The Topics in Biology Seminar Series continued on March 7 with Protecting Critical Dune and Beach Habitat along New Jersey’s Coast, a presentation from Ryan Rebozo, director of conservation for the Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA). More than 80 Brookdale students, faculty and community members attended, and many indicated they grew up near the coast.

“The condition of most New Jersey beaches is manicured, so we are stopping the natural dune development by raking the beaches and allowing vehicles on our beaches,” Rebozo said. His presentation focused on PPA’s work of ecological beach management aimed at preserving the naturally formed dunes on the New Jersey coastline. The naturally formed dunes are much more effective in protecting the infrastructure of the towns located behind the dunes by absorbing storm surges. PPA hopes to accomplish this by protecting the strips of land on the beach in front of the dunes. This will  ensure the land remains untouched to allow for the natural formation of dunes all while not significantly impacting beach recreational activities.

Maryann Smith, associate professor in the biology department, has been organizing the Topics in Biology series since 2005. She organizes two events in the fall semester and two in the spring semester which deal with current and interesting topics in biology. She said many times students are not familiar with issues examined in the lectures but that they are happy to learn more about these important topics and challenges.

The PPA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the Pinelands of New Jersey by using advocacy and education to involve the public and persuade the government to protect the natural and cultural resources of the region. The organization focuses on protecting the water, wetlands, and forests that make the Pine Barrens a globally unique ecosystem and works with teachers and students to bring education about the Pinelands into school curricula.

To learn more about the PPA, visit

Photo Caption:

Ryan Rebozo educates Brookdale biology students about the efforts to conserve natural sand dunes along the NJ coast.