Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Thomas Vogt

First Reader

Dr. Annie Bourbonnais

Second Reader

Dr. Annie Bourbonnais


Transdisciplinarity describes the integration of knowledge and exchange of ideas across diverse academic disciplines, public stakeholders, and decision-makers. In this paper, I discuss the relevance of transdisciplinarity to the environmental field and offer ways in which its principles could be employed to enhance current South Carolina conservation efforts. I advocate for transdisciplinary work through analyzing existing discourse on the value of transdisciplinary research to the environmental field, and I present some of the challenges associated with this mass integration of knowledge. Finally, I describe three models of transdisciplinary research that have been proposed by scholars to address some of these challenges. Next, I investigate current conservation efforts in Lake Wateree and at the Catawba River near the Catawba Indian Nation, synthesizing knowledge gained from my review of transdisciplinarity to suggest improvements for these works. With respect to Lake Wateree, I recommend that ongoing university investigations and collaborations with stakeholders act as a sort of case study for environmental transdisciplinary work. With respect to Catawba, I recommend that academic institutions like USC become more involved in existing conservation efforts between community stakeholders to establish a similar transdisciplinary network to that of Lake Wateree. From my investigation, I conclude that individuals and institutions need to adapt to accommodate a transdisciplinary mode of knowledge production so that the full potential of conservation can be reached, which will be crucial in addressing growing environmental concerns associated with anthropogenic climate change and resource management.

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© 2022, Olivia MN Shugart