UCSC marine sciences professor to lead new Center for Coastal Climate Resilience

Michael W. Beck
Michael W. Beck, director of the new Center for Coastal Climate Resilience. Credit: Elena Zhukova.

Longtime UC Santa Cruz marine sciences professor Michael W. Beck is adding a new role to his resume: director of the campus’ recently announced Center for Coastal Climate Resilience. The center is part of the university’s renewed research focus on climate change, resilience, and coastal sustainability. Beck assumed his director position on Nov. 1. 

“I am honored and excited about the opportunity to lead the Center for the University,” said Beck, who is a research professor in the Institute of Marine Sciences and an adjunct professor in Ocean Sciences and the Coastal Science and Policy Program. “The Center will focus our campus efforts on addressing the challenges we face from climate change and in identifying solutions that can benefit people and nature in coastal communities.”

Beck, who holds the AXA Chair in Coastal Resilience, also recently started as co-director of the new Climate Risks and Equitable Nature-based Solutions Hub, backed by a $20 million National Science Foundation grant to assess climate risks in coastal communities. 

Beck has extensive expertise in assessing coastal risk and identifying solutions to reduce these risks for vulnerable communities. He has overseen the Coastal Resilience Lab on campus for more than 20 years and, for much of that time, served as Lead Marine Scientist for The Nature Conservancy. 

The focus of the Center for Coastal Climate Resilience will be to engage partners across communities, agencies, and businesses to advance innovative solutions that build resilience to climate change on our coasts. It aims to establish UCSC further in addressing these challenges in California and beyond.

“Climate change is putting people and nature at great risk on our coasts in California, the U.S., and worldwide. The center will focus on solutions to address these risks and to help to build resilience to them,” said John MacMillan, interim vice chancellor for the Office of Research, which is heading up the center’s efforts.

University leaders emphasize that partnerships will be essential to the success of identifying and implementing solutions as the center ramps up its work.

“UC Santa Cruz has a huge role to play in building the workforce needed to address the challenges of climate change, and the center will help to grow and engage these dynamic leaders,” said UCSC Chancellor Cynthia Larive. “It will take all of us in public and private partnership to make our coasts safer and more resilient in the face of climate change.”