Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography & ODU Resilience Collaborative

Spring 2017 Seminar Series


Christine Avenarius
East Carolina University

Monday, January 23, 2017
3:30 PM
Conference Center, Innovation Resarch Building II
4211 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23508


Many communities along the Mid-Atlantic coastline of the United States experienced severe devastation from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. A suite of hard and soft management options can protect coastal communities in the event of a storm, but there are caveats associated with each, making their use debated among local residents, town managers, and politicians. Some stakeholders recognize nature-based man-made dunes as the most economically feasible and realistically adoptable long-term solution to coastal stabilization. Others consider the encroachment on their properties unacceptable or would like to see investment in hardened structures. To learn who knows what about the purpose of dunes and other coastal management strategies, we designed a two-phase research project collecting opinions about best practices in coastal management among more than 350 residents of Ocean and Monmouth County, NJ. This presentation discusses the implications of our findings for community supported adoption of suitable management practices and suggests strategies for outreach and community engagement in New Jersey and other locations along the Eastern Seaboard to strengthen future efforts in facilitating long-term coastal resiliency.


Christine Avenarius is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at East Carolina University (ECU). She received her PhD in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Cologne in Germany and studied social network analysis at the University of California, Irvine. Her interest in understanding social and cultural change in reference to the interrelation between human cognition and social network structures has brought her from studies of immigrant integration processes in the US, China, and Namibia to the exploration of climate change and sea level rise perception among residents of North Carolina and New Jersey. She serves as the scholarship of engagement coach for faculty research projects at the ECU Engagement and Outreach Academy, mentors undergraduate students conducting public service projects, and is a collaborator on several interdisciplinary projects addressing climate change adaptation throughout Eastern North Carolina.

Reception before seminar at 3:00 PM

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