Paula Whitfield

Environmental Compliance Coordinator & Research Ecologist
NCCOS Program Office and Headquarters
Program Coordination and Communications

Whitfield currently serves as the environmental compliance coordinator and is a research ecologist advancing NCCOS’s Coastal Change priority with emphasis on conducting the science to inform implementation of natural and nature-based features for coastal resilience.

Whitfield has twenty-five years of experience as a scientist at the Beaufort Laboratory conducting ecology-based research on temperate and tropical seagrasses, and coral and temperate reefs. Investigations include disturbance and recovery dynamics and restoration of seagrasses, Indo-Pacific lionfish ecological impacts, winter water temperature control of temperate reef fish/invertebrate communities and development of seagrass and coral reef recovery models. In recent years, she has also worked as NCCOS’s environmental compliance coordinator, supporting environmental compliance for science and facilities related actions. She has 46 science publications, ten as first author. More recently, Whitfield has been working to advance the Coastal Change priority, by building partnerships and conducting the science to inform the implementation of natural and nature-based features for coastal resilience. Two projects of interest are the publication of the International Natural and Nature-based Features Guidelines and performance monitoring of the Swan Island restoration.  

Whitfield received a BS in Biology from George Mason University in 1990 and her Masters in Marine Science from the University of North Carolina - Wilmington in 2002.


NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

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