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Student Spotlight

Ph.D. Student Profile: Deana Aulisio

Degree: Natural Resources and Environmental Studies
Natural Resources and the Environment
Environmental Research Group

Research Topic: The Societal Metabolism of Human-induced flows in Coastal Communities

Advisor: Dr. Kevin H. Gardner

Deana Aulisio

Description of Research

Societal Metabolism is a novel approach of addressing sustainability issues by budgeting the sources, stocks, and sinks of a particular substance within the boundary of a city, region, or nation. Thinking of these systems as a biological organism, inputs generate the chemical and physical processes that generate growth, produce energy, form by-products, and eliminate waste material, etc. By integrating biophysical, social, and socio-economic data, the primary goal is to advance the current methodologies supporting societal metabolism using material flow analysis based on the input-output nodes and pathways of materials, energy, and dollars. My proposed research aims to quantify and evaluate flows of particular elements or compounds that are known to affect regional ecosystems and/or quality of life within coastal communities in the northeast U.S. Assessing historic and potential future scenarios using demographic trajectories of population and land use change and the evolution of the economic paradigms—from agrarian to industrial to service or knowledge-based—are another major focus of this work. Lastly, it is pertinent to provide guidance on how can this type of data analysis be “metabolized” by myriad stakeholders, not just sustainability scientists, to change behaviors and support decisions for the betterment of society.

Previous Awards and Activities

Advisory Board Member for the Green Alliance


B.S., Environmental Engineering – Municipal Processes, University of New Hampshire - 2001
M.S., Civil Engineering, University of New Hampshire - 2003