Researcher of the Week: Amy Bainbridge

Amy Bainbridge is a graduate student interested in ocean and coastal resource assessment, resource economics, econometric modeling, and GIS analysis, currently working under SEANET Theme Four, Human Dimensions. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English-Professional Writing, from The Ohio State University, and her Bachelor of Arts in Economics, from the University of Central Florida, and is currently in her first year of graduate studies at the University of Maine.

While virtually attending the 2015 Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW), an annual conference in Washington D.C. dedicated to examining current marine, coastal, and Great Lakes policy issues, Amy found herself inspired by the story of Marine Ecologist Dr. Jeremy Jackson as he recounted his eye opening trip to the Arctic. In his account of that experience, Jackson expressed that he felt little could survive the ecological consequences of environmental changes. The reasoning for which was further implicated to Amy when President Obama’s Science Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Dr. John P. Holdren, reminded attendees of the popular idea “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” From there, Amy was inspired to focus her work on assigning value to resources in order to effectively manage and sustain them, and further decided that in order accomplish that goal she should go to graduate school. So, Amy applied to programs that emphasized Resource Economics with a focus on ocean and coastal policy, and thus she was brought to Maine.

In her graduate studies, Amy explores mechanisms through which the aquaculture industry impacts property values across Maine in areas such as the Penobscot, Damariscotta, and Casco Bays. This research is conducted through the use of property transactions data, a 3D viewshed analysis, and other spatial analytic tools that together provide an in depth econometrics analysis for the state of Maine. Using her interdisciplinary background, Amy works towards developing analytical methods grounded in environmental, political, and natural science expertise in order to advise policy for government and commercial entities. Amy strongly believes that the type of collaborative and interdisciplinary work that she, and SEANET as a whole, thrive on is crucial to ocean conservation.

“We need educators, lawyers, natural scientists, and social scientists in order to develop and discuss solutions together, using various tools, insights, skills, and experience,” Amy says.

After graduate school, Amy plans to start her own small business that applies the latest technology in econometric modeling and GIS analysis to complex economic issues, with a focus on ocean and coastal resources, policy, and species assessment.