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Matthew Booker

Area(s) of Expertise

  • Marine and estuarine environmental history
  • Urban estuaries
  • Wetlands destruction and restoration
  • Toxicology
  • Historical fisheries esp. aquaculture
  • Social impacts of sea level rise

Research Summary

As an environmental historian, I examine the interactions of human societies and natural systems, particularly in coastal regions. My book Down By The Bay: San Francisco’s History Between The Tides (University of California Press, 2013) describes the intertwined histories of the West’s most important estuary and its first city. I tell the story of filling tidal marshes for urban development, draining interior wetlands for farmlands, the rise and fall of California’s urban oyster industry, and the creation of the nation’s first urban wildlife refuge in the industrial salt mines of San Francisco Bay, concluding with a discussion of the nation’s largest wetlands restoration project.


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