Laura Brewington

Dr. Laura Brewington is a Research Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the Program Manager of the Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program. She recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the Center for Galapagos Studies at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, working in conservation and environmental policy in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. Her work is applied and participatory, using spatial analysis in an interdisciplinary human-environment framework to identify differing stakeholder values and perceptions of land use and change over time and space. Dr. Brewington received her PhD in Geography from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 2011 based on research in rural agriculture and invasive species in the Galapagos. In 2011 and 2012 she also held a quarantine and biosecurity fellowship with WildAid, an international marine conservation NGO, coordinating a comprehensive evaluation of the Galapagos quarantine chain that highlighted the environmental and economic impacts of anticipated future expansion in the archipelago’s cargo shipping industry.

She studied Biostatistics as an undergraduate, and worked in California, Australia, New Zealand, and Iceland before returning to graduate school in 2006. Her work with the Pacific RISA program will involve designing and conducting collaborative, policy-oriented research to support climate adaptation in diverse island settings, including Hawaii and the US-affiliated Pacific Islands.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program was created in 1995 to pioneer innovative mechanisms for enhancing the value of climate information and products for understanding and responding to a variety of challenges associated with climate variability and change at the regional scale. Currently, there are eleven region-specific RISA teams (see box) working in sustained partnerships with local decision-makers.