Thesis defense this Thursday

All are welcome to attend my defense on Thursday morning. The working abstract is below.

Date: June 12, 2014

Department: Earth and Environment

Time: 10:00 a.m.

Major Professor: Dr. Pallab Mozumder

Place: ECS 349, main campus of Florida International University



Stakeholder Perceptions and Preferences for Coral Reef Restoration and Sustainable Resource Management

by James W. Harper

The Florida Reef and associated human community form a unique socio-ecological system. While this system represents great value to society, it is exposed to high levels of vulnerability. Despite intense study of its elements, the system lacks conceptual integrity, its management is fragmented, and user valuation remains unclear. A survey using contingent valuation methods investigated stakeholders’ attitudes and how much they are willing to pay for sustainable seafood, coral reef restoration, and research funding for coral reefs in southeastern Florida. Respondents expressed angst about climate change and reef conditions, and they connected reef degradation to land-based pollution and water quality. Regression analysis revealed status (income, education) as weak, indirect predictors of behavior, age as a moderating influence, and environmental and emotive factors as strong, direct predictors. One’s relative attachment to ecosystems, such as coral reefs, is theorized as a motivation that displaces the expectations of traditional economic theory.

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