Monica Moritsch

Blue Carbon Scientist


Areas of expertise:
Marine ecology, blue carbon ecosystems and coastal and marine climate resilience

Monica is investigating the feasibility of multiple ocean-based natural carbon solutions, including how seaweed farms can reduce greenhouse emissions and how much carbon is released during bottom trawling. She uses spatial modeling and GIS to explore the climate change mitigation potential of multiple marine-related greenhouse gas reduction solutions.


Monica joined EDF after working as a Research Ecologist for the U.S. Geological Survey where she modeled landscape-scale patterns in blue carbon sequestration with sea level rise. She also explored spatial patterns of coral reef resilience around Guam and American Samoa. Prior to that, she worked on similar topics as a postdoctoral scholar at Deakin University and University of California Santa Cruz and as a Geospatial Research Assistant with Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions.


PhD, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz

MS, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz

BS, Molecular Environmental Biology, University of California Berkeley



Collins, J.R., R.E. Boenish, K.M. Kleisner, D.N. Rader, R.M. Fujita, and M.M. Moritsch. 2022. Coastal natural climate solutions: an assessment of scientific knowledge surrounding pathways for carbon dioxide removal and avoided emissions in nearshore blue carbon ecosystems. Environmental Defense Fund, New York, NY.

Moritsch, M.M., K.B. Byrd, M. Davis, A. Good, J.Z. Drexler, J.T. Morris, I. Woo, et al. 2022. Can Coastal Habitats Rise to the Challenge? Resilience of Estuarine Habitats, Carbon Accumulation, and Economic Value to Sea-Level Rise in a Puget Sound Estuary. Estuaries and Coasts. In press. doi: 10.1007/s12237-022-01087-5

Wedding, L.M, S. Reiter, M.M. Moritsch, E. Hartge, J. Reiblich, D. Gourlie, and A. Guerry. 2022. Embedding the value of coastal ecosystem services into climate change adaptation planning. PeerJ, 10: e13463. doi: 10.7717/peerj.13463

Hernández-Blanco, M., M.M. Moritsch, M. Manrow, and L. Raes. 2022. Coastal Ecosystem Services Modeling in Latin America to Guide Conservation and Restoration Strategies: The Case of Mangroves in Guatemala and El Salvador. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 10: 843145. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2022.843145 

Duarte de Paula Costa, M., C.E. Lovelock, N.J. Waltham, M.M. Moritsch, D. Butler, T. Power, E. Thomas, and P.I. Macreadie. 2022. Modelling blue carbon farming opportunities at different spatial scales. Journal of Environmental Management, 301: 113813. doi: 10.1016/j.envman.2021.113813

Wilson, T., E. Matchett, K.B. Byrd, E. Conlisk, M.E. Reiter, C. Wallace, L.E. Flint, A.L. Flint, B. Joyce, and M.M. Moritsch. 2022. Climate and land change impacts on future managed wetland habitat: a case study from California’s Central Valley. Landscape Ecology, 37: 861–888. doi: 10.1007/s10980-021-01398-1

Moritsch. M.M., K.B. Byrd, M.J. Davis, A. Good, J.Z. Drexler, I. Woo, J.T. Morris, et al. 2022. Projected future habitat, elevation change, and carbon accumulation of coastal wetlands in the Nisqually River Delta, Washington. U.S. Geological Survey data release. doi: 10.5066/P9ONIUCK.

Moritsch, M.M., 2021. Favorability of environmental conditions for coral reefs in Guam and American Samoa under multiple climate scenarios. U.S. Geological Survey data release. doi: 10.5066/P9N32V3M

Moritsch, M.M., M. Young, P. Carnell, P.I. Macreadie, C. Lovelock, E. Nicholson, P.T. Raimondi, L.M. Wedding, and D. Ierodiaconou. 2021. Estimating blue carbon sequestration under coastal management scenarios. Science of the Total Environment, 777: 145962. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145962

Wedding, L.M., M.M. Moritsch, G. Verutes, K. Arkema, E. Hartge, J. Reiblich, J. Douglass, S. Tayor, A. Strong. 2021. Incorporating blue carbon sequestration benefits into sub-national climate policies. Global Enivronmental Change, 69: 102206. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2020.102206

