Eagle River | Research professional, UAA
“Salmon are built to adapt and overcome. When one food source is limited, they eat something else. If the environment cannot support salmon, it is likely there will be a cascade of collapse throughout the entire system. The fear surrounding the collapse of salmon is the fear of losing much more than a fish. People will lose their jobs, their food source, their water, their way of life.”
Meagan Krupa is an Associate Professor and Research Professional at University of Alaska Anchorage. She is a transdisciplinary scientist who works with decision-makers and local residents, utilizing tools from the fields of economics, political science, environmental writing, aquatic ecology and resilience/ adaptation theory to identify key issues and synthesize scientific data to improve management frameworks.
Krupa holds a B.S. in Social and Environmental Justice in Marine Conservation with a concentration in Environmental Writing from Prescott College in Arizona, a M.S. in Environmental Science & Environmental Writing from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. in Biological Science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her dissertation topic was a transdisciplinary assessment of Anchorage’s Lower Ship Creek fishery designed to help managers delineate the socio-economic causes of biophysical symptoms on urban stream systems.
Throughout her career, Krupa has worked as a lab and field instructor and research professional and as a restoration consultant for the Matanuska-Susitna Salmon Science Program. She worked for the Municipality of Anchorage as an Economic Research Assistant for the Mayor’s Sustainability Program and as the Executive Assistant to the Mayor. One of her projects was to write the Ship Creek Angler Access Plan, which addressed streambank erosion and angler conflicts in the Ship Creek District. In 2006, she traveled to Patagonia as a Fulbright Scholar to conduct a transdisciplinary study of the socio-ecological effects of the farmed salmon industry on coastal communities. Krupa’s resume is rounded out by a long list of published research and reports, presentations, academic awards, grants, fellowships, and community service.
“Meagan has a background in fisheries but is also well-versed in social systems,” explains one of her colleagues. “This allows her to develop brilliant research ideas, most of which bridge the gap between social and biological sciences.” Krupa explains how this plays out in her work with salmon: “The first time I saw Alaskan salmon, an entire creek pulsed with bright red movement upstream. Bears swiped the water. Huge rocks jutted in every direction, creating powerful currents. Long branches swept across the water. I remember thinking that energy calculations or flow measurements wouldn't tell the story of that Alaskan stream. While scientific methods have value, the salmon reminds me to take a more creative approach in my research and pay attention to the greater system.”