Carolyn Currin

Location of Interview
Collection Name

NOAA Beaufort Lab Oral Histories


Interviews with retired staff of NOAA Beaufort Lab, documenting their academic background, career path, research focus, and reflections on their work in the lab.  

Date of Interview
Principal Investigator

Dr. Carolyn Currin began her tenure at NOAA's Beaufort Lab in 1983, initially serving as a technician under Dr. Jud Kenworthy. Her career trajectory saw her later collaborating with Dr. Peter Hanson on the Status and Trends Program. In 1986, she pursued a Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, conducting her dissertation research at the UNC-Institute of Marine Science in Morehead City, NC. Her research concentrated on the recovery and restoration of salt marshes. After completing her doctorate, Dr. Currin returned to the Beaufort Lab in 1988 as a research scientist. Her research interests expanded to include nitrogen fixation, the recovery of benthic fauna, stable isotope chemistry, and the cycling of elements in estuarine sea grasses and plants, with a continued focus on salt marsh recovery and the development of living shorelines. Dr. Currin's career at NOAA spanned over three decades, culminating in her retirement in 2020.

Scope and Content Note
The oral history interview with Dr. Carolyn Currin encompasses a comprehensive overview of her extensive career in marine science, with a particular emphasis on her work with salt marshes. Dr. Currin discusses her involvement in a 20-year monitoring record and her efforts in community outreach, including citizen science initiatives with schools and community organizations. She reflects on the challenges of maintaining a part-time work schedule while balancing family responsibilities. Her work on living shorelines, a method to combat coastal erosion using oysters, and the implications of sea level rise on marsh ecosystems are highlighted. Dr. Currin also addresses the significance of benthic microalgae in fishery food webs and her collaborative efforts with modelers to predict the potential loss of salt marsh habitats due to sea level rise. Furthermore, she speaks to the regulatory hurdles encountered in marsh restoration efforts. Throughout the interview, Dr. Currin shares insights into the diverse and challenging nature of her work, underscoring the real-world impact her research has had on fisheries management and coastal development policies.

Please Note: The oral histories in this collection are protected by copyright and have been created for educational, research and personal use as described by the Fair Use Doctrine in the U.S. Copyright law. Please reach out to let us know how these interviews are being used in your research, project, exhibit, etc.  The Voices staff can help provide other useful resources related to your inquiry. 

The NOAA mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. The Voices Oral History Archives offers public access to a wide range of accounts, including historical materials that are products of their particular times, and may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes.

Voices Oral History Archives does not verify the accuracy of materials submitted to us. The opinions expressed in the interviews are those of the interviewee only. The interviews here have been made available to the public only after the interviewer has confirmed that they have obtained consent.