Liu, J, B. Sleeter, P. Selmants, J. Diao, Q. Zhou, B. Worstell, and M.M. Moritsch. 2021. Modeling watershed carbon dynamics as affected by land cover change and soil erosion. Ecological Modeling, 459: 109724. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2021.109724

Raj, K. D., G. Aeby, G. Mathews, G. Williams, J. Caldwell, R. Laju, M. Selva Bharath, P. Dinesh Kumar, A. Arasamuth, N. G. Gnana Asir, L. Wedding, A. Davies, M. M. Moritsch, and J. Patterson Edward. Coral reef resilience differs among islands within the Gulf of Mannar, southeast India, following successive coral bleaching events. Coral Reefs, 40:1029–1044. doi: 10.1007/s00338-021-02102-0 

Moritsch, M.M. 2021. Expansion of intertidal mussel beds following disease-driven reduction of a keystone predator. Marine Environmental Research, 169: 105363. doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2021.105363

Aeby, G., E. Howells, T. Work, D. Abrego, G. Williams, L. Wedding, J. Caldwell, M.M. Moritsch, and J.A. Burt. 2020. Localized outbreaks of coral disease on Arabian reefs are linked to extreme temperatures and environmental stressors. Coral Reefs, 39: 829–846. doi: 10.1007/s00338-020-01928-4

Chung, A.E., L.M. Wedding, A. Meadows, M.M. Moritsch, M.K. Donovan, J. Gove, and C. Hunter. 2019. Prioritizing Reef Resilience through Spatial Planning following a Mass Coral Bleaching Event. Coral Reefs, 38: 837-850. doi: 10.1007/s00338-019-01812-w

Moritsch, M.M., L. Strope, and S.G. Crandall. 2019. Beach visitors understand environmental etiquette but do not know where to apply it: a survey of public awareness of marine reserves on the coast of Central California. Ocean and Coastal Management, 167: 104-114. doi: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2018.10.005

Moritsch, M.M., and P.T. Raimondi. 2018. Reduction and recovery of keystone predation pressure after disease-related mass mortality. Ecology and Evolution, 8(8): 3952-3964. doi: 10.1002/ece3.3953 

Palkovacs, E., M.M. Moritsch, G. Contolini, and F. Pelletier. 2018. Ecology of harvest-driven trait change and implications for ecosystem management. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 16(1): 20-28. doi: 10.1002/fee.1743

Crandall S.G., J. L. Ohayon, L.A. de Wit, J.E. Hammond, K.L. Melanson, M.M. Moritsch, R. Davenport, et al. 2018. Best practices: Social research methods to inform biological conservation. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 25(1): 6-23. doi: 10.1080/14486563.2017.1420499

Moritsch, M.M. 2018. Ecological Causes and Consequences of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome on the Pacific Coast. Doctoral dissertation. University of California, Santa Cruz. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Hughes, B., R. Beas-Luna, A. Barner, K. Brewitt, D. Brumbaugh, E. Cerny-Chipman, S. Close, … M.M. Moritsch [21/36]… M. Carr. 2017. Long-Term Studies Contribute Disproportionately to Ecology and Policy. Bioscience, 67(3): 271-281. doi: 10.1093/biosci/biw185

Fuess, L., M. Eisenlord, C. Closek, A. Tracy, R. Mauntz, S. Gignoux-Wolfsohn, M. Moritsch, R. Yoshioka, C. A. Burge, C.D. Harvell, C.S. Friedman, I. Hewson, P.K. Hershberger, and S. Roberts. 2015. Up in arms: Immune and nervous system response to sea star wasting disease. PLoS ONE, 10(7): e0133053. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0133053

Moritsch, M.M., J.M. Pakes, and D.R. Lindberg. 2014. How might sea level change affect arthropod biodiversity in anchialine caves: a comparison of Remipedia and Atyidae taxa (Arthropoda: Altocrustacea). Organism Diversity and Evolution, 14:2, 225-235. doi: 10.1007/s13127-014-0167-5