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Rachel Ragnhild Carlson

Rachel Ragnhild Carlson

Ph.D. Student in Environment and Resources


Rachel Carlson researches the spatial ecology of coral reefs and variables impacting coral response to anthropogenic stress. Her work aims to support evidence-based marine planning linking conservation and sustainable livelihoods under climate change. She applies geospatial technology like high-resolution remote sensing as well as field-based methods to understand patterns of reef resilience and implications for ocean governance.Prior to joining Stanford, Rachel worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she led mapping and outreach programs to protect drinking water and coastal ecosystems. She has also worked for numerous environmental initiatives in Senegal, Ireland, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Rachel graduated from Rice University in 2011 with a Master's in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Bachelor's in English, and from Trinity College, Dublin in 2013 with a Master's in International Politics. She is a Stanford Graduate Fellow in Science and Engineering and a 2018 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in Ecology.

Academic Appointments

Ph.D. Student in Environment and Resources

Honors & Awards

National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, NSF GRFP (2018)
David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellow, Stanford Graduate Fellowship (SGF) (2018)


Carlson, R. R., Evans, L. J., Foo, S. A., Grady, B. W., Li, J., Seeley, M., … Asner, G. P. (2021). Synergistic benefits of conserving land-sea ecosystems. GLOBAL ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION, 28.

Frawley, T. H., Blondin, H. E., White, T. D., Carlson, R. R., Villalon, B., & Crowder, L. B. (2021). Fishers as foragers: Individual variation among small-scale fishing vessels as revealed by novel tracking technology. FISHERIES RESEARCH, 238.

Carlson, R. R. (2020). IN PURSUIT OF CREATIVE LIBERTY. NATURE, 579(7799), 458.

Carlson, R. R., Foo, S. A., & Asner, G. P. (2019). Land Use Impacts on Coral Reef Health: A Ridge-to-Reef Perspective. FRONTIERS IN MARINE SCIENCE, 6.