David O'byrne

Postdoctoral Fellow, Sustainability Science, Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified



River deltas area often densely populated, ecologically diverse and economically productive regions. Many are sinking faster than the sea level is rising, while losing further land to canals and pipelines, sediment starvation and sand theft. This increases the risk of flooding and salt water intrusion, with sometimes tragic consequences for people who inhabit and work in these regions. My research looks at the social response to this problem, in government adaptation plans and civil society action, with a primary focus on the Mississippi River Delta in Louisiana in the U.S, and with reference to other deltas around the world. In the interest of producing use-inspired basic research, a central tenet of Sustainability Science, my aim is to contribute scientific analysis to action towards improved delta sustainability.

We see politics and the economy firmly in the grasp of a nevertheless faltering neoliberalism which tightly limits the action of governments in austere financial regimes. At the same time, and in connection to this, adaptation plans largely focus on large-scale infrastructural projects which protect high value economic assets, often at the expense of social, environmental and long-term economic ends. My research looks for possibilities outside this, to nascent social movements in civil society in order to contribtue to their ability to influence the political system towards acting for more sustainabile river deltas.    

Recent research outputs

David Harnesk, Ellinor Isgren, Chad Boda, David O Byrne, Maryam Nastar & Mine Islar, 2019 Nov 4, Sydsvenska Dagbladet, Debatt.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or newspaperNewspaper article

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