Barbara Pagh

Advisor Department

Art & Art History




Climate Change; Narragansett Bay; Art; Photography

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.


Right now in Narragansett Bay, shellfish are absorbing pollutants such as sewage and toxic waste, eelgrass is dying from disease, pollution and excessive coastal development, and wastewater treatment plants’ runoff flood Narragansett Bay with unnecessary amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. Most people are unaware of how threatened the health and livelihood of Narragansett Bay’s ecosystem is due to the extreme effects that climate change and pollution are having on the environment. Within my project, I strove to call attention to these effects and the impact they are having on the nature of the Narragansett Bay and all that lives within it. Specifically, I focused on eelgrass, also referred to as Zostera Marina, which is the primary seagrass species found within the waters surrounding Rhode Island. Eelgrass is essential to the ecosystem within Narragansett Bay as this plant is a main source of food, as well as, shelter to an enormous amount of marine life, such as several species of shellfish and finfish. Furthermore, eelgrass dampens wave energy, which reduces shore erosion. Without eelgrass, these species have no ideal nursery or habitat, so naturally these species populations such as the bay scallop, have been greatly affected due to the negative impacts climate change is having just on this one simple plant.

Through this project I have created art work that reflects these negative impacts of climate change and strives to call attention to the depleting health of the Narragansett Bay ecosystem. Through my digital art, I want to intrigue and educate viewers about Narragansett Bay and the severe negative effects that climate change is having on its species (are you referring to the eelgrass?), which in turn, effects the fisheries and economy of Rhode Island as a whole. The lack of education and awareness of this topic is something I plan to mitigate through my works of art and after viewing my work I hope the citizens of Rhode Island will take action.