Dr. Linda Deegan grew up fishing with her parents and has traveled the globe seeking fish, from tetras in the Amazon to grayling in the Arctic, and bluefish in New England. Her work addresses the fundamental question of how environments support the plants and animals that live there, and how human impacts on habitat, nutrients, and climate are disrupting these connections. She is particularly interested in aquatic ecosystems because of their importance in connecting landscape elements through the flow of water, nutrients, and animals.
Dr. Deegan is a strong proponent of long-term monitoring and whole-ecosystem experiments. For eighteen years, she has led The Tide Project, the world’s only ecosystem-scale nutrient addition experiment, based in the Plum Island Estuary system. This initiative has yielded important insights into the impacts of excess nitrogen on the physical stability and ecosystem functioning of salt marshes. More recently, Dr. Deegan has begun testing the impact of phosphorus on streams in the Amazon to better understand how the impact of agricultural expansion.
Dr. Deegan volunteers with the Coonamesset River Trust, working to restore local cranberry bogs to habitat for native herring and educating students about fish migration and conservation. While she says she still lives to fish, she also enjoys gardening and walking in the woods.