Welcome to the Social-Ecological Sustainability Lab of Assistant Professor Steven Scyphers

We study coastal development, fisheries management, and climate adaptation. From a social-ecological systems perspective, our interdisciplinary research is problem-and-solution focused and strives to develop strategies for sustaining both coastal ecosystems and societies.



Congrats to Dr. Kelsi Furman & Dr. Kiera O'Donnell! Both Kelsi and Kiera recently defended their PhD's and are headed off to wonderful postdoc positions! Kelsi defended her dissertation on"Social Equity in Fisheries and Coastal Management" and has headed out to Juneau, Alaska to join NOAA Fisheries. Kiera defended PhD work on the "Landscape and Social Context of Hurricane Impacts and Recovery" and is headed down to Duke University to start a postdoc position studying sea level rise.  We're super proud and going to miss you both!!

New  Project on Gulf of Mexico Mangroves funded by National Academies of Sciences!  Through a new grant from the NAS Gulf Research Program, we are collaborating with the Hughes Lab, the Nature Conservancy, and USGS to study the mangroves as a coupled natural-human system in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Steven joins National Academies of Sciences Committee on Recreational Fisheries.  With a task of reviewing "Data and Management Strategies for Recreational Fisheries with Annual Catch Limits", Steven was recently appointed to a National Academies of Sciences consensus commitee. You can read more about the committee's work here.

New Collaborative Modeling Project funded by NOAA Adaptation Sciences (AdSci)! With a large team of collaborators and community partners, we've received a $300k grant to develop collaborative models on the benefits, consequences, and trade-offs of mangroves and seawalls for coastal communities in the Florida Keys. 

New  Human Dimensions of Fisheries Projects! With  funding from NOAA  &  Sea Grant, we're  launching 3 new projects on Greater Amberjack, depredation, and effective engagement and outreach in fisheries science and management. 

What We Study

Image Image

Collaborative Science

The complex dynamics and sustainability challenges of coastal SES cannot be fully understood or solved without effectively integrating communities and key stakeholders. Our research has focused on understanding the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of public participation in science and management. We are particularly interested in participatory modeling and conservation.


Along coastlines, coastal societies and marine ecosystems represent highly dynamic and critically important social-ecological systems (SES). Our research focuses on understanding the context and consequences of coastal management decisions, with an emphasis on natural, built, and hybrid shorelines.

Image Image

Image Image


Marine and coastal fisheries, another highly dynamic and important SES, support diverse livelihoods, recreational opportunities, and food security. Our research focuses on the human dimensions of fisheries, and we are particularly focused on understanding influences on fishing behavior and the social impacts of fisheries management actions.


On the front lines of diverse natural and technological hazards, coastal communities are uniquely prone to disasters. Our research has focused on understanding how social-ecological dynamics influence vulnerability, resilience, and recovery. These studies have included the BP Oil Spill, Northeast U.S. groundfish fishery failure, Apalachicola Bay ecosystem collapse, and the impacts of hurricanes on coastal communities. Our most recent work focuses on the impacts of Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys and St. Maarten.

Image Image