K. Moore, P.C. Wiley, and P.E.T. Edwards. 2014. Incorporating ecosystem carbon into U.S. federal policies: A "win-win" for climate and coastal habitat conservation. National Wetlands Newsletter. 36(1):14-17.

Sutton-Grier, A.E., A.K. Moore, P.C. Wiley, and P.E.T. Edwards. 2014. Incorporating ecosystem services into the implementation of existing U.S. natural resource management regulations: The case for carbon sequestration and storage. Marine Policy. 43:246-253. DOI

Sutton-Grier, A.E. Contributed to: Assessing Ecological Integrity Across Jurisdictional Boundaries. Report Available Online. Defenders of Wildlife and Oregon State University.

Pendleton, L.H., A.E. Sutton-Grier+, D.R. Gordon, B.C. Murray, B.E. Victor, R.B. Griffis, J.A.V. Lechuga, and C. Giri. 2013.  Considering “Coastal Carbon” in Existing U.S. Federal Statutes and Policies.  Coastal Management. 41:439-456. DOI

Sutton-Grier, A.E., J. Wright, and C. Richardson. 2012.  Different plant traits affect two pathways of riparian nitrogen removal in a restored freshwater wetland. Plant and Soil. 365:41-57. DOI

Edwards, P., A.E. Sutton-Grier, and G. Coyle*. 2012.  Investing in Nature: Restoring Coastal Habitat Blue Infrastructure and Green Job Creation.  Marine Policy. 38:65-71. DOI

Keller, J., A.E. Sutton-Grier, A. Bullock*, and J.P. Megonigal. 2012.  Anaerobic metabolism in tidal freshwater wetlands: I. Plant removal effects on iron reduction and methanogenesis.  Estuaries and Coasts. 36(3):457-470. DOI

Emerson, D., W. Bellows, J. Keller, C. Moyer, A.E. Sutton-Grier, and J.P. Megonigal. 2012.  Anaerobic metabolism in tidal freshwater wetlands: II. Effects of plant removal on Archaeal microbial communities.  Estuaries and Coasts. 36(3):471-481. DOI

*Bullock, A., A. E. Sutton-Grier, and J.P. Megonigal.  2012.  Anaerobic metabolism in tidal freshwater wetlands: III. Temperature regulation of iron cycling. Estuaries and Coasts. 36(3):482-490. DOI

Wright, J. P., and A. E. Sutton-Grier. 2012. Does the leaf economic spectrum hold within local species pools across varying environmental conditions? Functional Ecology 26:1390-1398. DOI

Sutton-Grier, A.E., J. Keller, R. Koch*, C. Gilmour, and J.P. Megonigal.  2011.  Electron donors and acceptors influence anaerobic soil organic matter mineralization in tidal marshes.  Soil Biology and Biochemistry.  43: 1576-1583. DOI

Sutton-Grier, A.E. and J.P. Megonigal.  2011.  Plant species traits regulate methane production in freshwater wetland soils.  Soil Biology and Biochemistry 43:412-420. DOI

Sutton-Grier, A.E., J. Wright, B. McGill*, and C. Richardson.  2011. Environmental conditions influence the plant functional diversity effect on denitrification potential.  PLoS ONE 6(2): e16584. DOI

Unghire, J.M.*, A.E. Sutton-Grier, N. Flanagan, and C. Richardson.  2011.  Spatial Impacts of Stream and Wetland Restoration on Riparian Soil Properties in the North Carolina Piedmont.  Restoration Ecology 19(6):738-746. DOI 

Brantley, S.L., J.P. Megonigal, F.N. Scatena, Z. Balogh-Brunstad, R.T. Barnes, M.A. Bruns, P. van Cappellen, K. Dontsova, H. Harntnett, T. Hartshorn, A. Heimsath, E. Herndon, L. Jin, C. K. Keller, J.R. Leake, W.H. McDowell, F.C. Meinzer, T.J. Mozdzer, S.Petsch, J. Pett-Ridge, K.S. Pregitzer, P. Raymond, C.S. Riebe, K. Shumaker, A. Sutton-Grier, R. Walter, and K. Yoo.  2011.  Twelve Testable Hypotheses on the Geobiology of Weathering.  Geobiology 9(2):140-165. DOI

Sutton-Grier, A.E., M. Kenney, and C.J. Richardson. 2010. Examining the relationship between ecosystem structure and function using structural equation modeling: A case study examining denitrification potential in restored wetlands. Ecological Modelling. 221:761-768. DOI

McGill, B.M.*, A.E. Sutton-Grier, and J. P. Wright.  2010. Plant trait diversity buffers variability in denitrification potential over changes in season and soil conditionsPLoS One 5(7): e11618. DOI

Smith, Z. and A.E. Sutton-Grier. 2010. Making the Most of Your Postdoc. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Published online July 16, 2010.

Sutton-Grier, A.E., M. Ho, and C.J. Richardson. 2009. Organic amendments improve soil conditions and denitrification in a restored riparian wetland. Wetlands. 29:343-352. DOI

Kenney, M.A., A.E. Sutton-Grier, R. Smith, and S. Gresens. 2009. Benthic macroinvertebrates as indicators of water quality: the intersection of science and policy. Terrestrial Arthopod Review. 2(2):99-128. DOI

Freidenburg, T.L., B.A. Menge, P.M. Halpin, M. Webster, and A.E. Sutton-Grier. (2007). Cross-scale variation in top-down and bottom-up control of algal abundance. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology(2). 347:8-29. DOI

Sutton-Grier, A.E. & M.A. Kenney. (2005). Recruiters and Academia: A Class Act. Nature. 436:886.




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