Laura Rickard

Cooperating Faculty Member, Climate Change Institute and Aquaculture Research Institute

Research Interests:

  • Communication in the context of risk, health, science, and environmental issues
  • Attribution of responsibility
  • Perception of risk
  • Climate change communication
  • Human dimensions of natural resource-related issues



  • Ph.D. in Communication, Cornell University
  • M.S. in Communication, Cornell University
  • B.A. in Environmental Studies, Brown University

Courses Taught:

  • CMJ 404: Risk Communication
  • CMJ 608: Communication Theory
  • CMJ 610: Seminar in Risk Communication

Student Opportunities:

Dr. Rickard is currently accepting MA and Ph.D. students through the Department of Communication and Journalism.


Dr. Rickard’s research explores the role of communication in the context of science, health, environmental, and risk-based issues. She utilizes quantitative and qualitative methods, such as surveys, experiments, and interviews, to explore complex, applied communication questions, often with policy implications, and frequently with agency partners, such as the National Park Service, or Maine Sea Grant. Presently, her research centers on two main applied contexts: (1) examining strategic messaging to influence climate change risk perceptions and behaviors; and (2) understanding public perceptions of sustainable aquaculture development. With respect to the second area, she is currently funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to research public support for land-based salmon farm development in Maine and across the U.S.

Selected Publications:

For a complete list of publications visit Dr. Rickard’s Google Scholar profile.

Elias, S. P., Rand, P. W., Rickard, L. N., Stone, B. B., Maasch, K. A., Lubelczyk, C. B., & Smith Jr, R. P. (2020). Support for deer herd reduction on offshore Islands of Maine, USA. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 101634.

Gundrum, F. A., Sponarski, C. C., Rickard, L. N., & De Urioste-Stone, S. (2020). Cognitions toward black bear hunting in Maine: a quantitative content analysis of the print news media surrounding hunting referendums. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 1-18.

Yang, J. Z., Rickard, L. N., Liu, Z., & Boze, T. (2020). Too Close to Care? A Replication Study to Re-examine the Effect of Cued Distance on Climate Change Engagement. Environmental Communication, 1-11.

Spicer, P., Huguenard, K., Ross, L., & Rickard, L. N. (2019). High‐Frequency Tide‐Surge‐River Interaction in Estuaries: Causes and Implications for Coastal Flooding. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans124(12), 9517-9530.

Duffy, K. P., Cipparone, H. C., Johnson, E. S., Rickard, L. N., Beard, K., & Nascimento, F. (2020). Leveraging spatial dimensions of news media content analysis to explore place-based differences in natural resource issues. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 1-7.

Rickard, L. N., Britwum, K., Noblet, C. L., & Evans, K. S. (2020). Factory-made or farm fresh? Measuring US support for aquaculture as a food technology. Marine Policy, 103858.

Spicer, P., Huguenard, K., Ross, L., & Rickard, L. N. (2019). High‐Frequency Tide‐Surge‐River Interaction in Estuaries: Causes and Implications for Coastal Flooding. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans124(12), 9517-9530.

Duffy, K. P., Rickard, L. N., & Grosswiler, P. (2019). Routine Influences on Aquaculture News Selection: AQ Method Study With New England Journalists. Science Communication41(5), 602-632.

Horne, L., Urioste-Stone, S. D., Daigle, J., Noblet, C., Rickard, L., Kohtala, H., & Morgan, A. (2019). Climate change risk perceptions in nature-based tourism systems: a case study from western Maine. Winter tourism: trends and challenges, 73-81.

Rickard, L. N., Noblet, C. L., Duffy, K., & Christian Brayden, W. (2018). Cultivating benefit and risk: Aquaculture representation and interpretation in New England. Society & Natural Resources31(12), 1358-1378.

Brayden, W. C., Noblet, C. L., Evans, K. S., & Rickard, L. (2018). Consumer preferences for seafood attributes of wild-harvested and farm-raised products. Aquaculture Economics & Management22(3), 362-382.

Schuldt, J. P., Rickard, L. N., & Yang, Z. J. (2018). Does reduced psychological distance increase climate engagement? On the limits of localizing climate change. Journal of Environmental Psychology55, 147-153.

Roche, A. J., & Rickard, L. N. (2017). Cocitation or capacity-Building? Defining success within an interdisciplinary, sustainability science Team. Frontiers in Communication2, 13.

Rickard, L. N., Schuldt, J. P., Eosco, G. M., Scherer, C. W., & Daziano, R. A. (2017). The proof is in the picture: The influence of imagery and experience in perceptions of hurricane messaging. Weather, climate, and society9(3), 471-485.

Rickard, L. N., Yang, Z. J., Schuldt, J. P., Eosco, G. M., Scherer, C. W., & Daziano, R. A. (2017). Sizing up a superstorm: Exploring the role of recalled experience and attribution of responsibility in judgments of future hurricane risk. Risk analysis37(12), 2334-2349.

Rickard, L. N., & Feldpausch-Parker, A. M. (2016). Of sea lice and superfood: A comparison of regional and national news media coverage of aquaculture. Frontiers in Communication: Science and Environmental Communication. doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2016.00014

Roh, S., Rickard, L. N. , McComas, K. A., & Decker, D. (2016). One Health messages: The role of temporal distance. Public Understanding of Science. doi: 10.1177/0963662516670805

Rickard, L. N ., Yang, Z. J., & Schuldt, J. P. (2016). Here and there, then and now: How climate ‘departure dates’ influence climate change engagement. Global Environmental Change, 38 , 97-107.

Velardi, S., Folta, E., Rickard, L ., & Kuehn, D. (2015). The components of effective professional development for science educators: A case study with environmental education program Project Learning Tree. Journal of Applied Environmental Education and Communication, 14(4), 223-231.

Roh, S., McComas, K. A., Rickard, L. N ., & Decker, D. (2015). How motivated reasoning and temporal frames may polarize opinions about wildlife disease risk. Science Communication, 37 (3), 340-370.

Rickard, L. N., & Stedman, R. C. (2015). From ranger talks to radio stations: The role of communication in sense of place. Journal of Leisure Research, 47(1), 20-38.

Yang, Z. Y., Seo, M., Rickard, L. N., & Harrison, T. M. (2014). Information sufficiency and attribution of responsibility: Predicting support for climate change policy and pro-environmental behavior. Journal of Risk Research, 18(6), 727-746.

Rickard, L. N. (2014). Mountains and handrails: Risk, meaning, and responsibility in three national parks. Environmental Communication, 8(3), 286-304.

Rickard, L. N., Yang, Z. J., Seo, M., & Harrison, T. M. (2014). The “I” in climate: The role of individual responsibility in systematic processing of climate change information. Global Environmental Change, 26, 39-52.

Yang, Z. Y., Rickard, L. N., Harrison, T. M., & Seo, M. (2014). Applying the Risk Information Seeking and Processing (RISP) model to examine support for climate change mitigation policy. Science Communication, 36(3), 296-324.

Rickard, L. N. (2014). Perception of risk and the attribution of responsibility for accidents. Risk Analysis, 34(3), 514-528.

Rickard, L. N., & Newman, S. B. (2014). Accidents and accountability: Perceptions of unintentional injury in three national parks. Leisure Sciences, 36(1), 88-106.