Kat Beheshti will graduate with a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2021. Her graduate research evaluated 1) how to best restore eelgrass habitat in a highly modified estuary and the ecosystem benefits of restoration success and 2) the relative importance of physical and biological factors in driving marsh recovery or loss along vulnerable salt marsh zones, prone to degradation. Through this work, Kat partnered closely with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, where she continues to contribute to research and outreach.
During her fellowship, Beheshti will be working on the Climate Change Program of the California Ocean Protection Council. Here she will serve to uphold the Ocean Protection Councils 2020 Strategic Plan by supporting OPC's efforts in mitigating and adapting to ocean acidification and sea-level rise through coordination with other state agencies. As an experimental field ecologist and champion for science communication and public outreach she hopes to bring these experiences to her fellowship, as she enters the nexus of science and policy.